An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
By Jake Adelstein
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780307378798, 352pp.)
Publication Date: October 13, 2009
List Price: $26.00*
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From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: a unique, firsthand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up.
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. But when his final scoop brought him face to face with Japan’s most infamous yakuza boss—and the threat of death for him and his family—Adelstein decided to step down . . . momentarily. Then, he fought back.
In Tokyo Vice, Adelstein 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.
Jake Adelstein was a reporter for the Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan’s largest newspaper, from 1993 to 2005. From 2006 to 2007 he was the chief investigator for a U.S. State Department-sponsored study of human trafficking in Japan. Considered one of the foremost experts on organized crime in Japan, he works as a writer and consultant in Japan and the United States. He is also the public relations director for the Washington, D.C.-based Polaris Project Japan, which combats human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children in the sex trade.
Working for Japan's Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper, reporter Jake Adelstein uncovered a world unknown to many of the Japanese public, let alone to foreigners: the world of organized crime. He details its landscape — and the dangers of covering it — in a new memoir. More at NPR.org
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