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Tokyo Vice (2009)

by Jake Adelstein

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9143622,900 (3.7)30
From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: a unique, firsthand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up. For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan--extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption. Here, he tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter to a daring investigative journalist with a Yakuza price on his head. With its visceral descriptions of crime in Japan and an exploration of the world of modern-day Yakuza that even few Japanese ever see, this is a fascination, and an education.--From publisher description.… (more)
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English (34)  Spanish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Not particularly polished writing, and the author, a Jewish American reporter who speaks fluent Japanese and works as a crime journalist at a Japanese newspaper, at least does a decent job not hiding how patriarchal he and his profession are. The book is successful as a peek at Japanese culture and daily life, and how their criminal justice system works and doesn't. ( )
  caedocyon | Feb 23, 2024 |
It was easy to read this title; I did so with fascinated and voyeur-like attention. ( )
  mimo | Dec 18, 2023 |
An interesting and detailed expose of the frequently unspoken of humanitarian crisis of sex-trafficking in Japan as well as the impact of the loan-sharking industry / Yakuza through Adelstein's first-hand accounts and interviews.

The beginning of the book focuses on his come-uppance to the newspaper industry while the latter half of the book details several scoops Jake followed in the sex and crime worlds of Japan. The writing is objective, informative yet engaging -- it keeps one wondering the outcome of any given crime or thing being reported on. Sometimes difficult to follow whose who since he uses nicknames to protect individual identities (Yakuza, police, reporters, etc.) but the book doesn't read like your typical biography.

Highly recommended! ( )
  slimeshady | Jul 22, 2023 |
I picked this up because I enjoyed the TV adaptation on HBO (and Ansel Elgort is adorable as Adelstein). The show followed the earlier parts of the book pretty closely, even opening with the same flash-forward the book does.

I’m really impressed with what Adelstein accomplished to get hired at the Yomiuri Shinbun—for an American to speak and write Japanese well enough to get hired as a reporter for a major Japanese newspaper is really something. The culture at the newspaper, particularly with the reporters and their police contacts, was fascinating.

But as the book rolled along, I started really disliking the author. For someone who supposedly regrets the things he did during his yakuza and human trafficking investigations, he sure likes to describe the sleazy bits. Describing the sexual encounters he had with his sources (which, you know, he had to do to get the story), he comes across as a boastful man boy. These episodes happened both before and after he was married with children. That really soured me on the book. ( )
1 vote Harks | Dec 17, 2022 |
A non-fiction that was not yawn-inducing drudgery. The audiobook was good mix of personal bio and true-crime thriller. I was fascinated by the run-ins with the Yakuza and the insight into the Japanese culture that were sprinkled throughout. As a narrator, the author was pretty good but had some issues with pronunciation.

( )
  christyco125 | Jul 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Meeting is merely the beginning of separation. -- Japanese proverb.
Dedication
Dedicated to--

Detective Sekiguchi,
who taught me what it was to be an honorable man. I'm trying.

My father,
who has always been my hero and who taught me to stand up
for what's right.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation,
for protecting me and my friends and my family, and for their constant
efforts to keep the forces of darkness in check.

Those whom I loved and who have left and will not return.
You are missed and remembered.
First words
"Either erase the story, or we'll erase you. And maybe your family. But we'll do them first, so you learn your lesson before you die."
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From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: a unique, firsthand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up. For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan--extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption. Here, he tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter to a daring investigative journalist with a Yakuza price on his head. With its visceral descriptions of crime in Japan and an exploration of the world of modern-day Yakuza that even few Japanese ever see, this is a fascination, and an education.--From publisher description.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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