Jake Adelstein

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Jake Adelstein
Born Joshua Lawrence Adelstein
(1969-03-28) March 28, 1969 (age 47)
Columbia, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation journalist, investigator, writer, researcher, risk analyst, editor, blogger
Nationality American, Japanese
Ethnicity Jewish
Genre non-fiction, journalism, true crime
Notable works Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
Spouse Sunao Adelstein
Children 2

Jake Adelstein (born March 28, 1969) is a Jewish American[1] journalist crime writer and blogger who has spent most of his career in Japan.


Adelstein grew up in Missouri and moved to Japan at age 19 to study Japanese literature at Sophia University.[2] In 1993 Adelstein became the first non-Japanese staff writer at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper, where he worked for 12 years.[3]

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. According to Adelstein, the yakuza told him: "Erase the story or be erased."[4]

After trying and failing to have the book published in Japan, it was published by Random House and Pantheon Books.[5] Adelstein wrote in 2013 that: "The book is translated into Japanese but no publisher will touch it. It steps on too many toes."[6]

Adelstein was subsequently a reporter for a US State Department 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] Adelstein withdrew the lawsuit a month later, after reaching a settlement.[9]

Adelstein's memoir Tokyo Vice will be made into a film, with Daniel Radcliffe to portray the journalist.[10]


  1. ^ Jake Adelstein, "Yakuza, strippers, drugs, an undercover Japanese-Jew FBI special agent? Pulp non-fiction.", Twitter, June 26, 2015.
  2. ^ Hessler, Peter. "All Due Respect" Profile, The New Yorker, January 9, 2012.
  3. ^ Mark Willacy, "Exposing Japan's Insidious Underbelly", ABC News, October 20, 2009; accessed November 20, 2010.
  4. ^ Jake Adelstein, "This Mob Is Big in Japan", The Washington Post, May 11, 2008, Accessed November 20, 2010
  5. ^ Schreiber, Mark Classic tales of newsprint noir October 18, 2009. The Japan Times. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  6. ^ "Tokyo Vice". Japan Subculture. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  7. ^ Eriq Gardner (May 10, 2011). "NatGeo Delays Japanese Mafia Show at Center of Lawsuit (Updated)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/06/Yakuza.pdf), April 19, 2011.
  9. ^ Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/06/Notice%20of%20Dismissal%20with%20Prejudice.pdf), May 4, 2011.
  10. ^ "Star in Japanese Underworld Thriller 'Tokyo Vice'". The Hollywood Reporter. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 


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