May General Meeting

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Loose Park Garden Center

Jake Adelstein with Dalai Lama

The Topic: The Rise and Fading of Japan's Organized Crime

The presenter: Jake Adelstein

Jake Adelstein (born March 28, 1969) is a Jewish-American journalist, crime writer, and blogger who has spent most of his career in Japan. He is the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan. 

Adelstein grew up in Columbia, Missouri and moved to Japan at age 19 to study Japanese literature at Sophia University.  In 1993, Adelstein became the first non-Japanese staff writer at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper, where he worked for 12 years.

After leaving the Yomiuri, Adelstein published an exposé 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. 

Adelstein was subsequently a reporter for a United States Department of State 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 (formerly Polaris Project Japan).

More on Jake Adelstein

Adelstein has been a journalist in Japan since 1993, fluent in written and spoken Japanese.  He currently writes for The Daily Beast, The Japan Times, Forbes and the Japanese economic periodical 財界展望 (ZAITEN). He has also been assisting and
contributing reporting (audio and visual) to National Public Radio (NPR) since June of
2016 under Elise Hu. He has written for the Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN,
Vice News and other publications. He has appeared on The Daily Show, BBC World
News, and is a regular on Japanese news and discussion programs. He is a licensed
Soto Zen Buddhist priest since March 28, 2017, which is useful for
funerals, weddings, and the occasional exorcism.


Yomiuri Shinbun (読売新聞)/National News Reporter
April 1993-November 2005
• The first foreign national to covered crime, social issues, organized crime, politics,
the civil and criminal justice system for the paper in Japanese.
• TIP sponsored investigator/ January 2006—August 2008
The US State Department funded an in-depth study of human trafficking in Japan for
their annual TIP (Trafficking In Persons) report. The study examined political,
financial, and yakuza networks involved in the day-to-day operations of human
trafficking networks.
Writer at large:
Published Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter On The Police Beat In Japan (October
14th, 2009) Random House published the book which has been translated into eight
languages and sold 100,000 copies world-wide.
Writer for The Atlantic Wire
June 2011-January 2013
Covered politics, crime, disasters, human interest stories, trends until the on-line
venture was folded.
Special Correspondent for The Los Angeles Times
June 2015-August 2016
Covered politics, crime, disasters, human interest stories, trends until the foreign
news coverage was downsized
Writer for The Daily Beast

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