Inside the world
of Tokyo Vice
One highlight of Jake Adelstein’s career as an investigative journalist was pissing off a Yakuza boss, which led him to write Tokyo Vice – now a TV series on HBO Max. From the most notorious crimes in Japan to Shinzo Abe to the Japanese monarchy, we’ll discuss the dark side of the rising sun.
Moderated by Marc Nicholson (Founder, 1880).
Jake Adelstein is an investigative journalist in Japan, a due diligence investigator, an author, and a low-ranking Zen Buddhist priest. He was born on March 28, 1969, in Missouri, USA, and moved to Japan about 20 years later. He became the first foreigner to join the editorial staff of Japan's largest daily newspaper, the Yomiuri Shinbun, in 1993.
For nearly 30 years, he has covered organized crime in Japan. He pissed off a yakuza boss, Goto Tadamasa, during his investigations, which led him to write Tokyo Vice, and he was placed under the protection of the Japanese police for several years, but chose never to leave Tokyo, where he has lived for more than thirty years.
After leaving the Yomiuri Shinbun in 2005, he continued his work as an investigative journalist for various media: the Los Angeles Times, Asia Times, Vice News, Forbes, and, most notably, the Daily Beast. Meanwhile, he wrote The Last of the Yakuza and I Sold My Soul in Bitcoins and became a Buddhist priest on March 28, 2017, his forty-eighth birthday. He should be ready to perform weddings and funerals before long. And lately, he has been spending a lot of time with the production team working on the adaptation of Tokyo Vice into a series for HBO, the first episode of which is directed by Michael Mann. The second season is in production, and the show runner, JT Rogers, is his high-school friend. His fourth book, Tokyo Private Eye, will be published in English and French next year.