Jake Adelstein

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Jake Adelstein
Born Joshua Adelstein
United States
Occupation Journalist
Nationality American
Genres Non-fiction, journalism, true crime
Notable work(s) Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
Spouse(s) Sunao Adelstein
Children Beni Adelstein, Ray Adelstein

Joshua "Jake" Adelstein is an American investigative journalist, crime writer, and blogger who has spent most of his career in Japan. In 1993, Adelstein became the first ever non-Japanese staff writer at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper. He was subsequently a reporter for a US State Department investigation into organized crime in Japan and now writes for websites such as the The Atlantic Wire and The Daily Beast.[citation needed] Adelstein also authored a memoir, Tokyo Vice.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

Adelstein is a Jewish American from Missouri.[3] He went to Japan in 1988 at age 19 to study Japanese literature at Sophia University.[2] He lived in a Buddhist temple for most of his college years.[3][4]

Adelstein married Sunao, a Japanese journalist; the couple has two children.[5]


In 1992, Adelstein successfully applied for a job at the Yomiuri Shinbun, through the standard process of entrance exams and interviews.[6][7] Adelstein claims he is the first American citizen to work as a Japanese language reporter for a Japanese newspaper.[4][8]

Adelstein began work in 1993 in Saitama Prefecture and claims that by the end of that year, he was covering organized crime.[9] In 1999, the newspaper relocated him to Tokyo, to cover the Kabukicho district in particular.[4] He covered events such as the disappearance of Lucie Blackman, liaising with her father and ultimately breaking to him the news of her death. He also investigated human trafficking. Adelstein claims that one such investigation resulted in the murder of an unidentified prostitute.[3]

In 2005, Adelstein found online evidence that an alleged crime boss named Tadamasa Goto had received a liver transplant in the United States.[4] He was interested in the information as Goto was known to the US authorities and, Adelstein believed, could only have entered the US covertly or through bribery.[10] Adelstein says that he was then threatened by Goto’s enforcers and consequently quit the Yomiuri Shinbun.[4]

Adelstein briefly returned to the US with his family with a plan on entering law school.[11] He later returned to Japan as an investigator for a State Department–sponsored investigation of human trafficking in Japan.[12] He resumed investigation of the story of Goto's liver transplant with the view to writing a book and eventually discovered that Goto had made a deal with the FBI to arrange entry to the US in return for intelligence on the Japanese mafia.[4] Adelstein first wrote about the story three years later in an article for The Washington Post.[9] He was interviewed in a 2009 CBS documentary about the yakuza[13] and in a program by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in August 2010.[14] In 2009, he published the memoir Tokyo Vice. Following this, he co-wrote a story for a film version with American playwright J.T. Rogers and Rogers wrote a subsequent screenplay.[15][16] The film is expected to begin filming in Tokyo in mid 2014, with Daniel Radcliffe to play Adelstein.[17] Anthony Mandler will direct the film.[18]



External links[edit]