As an American journalist in Japan, Jake Adelstein uncovered a Excerpt: ‘ Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan’. is a colleague’s review of a new book on the subject, “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan”, by Jake Adelstein. Tokyo Vice is the story of Jake Adelstein, the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: a unique .

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At nineteen, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility.


What he got was a life of crime… crime reporting, that is, at the prestigious Yomiuri Shinbun. For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan, where extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption are as familiar as ramen noodles and sake.

Then, he fought back. In Tokyo ViceAdelstein tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter—who made rookie mistakes like getting into a martial-arts battle with a senior editor—to a daring, investigative journalist with a price on his head. With its vivid, visceral descriptions of crime in Japan and an exploration of the world of modern-day yakuza that even few Japanese ever see, Tokyo Vice is a fascination, and an education, from first to last.

The Tokyo Vices of Jake Adelstein and his attempts to do the right thing are chronicled in this first-hand account of life in three dimensions of Japan: Dear Jake, Enjoy your book very much; it is so easy to read; I am half way thru. Please let me know if you would rather not be on my list. I remember buddying around Tokyo with a photographer named Karl, who also lived in a Buddhist temple.

Thanks for the great job, Rob Palmer. Tokyo in the 60s must have been a trip. Please put it in the list.

We were the only TV crew allowed into the compound and was treated really great by fice and his Capos, who took us on a tour of the beautifully manicured headquarters of the Yamaguchi-gumi.

We shot the food and clothes giveaway that they orchestrated way before the government supplies arrived. Was quite impressive … all these young gangsters unloading supplies from trucks and lining them up on tables outside the walls of the compound to long lines of residents. I had several pictures taken with Tooyo in his garden which he tended. He was the quintesential host, i must say.

At the end he gave me his business card and told me to show it if I ever was in a difficult spot.

I have ordered your book and can hardly wait to read it. Watanabe passed away last year. I am in San Francisco often. Your book Japon Vice is fantastic for the truth,Thank you for the work and resurch and the risk you take,, I like the Japonese culture,the kind ,,of Philosophie they tray to have,,I am disappointed,now Which kind of life are they preparing for the futur,,,Mafia is every where but young prostitution accepted by the government is not acceptable,,please continue,,to work for these young girls,,Money is not life,, Thank you again,, Very respectable regards sabine ferrand.


Sabine, thank you very much writing in. I think Japan has made progress in fighting human trafficking and that makes me hopeful.

Your book was a real education. I first lived from Japan in I went to school in Tokyo in and interned at a Tokyo law firm. Your book tied together a lot of things that I have seen over the years. I admire your willingness to stand up for what is right, even at great personal cost. I wish you all the best. I spent the rest of Saturday, all of Sunday reading it.

I totally ignored Tim and the kids. Tim finished it Monday. I am so proud of you and all the work you did to make it a reality.

Thank you so much Gina. I hope this explains a little bit of my flakiness over the last two years. Jake, I just finished your book. I have been visiting Japan since the early 90s my in-laws live in Shinjuku and remember a few of the xdelstein you write about. I always make a point of walking through that crazy ass Kobukicho area… Now it makes a little bit more sense. I just finished reading your book. I could not put it down, and I have recommended it to nearly every person I Speak with.

The Cashier at Barnes and Noble told me how incredible this book was while I payed toky the register. It opens up a whole new world to me, and i cannot wait to read more about the Yakuza, and organized crime tlkyo Japan. You have an incredible gift.

Thank adestein for writing in and thank you for telling your friends about the book. Jake, awesome book— just finished it last night. It was an exceptional look at a part of Japanese culture that it seems like every American knows about but in a very childish, Hollywood-influenced way.

Thanks for a great read. I love that place. I spent an entire day there once. I heard your interview on NPR and went out and bought your book the same day! Its nice to jwke insight about what goes on in different countries and bring awareness to the world.

But your book has peaked my interest to learn more about it. Just finished the book.


I was sad at the end. I am coming to yokohama in Jan. I hope to one day meet you. I too love japanese culture and hope that human trafficking will stop in japan one day. I loved your book. I read it cover-to-cover in a few days.

Thank you for that. I have met in public a few Yakuza not chimpira. He was sitting right next to me in the shower area and politely handed me a razor from the cup of razors above his stall area. Everyone else stayed away but I sat down right next to him because I had never seen full body tattoos before in my life. I introduced myself and told him I was from California and admired his artwork.

He was very modest and polite even though I was being a bit of a baka yaro. Another encounter was in an elevator at a 5-star hotel. I was carrying a heavy suitcase and a shopping bag full of wedding SWAG.


This guy, missing pinkie and all helped me with my bag when I exited the elevator at my floor. My view of these guys is consistent with what my Japanese friends tell me how they know them. They are polite to a fault, honorable gentlemen and always impeccably dressed in public. Thanks for the great book. You seem to be quite well versed in this. I hope you write a follow-up book. Might I suggest a book on honne and tatemae. Most of my friends who are not familiar with Japan have this very inaccurate view of the real Japan.

Mitch, Your letter brings up a good point—many of the old-school yakuza bosses, on an individual level, are great guys. I think the old days when they primarily collected protection money and actually did some minor debt collection from deadbeat customers etc and a little illegal gambling—they were probably less of a social evil. However, the guys who rise to the top in the organization would probably do the same in a legitimate business as well.

Once you get past the surface gloss of civility and politeness—many of them are just tribal sociopaths. I still find that many things in Japan are not what I think they are but I find the same about people whom I thought I knew well. My email address is. Your book was incredible. As I read, I could imagine myself sitting in the back of a smoky dive with you telling me each story.

I admire the style in lieu of all the time spent in Japan. I have been here less than a year as an English teacher and I occasionally catch myself speaking to other native speakers in broken, oversimplified English.

Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein

I got my jounalism degree last year as the industry took a pretty drastic nosedive especially in my native Philadelphia. Any suggestions for venting my journalistic passion while here outside of blogging?

If you ever come across something worth writing about, drop me a line. Sometimes, we actually can pay a paltry amount for a good submission. The book is also available on iTunes via Audible. Congratulations on a great read. Was up until dawn reading it ivce seemed appropriate with all the late hours you were describing! A Japan-changing vvice eye-opening book for many foreign-residents and visitors to Japan, I feel. We posted a review of the book in October: I saw the review and thanks for writing in.

If I were teaching in a journalism school and I graduated from one nake, I would find a way to get this book on the syllabus. You exemplify the spirit of journalism, and having been a reporter who had a adellstein now and then, I know the motivation and exhilaration big stories can bring.