Jake Adelstein

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Jake Adelstein
Born Joshua Lawrence Adelstein
(1969-03-28) March 28, 1969 (age 46)
Columbia, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation journalist, investigator, writer, researcher, risk analyst, editor, blogger
Nationality American, Japanese
Ethnicity Jewish[1]
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 an American-born journalist, crime writer and blogger of Jewish descent[2] 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.[3] In 1993 Adelstein became the first non-Japanese staff writer at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper, where he worked for twelve years.[4]

After leaving the Yomiuri, Adelstein published an expose 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."[5]

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 (Former 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.[6][7] Adelstein withdrew the lawsuit a month later, after reaching a settlement.[8]


  1. ^ https://twitter.com/jakeadelstein/status/614343052086259713
  2. ^ https://twitter.com/jakeadelstein/status/614343052086259713
  3. ^ Hessler, Peter. "All Due Respect" Profile, The New Yorker, January 9, 2012.
  4. ^ Mark Willacy, "Exposing Japan's Insidious Underbelly", ABC News, October 20, 2009; accessed November 20, 2010.
  5. ^ Jake Adelstein, "This Mob Is Big in Japan", The Washington Post, May 11, 2008, Accessed November 20, 2010
  6. ^ Eriq Gardner (May 10, 2011). "NatGeo Delays Japanese Mafia Show at Center of Lawsuit (Updated)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/06/Yakuza.pdf), April 19, 2011.
  8. ^ Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/06/Notice%20of%20Dismissal%20with%20Prejudice.pdf), May 4, 2011.


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