Jake Adelstein

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Jake Adelstein
Born Joshua Lawrence Adelstein
Missouri, United States
Occupation journalist, investigator, writer, researcher, risk analyst, editor, blogger
Nationality American, Japanese
Genre Non-fiction, journalism, true crime
Notable works Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
Spouse Sunao Adelstein
Children 2

Joshua "Jake" Adelstein is an American freelance journalist and blogger who has spent most of his career in Japan. In 1993, Adelstein became the first non-Japanese staff writer at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper,[1] the largest print news publication in Japan where he worked for twelve years. He was subsequently a reporter for a US State Department investigation into human trafficking in Japan, and now writes for various publications. Adelstein has published a memoir, Tokyo Vice.[2][3]


During his sophomore year at the University of Missouri, he abandoned his career plans to become an actor and instead moved to Japan in 1988 at age 19 to study Japanese literature at Sophia University.[4]


Adelstein began work in 1993 in Saitama Prefecture and by the end of that year he was primarily covering organized crime. In 1999, the newspaper relocated him to Tokyo, to cover the Kabukicho district in particular. He was one of many Tokyo-based journalists to cover events such as the disappearance of Lucie Blackman. He also investigated human trafficking. Adelstein claims that one such investigation may have resulted in the murder of an unidentified prostitute. In 2005, Adelstein says he found evidence that an alleged crime boss named Tadamasa Goto had received a liver transplant in the United States. He was interested in the information as Goto was known to the US authorities and, Adelstein believed, could only have entered the US via illicit means. Goto had made a deal with the FBI to arrange entry to the US in return for intelligence on the Japanese mafia. While working on a story about the case, Adelstein says he received death threats from Goto's men, who purportedly told him: "Erase the story or be erased."[5]

Legal issues[edit]

On April 19, 2011 Adelstein filed a lawsuit against National Geographic Television, which had hired him to help make a documentary about the yakuza.[6] Adelstein withdrew the lawsuit a month later.[7]


Adelstein co-wrote a story for a film version of "Tokyo Vice" with American playwright J.T. Rogers, who then wrote the screenplay.[8][9] The film is expected to begin filming in Tokyo in early 2015, with Daniel Radcliffe to play Adelstein.[10] Anthony Mandler will direct the film.[9]

Published Works[edit]

Other Projects[edit]


  1. ^ Mark Willacy, "Exposing Japan's Insidious Underbelly", ABC News, 20 Oct 2009, Accessed 20 Nov 2010
  2. ^ Adelstein, Jake (October 13, 2009). Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan. Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-307-37879-8. 
  3. ^ Therumpus.net
  4. ^ Hessler, Peter. "All Due Respect" (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/09/120109fa_fact_hessler), "The New Yorker", January 9, 2012.
  5. ^ Jake Adelstein, "This Mob Is Big in Japan", The Washington Post, 11 May 2008, Accessed 20 Nov 2010
  6. ^ Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/06/Yakuza.pdf), April 19, 2011.
  7. ^ Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/06/Notice%20of%20Dismissal%20with%20Prejudice.pdf), May 4, 2011.
  8. ^ AFM: Daniel Radcliffe to Star in Japanese Underworld Thriller 'Tokyo Vice'
  9. ^ a b Advertisement
  10. ^ Telegraph.co.uk


External links[edit]