Jake Adelstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jake Adelstein
BornJoshua Lawrence Adelstein
(1969-03-28) March 28, 1969 (age 54)
Columbia, Missouri, U.S.
OccupationInvestigative journalist, writer, editor, blogger
GenreTrue crime, non-fiction, journalism
Notable worksTokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan

Joshua Lawrence “Jake” Adelstein (born March 28, 1969) is an American[1] journalist, crime writer, and blogger who has spent most of his career in Japan. He is the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, which inspired HBO Max's 2022 television series of the same name, starring Ansel Elgort as Adelstein.


Adelstein grew up in Columbia, Missouri and graduated from Rock Bridge High School.[2] As a teenager he volunteered at KOPN and co-hosted a punk music program on the air. He moved to Japan at age 19 to study Japanese literature at Sophia University.[3] In 1993, Adelstein became the first non-Japanese staff writer at the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, where he worked for 12 years.[4]

After leaving the Yomiuri, Adelstein published an exposé of how an alleged crime boss, Tadamasa Goto, made a deal with the FBI to gain entry to the United States for a liver transplant at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2009, Adelstein published a memoir about his career as a reporter in Japan, Tokyo Vice, in which he accused Goto of threatening to kill him over the story.[5] There have been many doubts about the veracity of the tales described in the memoir.[6]

Adelstein was subsequently a reporter for a United States Department of State investigation into human trafficking in Japan, and now writes for the Daily Beast, Vice News, The Japan Times and other publications. He is a board member and advisor to the Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims (formerly Polaris Project Japan).

On April 19, 2011, Adelstein filed a lawsuit against National Geographic Television, which had hired him to help make a documentary about the yakuza, citing ethical problems with their behavior in Japan.[7][8] However, the court dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the plaintiff is barred from bringing that claim in another court.[9]


  • Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan. New York City: Pantheon Books. 2009. ISBN 978-0-307-37879-8. OCLC 699874898.
  • The Last Yakuza: A Life in the Japanese Underworld. New York City: Pantheon Books. 2016.
  • Pay the Devil in Bitcoin: The Creation of a Cryptocurrency and How Half a Billion Dollars of It Vanished from Japan. New York City: Pantheon Books. 2017.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]