Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in

Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan 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 backIn 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 From the Hardcover edition Wow Double Wow Did I say, wow Jake Adelstein is an amazing superhero and a total douchebag This book made me realize how potently similar the profession of Intelligence Officer and Reporter are The only real difference is that in Reporting you protect your sources and in espionage you burn them.Adelstein protects his sources while putting his family and friends at risk He knows three forms of martial arts, speaks several languages, and happens to have a Japan fetish Whether he really is C Wow Double Wow Did I say, wow Jake Adelstein is an amazing superhero and a total douchebag This book made me realize how potently similar the profession of Intelligence Officer and Reporter are The only real difference is that in Reporting you protect your sources and in espionage you burn them.Adelstein protects his sources while putting his family and friends at risk He knows three forms of martial arts, speaks several languages, and happens to have a Japan fetish Whether he really is CIA or no, he tells a ripping and admirably honest story, which is as much Ethnography as it is Journalism.After two days with this book I come away infinitelyinformed on Japanese culture and history than before Besides a great story, Adelstein informs the reader on what could be a very difficult topic, clearly Kudos Jake Christ, what a douche. Jake Adelstein s recounts his time on the biggest Japanese Newspaper, Yomiuri Shinbun This book promises yakuza, coverups, prostitution andvice However, Adelstein breaks the cardinal rule your subject is interesting, not your experiences of them No one wants to read about a journalist s experience, they just want to read about the story Unfortunately, we get a lot of anecdotes about his early days on the paper, vaguely interesting cases told without any setup or suspense, and updates abo Jake Adelstein s recounts his time on the biggest Japanese Newspaper, Yomiuri Shinbun This book promises yakuza, coverups, prostitution andvice However, Adelstein breaks the cardinal rule your subject is interesting, not your experiences of them No one wants to read about a journalist s experience, they just want to read about the story Unfortunately, we get a lot of anecdotes about his early days on the paper, vaguely interesting cases told without any setup or suspense, and updates about people he once knew The one interesting thing that happened to him namely, that he got on the wrong side of a Yakuza boss and was forced to publish or literally perish was teased at the outset but not covered at all until the last 50 pages of the book.For someone who writes for a living, he seems to be sadly deficient in some of the basics Or maybe, as a journalist, he never learned how to sustain interest over a whole book s length Very mixed feelings about this one I never got over my distrust as Adelstein as a narrator, a judgment mainly rooted in my own time spent in Japan, and the incongruousness of the hardboiled, poorly constructed, and ego centered writing alongside claims of serious and altruistically motivated journalism I don t think those things hard living and altruism are inherently contradictory, but in this book the claims toward both mostly serve the cause of making Jake Adelstein seem like an awesome b Very mixed feelings about this one I never got over my distrust as Adelstein as a narrator, a judgment mainly rooted in my own time spent in Japan, and the incongruousness of the hardboiled, poorly constructed, and ego centered writing alongside claims of serious and altruistically motivated journalism I don t think those things hard living and altruism are inherently contradictory, but in this book the claims toward both mostly serve the cause of making Jake Adelstein seem like an awesome bilingual pulp novel journo stud come to life Which, fine, it s your memoir, buddy I didn t stop reading though, because there is valuable information here The yakuza are overly romanticized, and it s important to reveal them for who they are racketeers and sex traffickers, exploiting the most vulnerable members of society, with a thin veneer of honor and tradition and some admittedly badass tattoos Japan is also overly exoticized, and there are few books written about the country by people who can speak the language fluently and have a real grasp of what s going on It is extremely easy to be a long term expat in Japan without accomplishing either, which seriously stunts English language journalism about Japan, and so Adelstein is a valuable resource.Most of this book actually deals with Adelstein s life at the Yomiuri Shimbun, and the relationship between the press and the police in Japan He discusses two quite famous cases the Dog Lover murders in Saitama prefecture, and the disappearance of Lucie Blackman and the complex dance between