Jake Adelstein

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Jake Adelstein
Born Joshua Lawrence Adelstein
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

Jake Adelstein is an American 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.[1] In 1993 Adelstein became the first non-Japanese staff writer at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper, where he worked for twelve years.[2]

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."[3]

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 Polaris Project Japan Center for Human Trafficking Victims.

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.[4] Adelstein withdrew the lawsuit a month later, after reaching a settlement. [5]


  1. ^ Hessler, Peter. "All Due Respect" Profile, The New Yorker, January 9, 2012.
  2. ^ Mark Willacy, "Exposing Japan's Insidious Underbelly", ABC News, October 20, 2009; accessed November 20, 2010.
  3. ^ Jake Adelstein, "This Mob Is Big in Japan", The Washington Post, May 11, 2008, Accessed November 20, 2010
  4. ^ Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/06/Yakuza.pdf), April 19, 2011.
  5. ^ 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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