• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

A look at Japan's underworld from a reporter who covered it for over a decade.
inside japan's underworld

Hello to all the viewers of 60 Minutes or the readers of the Washington Post who have stopped by after seeing the program and/or reading the article. We’d like to thank Lara Logan and the rest of the CBS News crew for visiting Tokyo, and hope everyone enjoyed the segment!

Browse around the site to learn more about the case of Tadamasa Goto and the rest of the Japanese underworld, and don’t forget to check out information about Jake Adelstein’s new book Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan.

For those who have yet to see the 60 Minutes feature on yakuza, it’s available for online viewing here.

13 thoughts on “Welcome!”
  1. Hi Jake san, you take care.you will need many prayers and good luck, to stay healthy in Japan. Your a brave man to do what you say and write on 60 minutes.The yakuza will not like it at all. take care.

  2. The other day I caught the very tail end of an NPR interview with what must have been you. Then I just saw the 60 mins interview online. Pretty amazing stuff, I’ll buy the book.

    …but could you do me a big favor and get the heck out of there!!! I don’t know if I’m just missing the full story or you’ve just lost perspective on the whole thing, but it seems to me that you’re in mortal danger man. Seriously… Just get a plane ticket. Do it!

    If it’s a matter of making sure your family is safe as well, can’t the US govt. hook you up with some help?

    1. David-san,
      Thanks for writing in. A lot has happened since that 60 Minutes interview was taped. I go back and forth between Japan and the United States. I think my family is off limits. I can’t say the same for myself but that’s an occupational hazard of being a pesky investigative journalist.
      I haven’t lost perspective. The problem is I owe people in Japan. I owe the people who helped me write the story and who stuck out there neck for me and frankly, I get tired of running. I’m cautious and that will have to be enough.
      I’m calculating that the saner people in organized crime don’t want to make a martyr out of a journalist–because that might mean a lot more heat on Japan to ban the existence of the organized crime groups completely. So let’s hope that gives people an incentive to leave me alone.
      I feel like Japan is as much my home as is the United States. I truly believe that if we run from the jerks of the world than sooner or later the jerks are going to be running the world.

  3. Well, just keep thinking about it. I’m looking at this situation and I think you may be overthinking it… I know nothing about these guys, but the impression that I get is that it’s less about logic and more about honor. These don’t seem to be the type of folks who just let something slip by. But maybe I’ve just been watching too many hollywood movies.

    W.r.t. debts owed – Sure, I understand this, but if you’re six feet under you’re not going to be repaying those debts very well either.

    Maybe it’s not my place to tell you how to live your life. But you should understand that the conclusion to this story seems pretty obvious to outside observers. You’ve done your job and exposed the events that took place, I don’t think anyone would say you’re letting the jerks off the hook.

    In any event, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for bringing this story to light.

  4. Jake, just finished the book. Thank you. For not taking the cash.

    I work in one of the industries you mention where the yakuza have a historical foothold. I have always accepted the “necessary evil” argument, and at times even found that the whiff of danger present spices up what is otherwise a pretty mundane career choice.
    I am not sure I will be able to do that any longer. Thank you for having the balls to go through with your book. When you are able, I’d love to buy you a drink.

    1. Chris,
      Thank you for thanking me. I have to confess I thought hard about taking the cash. I’d say at least one clove cigarette. Doing the right thing isn’t always an easy choice, especially for me.
      I’ll take you up on that drink offer sometime. I might just have a cup of coffee. Stopped smoking in February and my alcohol consumption is way down as well. Still have a craving for cigarettes now and then.
      I’m guessing you work in real estate but that’s just a guess. Yeah, the “necessary evil” argument gets a little old after a while. However, not all of the yakuza are “evil”. That’s what makes it hard. There’s some grey in there.
      I appreciate you writing in. Good luck with your work.

  5. That’s the part that is difficult to reconcile – they aren’t all evil, in fact, some that I have met are downright decent.

    Coffee is fine too. I will refrain from smoking in front of you…for as long as I can, anyway.

  6. Bought the book online and now in the middle of the book. Looks like you had an affection to a clove cigarette from my country.

    My prayers are with you.

  7. Jake,

    I worked at the Daily Yomiuri in the mid-1990s, but unfortunately never had the pleasure of meeting you. Anyway, it’s nice to see a success story emerge from that place! Best of luck with the book.

  8. “Survivor” indeed! I’m pleased to say I went on to better things. Still in Japan, though.

    Ordered your book today. Looking forward to reading it.

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