reporters and cops to obtain and publicize or not leads in open cases I found these sections to be quite interesting, and my eye rolling was limited to the number of times poor riled up babes just begged Jake for sex and he is forced to oblige for one reason or another Whatta mensch He seems to have a muchpositive view of the Japanese police than, say, Richard Lloyd Parry, author of a full length book on Lucie Blackman This is not too surprising, since the Yomiuri is one of the most conservative and nationalistic newspapers in Japan Something that I wish he went into a little bit , honestly, because nationalism is something that both cops and yakuza can get behind, and it often serves to bring them together The last 50 or so pages deal with the liver transplants received by yakuza boss Tadamasa Goto and others at UCLA under shady circumstances, Adelstein s big scoop of 2008 This is an important story, and it is not well told here For an experienced journalist, he seems extremely indignant that newspapers around the world aren t jumping to publish this story without verifiable proof Adelstein seems to think his role as white guy who knows yakuza and cops should give him free reign to publish whatever he deems as good information, with the talismanic recitation of I can t reveal my sources or else we ll all be dead as back up Eventually, other journalists in the States due some heavy lifting, and the story is published It s my intuition that the threat to his person and his family by Goto and his ilk is grossly overstated, simply because the murder of an American, let alone an American s family, would bringunwanted international law enforcement attention to the yakuza than would be worth their effort But this is Adelstein s big claim to fame, and he s sticking to it Jake Adelstein is a talented and hard working journalist who has written some enlightening and important articles about crime, Yakuza, enjou kosai and the darker side of Japan s sex industry I recently was made aware of his memoir, Tokyo Vice, and out of respect for his work, thought I d give it a go.Unfortunately, Tokyo Vice is not an important or enlightening book Though it does contain some interesting bits and pieces about the Japanese metropolitan underworld, the majority of the book is t Jake Adelstein is a talented and hard working journalist who has written some enlightening and important articles about crime, Yakuza, enjou kosai and the darker side of Japan s sex industry I recently was made aware of his memoir, Tokyo Vice, and out of respect for his work, thought I d give it a go.Unfortunately, Tokyo Vice is not an important or enlightening book Though it does contain some interesting bits and pieces about the Japanese metropolitan underworld, the majority of the book is the arrogant and narcissistic ramblings of a doofus obsessed with his own phallus.READ All about what sexual position Jake enjoyed with which hostess GROAN When he begins a chapter with dismounting his girlfriend ROLL YOUR EYES As a Yakuza moll tells Jake that he and crime boss Tadamasa Goto may not be so different after all DISBELIEVE Because Adelstein s braggart tendencies make him come across as an unreliable narrator.My favorite part was how one chapter ended with Jake lamenting how society purposefully ignores the humanity of female sex workers, seeing them as objects to be used and not caring when they are abused Then the next chapter begins with him deciding to bribe a cop with a lap dance Great job, buddy.Jake Adelstein is a talented journalist He is also a total penis wrapped in a leather glove He reviewed his own book on Goodreads and gave it four stars He is a complete fartknocker It s hard to define this book under one category Does it have a substantiated plot or is it non fiction Autobiography or biographic Documentary or fictional It probably has a little bit of everything This is a human document that allows us to get a glimpse of the Japanese society I personally find the Japanese culture to be very intriguing, so when I heard there was a book describing the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, I knew I had to read it The book begins rather slowly and mostly focuses o It s hard to define this book under one category Does it have a substantiated plot or is it non fiction Autobiography or biographic Documentary or fictional It probably has a little bit of everything This is a human document that allows us to get a glimpse of the Japanese society I personally find the Japanese culture to be very intriguing, so when I heard there was a book describing the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, I knew I had to read it The book begins rather slowly and mostly focuses on Adelstein s adjustment to the unwritten rules of working as a criminal reporter for the most popular newspaper in Japan Along with his own personal story, Adelstein reveals a few surprising facts about the Japanese society e.g., Japan s bestsellers lists point out that suicide is not only common in Japan but also