Inside the world
of Tokyo Vice
Come join us at Redhill Conversations where Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice, will share the riveting, humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter—who made rookie mistakes like getting into a martial-arts battle with a senior editor—to a daring, investigative journalist with a price on his head.
At nineteen, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility. What he got was a life of crime . . . crime reporting, that is, at the prestigious Yomiuri Shinbun. For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan, where extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption are as familiar as ramen noodles and sake. But when his final scoop brought him face to face with Japan’s most infamous yakuza boss—and the threat of death for him and his family—Adelstein decided to step down . . . momentarily. Then, he fought back.
Moderated by Redhill’s Managing Directors Natalie Chua and Pranav Rastogi.
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.