considered popular and acceptable The attitude towards sexuality in Japan may also surprise you Trying to sell out this book as a thrust into the heart of Japanese Yakuza is wrong The part about the Yakuza does have substance but only toward the end of the book I think this book infiltrates the heart of entire Japan, and even if the writing isn t brilliant, those who have an interest in the Japanese culture would find this book as worth the read After reading Tokyo Vice I had to take some time to digest it, to let the incongruities of laws and bureaucracy in Japan try to somehow make sense, to remind myself again and again that the world is an ugly, ugly place behind the neon lights and the advertisements and the glare of a TV screen The impact that Tokyo Vice left upon me was as wide as an eclipse and as deep as a crater.If you are looking for characters to admire you ll only find a few between these covers, Jake being one of them Do After reading Tokyo Vice I had to take some time to digest it, to let the incongruities of laws and bureaucracy in Japan try to somehow make sense, to remind myself again and again that the world is an ugly, ugly place behind the neon lights and the advertisements and the glare of a TV screen The impact that Tokyo Vice left upon me was as wide as an eclipse and as deep as a crater.If you are looking for characters to admire you ll only find a few between these covers, Jake being one of them Don t mistake this for an attempt to boast his ego though, Jake is painfully honest with the readers and with himself regarding his own faults He doesn t make excuses for his actions, but presents them in a matter of fact way just as he would the facts of the crimes he reported If he seems to lack emotion, it s because he has to If you had seen a sliver of the things he has seen you might never want to open your eyes again.Still, there was no lack of emotion within me as I read the book I found myself smiling, frowning, shaking my head in anger, pumping my fist in victory and near tearsthan once This spectrum of emotion was confusing for me Should I be angry Is there anything I can do Why Again and again I wondered Why Either erase the story , or we ll erase you And maybe your family But we ll do them first, so you learn your lesson before you die Jake Adelstein went to Japan at the tender age of nineteen One beautiful thing about being nineteen is it still feels like anything is possible I remember those heady days well, when failure was a foreign word and those bumps in the road were not anything to get stressed about On the inside cover of the book, it said that Adelstein had gone to Japan in search Either erase the story , or we ll erase you And maybe your family But we ll do them first, so you learn your lesson before you die Jake Adelstein went to Japan at the tender age of nineteen One beautiful thing about being nineteen is it still feels like anything is possible I remember those heady days well, when failure was a foreign word and those bumps in the road were not anything to get stressed about On the inside cover of the book, it said that Adelstein had gone to Japan in search of peace and tranquility He could have stayed home and joined the Hermitage in Big Sur if that was what he really wanted No, what Jake wanted was excitement and he got it in spadesIt s hard to think when you can t breathe It s even harder to think when you can t breathe because a yakuza bruiser has you pinned against the wall, with one hand around your neck and the other hand punching your ribs, and your feet are dangling off the floor One of those moments when you d like to use compelling words to convince the thug to quit hitting you, but with all your major organs sloshing around your body as he uses you for a punching bag, it is hard to compose anythingeloquent thanagrunt.So how did the young lad find himself in such precarious circumstances He went to work as an investigative reporter in Tokyo In fact, he was the only American journalist ever admitted to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club I do believe his Japanese publisher relished his audaciousness in even thinking that achieving such a position was possible So for eighty soul crushing, social life annihilating hours a week he investigated the Japanese underbelly and foundthan just fleas and ticksAs far as entertainment districts went, in 1999 nothing beat Kabukicho for pure sleaze Drugs, prostitution, sexual slavery, rip off bars, dating clubs, massage parlors, S and M parlors, pornography shops and porn producers, high dollar hostess clubs, low dollar blow job salons,than a hundred different yakuza factions, the Chinese mafia, gay prostitute bars, sex clubs, female junior high school students soiled uniforms panties resale shops, and a population of workersethnically diverse than anywhere else in Japan It was like a foreign country in the middle of Tokyo Did someone mention the Yakuza The tattooed gangsters, if they live long enough, generally end up needing new livers from the Hepatitis C they get from unsanitary needles These guys donate fingers when they fuck something up The guy that was punching Jake Adelstein because he was somewhere he wasn t supposed to be was yakuza In these sex slave clubs, the yakuza generally use foreign women to keep the police and the Japanese government from being overly interested in their activities Foreign males are not allowed in these clubs because the foreign men tend to feel sorry for the girls and try to help them once they realize their circumstances Adelstein, with the help of dark sunglasses and low lighting could pass for Japanese He was able to get into one of those clubs, but when the girl he was interviewing broke down in tears, the gig was up Punch, punch, punch, never come back here again It doesn t take long for Adelstein s name to be known by the very people who, when they use the term taking an interest, really mean that their interest will be short lived because you won t be around to worry about much longer He has a good friend, a smart woman, a teacher who is living in Tokyo A person he can give books to who will actually read them and discuss them with him He discovers how she pays for all the extra travel she does and the expensive clothes I get paid a hundred dollars a minute You know why Because most Japanese guys last two minutes I laughed at that You re right In terms of pay by the minute, my job can t touch yours But doesn t it depress you a little Well, that s when cocaine comes in handy A little blow, and I m ready to blow I didn t laugh at that.I didn t either because we do get to know this woman and to think of her resorting to prostitution for an upgraded lifestyle, not because she has to, but because she wants to be able to doand own , is somehow shameful when I think of all the foreign women who are caught in sex slavery without much hope of ever escaping the crippling debt they are forced to pay off with humiliating acts of degradation Not only does Adelstein take on the yakuzacrazy enoughbut he also takes on the Japanese government He discovers very quickly that when you are taking on people with this much power that his ability to protect his sources means that he can t tell anyone, not his bosses, and not even those he loves about what he is investigating and who is helping him The secrecy, the anxiety, the real fear of being hurt, and exposing himself every day to the worst that society has to offer is obviously unsustainable Then he gets the visit from a tattooed freak in a business suit who tells him toerase the story, or we ll erase youIt s easy to cut and run, even honorable After all, it is hard to justify putting the people you love in danger because you won t let loose of a story, but then as I ve established Adelstein didn t come to Japan for peace and tranquility You don t win by bowing down to pressure You win by pushing back This book was a compelling atmospheric read with novelesque elements as he not only describes the scene, but also the scene around the scene I had thoughts that he saw himself in terms of a noir movie as he brushed shoulders with evil men and tried to save not one damsel in distress, but literally hundreds who all needed a champion Highly Recommended To see all my recent movie and book reviews please visit can like my Facebook blogger page at Jake Adelstein is some kind of guy This story is as much about him as it is about the sex industry in Tokyo I mean, really, what kind of guy would have the hutzpah to study Japanese and then apply to be a newspaper journalist at the most prestigious newspaper in Japan He downplays but admits to crushing difficulties, at least difficulties that would crush most of us But perhaps you ve met his kind bold, bright, talkative, confident, curious, unimpressed I have I just never thought we d ge Jake Adelstein is some kind of guy This story is as much about him as it is about the sex industry in Tokyo I mean, really, what kind of guy would have the hutzpah to study Japanese and then apply to be a newspaper journalist at the most prestigious newspaper in Japan He downplays but admits to crushing difficulties, at least difficulties that would crush most of us But perhaps you ve met his kind bold, bright, talkative, confident, curious, unimpressed I have I just never thought we d get to see inside the head of one as much as we do in this revealing memoir about his work for the newspaper, working closely with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to uncover crimes in vice Not only do we learn how newspapers work in Japan, we learn a bit about how the police works, how the sex industry works, and finally, how the gangsters, or yakuza work This is an Iron and Silk for grownups Total immersion into an Asian culture and well written enough to serve as an introduction to outsiders


About the Author: Jake Adelstein

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan book, this is one of the most wanted Jake Adelstein author readers around the world.


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