'Tokyo Vice leaps recklessly into this seamy underworld, recounting with verve Adelstein’s increasingly perilous investigations. The result is hard-boiled memoir: thrilling, pacy and wise-cracking, but never far from the clammy grip of fear.'
'Adelstein's reporting style had me riveted.'
'an audacious and fascinating account of crime and the symbiotic relationship between the police, gangland and politicians.'
'It's an utterly fascinating look at a world many westerners know nothing about and sure to be one of the most interesting books of the year.'
Illawarra Mercury (TOP PICK)
'Not just a hard-boiled true-crime thriller, but an engrossing, troubling look at crime and human exploitation in Japan.'
'Stinking of hard liquor and chain-smoked cigarettes, this is an eye-popping journey into Tokyo's secret underbelly.'
'What's a nice Jewish boy doing in a place like this? It's a question that haunts this fascinating memoir about a world largely off-limits to Western audiences ... You'll never see Japan in the same way again.'
'an excellent instalment in the Western infatuation with how weird and strident Japanese low life and low culture can be.'
An 'entertaining memoir that takes the reader on a tour of Tokyo's seedy underworld. With humour and hard-boiled prose, Adelstein tracks his rise from a student in Tokyo to a police reporter on Japan's premier paper. Over 12 years, he covered some extraordinary stories, but one in particular resulted in a price on his head — and those of his wife and children. He didn't write the story, he wrote a very fascinating book instead.'
'an audacious account of crime and the symbiotic relationship between the police, gangland and politicians'
'Jake Edelstein's account of his time as a crime reporter for a major Tokyo newspaper reads like a novel … Fascinating glimpse of a strange world by a talented storyteller.'
Bill Perrett, The Age, non-fiction 'Pick of the Week'
'Adelstein packs a lot into this memoir. Whether he's tracking down a rapist who drugged and videotaped dozens of women or dressing up to work at a 'host' bar for lonely women, it's always compelling. He has a journalist's eye for a story and vivid details abound, illuminating a world most Westerners barely know. As with all good hard-boiled tales, a downward spiral slowly becomes apparent. And as things go sour, Adelstein's last big story comes just in time.'
Anthony Morris, The Big Issue
'Tokyo Vice is about Japanese subculture. Adelstein instructs us in the vagaries of Japanese journalism and provides a gamy, colorful tour of the morally flexible areas of Japan, particularly in Tokyo. He also shows how Japanese police work and interact with journalists. Adelstein shares juicy, salty, and occasionally funny anecdotes, but many are frightening.'
Carlo Wolff, The Boston Globe
'Tokyo Vice is the American's gritty, true-to-life account of 12 years on the news beat as a staffer for a Japanese daily — and it is exceptional. Its classic atmospherics rekindle memories of Walter Winchell and Eliot Ness. It's a tale of adrenalin-depleting 80-hour weeks, full ashtrays, uncooperative sources, green tea, hard liquor, and forays into the commercialized depravity of Shinjuku's "adult entertainment zone," Kabukicho. Adelstein, the "morbidly curious" observer, presents his stories with a newsman's objectivity, using self-deprecatory humor, pathos and occasional horror. He does not refrain from harsh criticism, but his writing never condescends ... It is a classic piece of 20th-century crime reporting.'
Mark Shrieber, The Japan Times
'The extortion, racketeering, prostitution and gambling rings associated with Japan’s yakuza criminal organizations have been written up in books and glorified in films too numerous to count. Yet a substantial first-hand peek inside this insidious underworld by a foreign journalist — not straitjacketed by Japan’s rigid press system — has not existed. Enter reporter Jake Adelstein, a 40-year-old Jewish-American and the author of the memoir Tokyo Vice, an account of his 12-year stint of working the crime beat for the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest newspaper... Written in a fast-paced, acerbic and sometimes humorous style, Tokyo Vice recounts his investigations into serial rape, child pornography, murder and his greatest scoop: providing details on how four gangsters were able to travel to the U.S. to receive liver transplants. “Erase the story or be erased,” was the subsequent threat from the particulars involved. “Your family too.” Substantial repercussions linger to this day.'
The Tokyo Reporter
Adelstein's 'juicy and vividly detailed account of investigations into the shadowy side of Japan shows him to be more enterprising, determined and crazy than most ... Adelstein builds his stories with as much surprise and grit as any Al Pacino or Mark Wahlberg movie, blurring the lines between the cops, the crooks and even the journalists ... As the kid from Missouri begins to disappear deeper and deeper into the demimonde — sleeping in police HQ, drawing dangerously close to a hostess who works at the Den of Delicious and taking on the gangs responsible for human-trafficking in Japan — he comes to lose all sense of where his life ends and the 8th Circle of Hell strip club begins ... [But] even as he is getting slapped around by thugs and placed under police protection, Adelstein never loses his gift for crisp storytelling and an unexpectedly earnest eagerness to try to rescue the damned.'
Pico Iyer, Time magazine
'Tokyo Vice is a fascinating, highly readable, and unflinching story of an American reporter working for the Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri Shinbun ... The story is fascinating, revealing not only the inner-workings of Japanese journalism, but also the sex industry, organized crime, and the police.'
'Mr. Adelstein's book expertly melds classic writing about the police beat — replete with its public corpses, clean or rotten cops, smoky rooms and gangsters who eventually seek redemption — with a candid journalistic memoir that details this profession's moral and mental dilemmas. At the center is a complex protagonist — both jaded and emotionally deep — whose drive and positive impact win respect as he offers, perhaps, something as rare and fascinating as a black pearl, namely the most compelling insider's expose yet of Japan's opaque society.'
'Though it is a fascinating account of a young American who becomes a local crime reporter on Japan's biggest daily newspaper, Tokyo Vice's greatest virtue is the insider account it gives of the dark nooks of Japanese culture — and the work-rooms of one of its social institutions.'
Ian Steward, Weekend Press
'There is some humour here but it's humour of the absurd, set among gobsmacking tales of life as a reporter on a police beat in Japan ... From police rounds — where wining and dining police, businessmen and politicians in their homes is the acknowledged way of getting information — to vice and then, unwittingly, into the dark world of organised crime, Adelstein's account is often bemusing but no less engaging and impressive.
'Tokyo Vice takes its reader on a gripping journey into a world few people will ever witness.'
'Jake Adelstein writes in the classic hard-boiled Dashiell Hammett manner — complete with stubbed out cigarettes and a shot of whiskey shared with his cop informant — but this is not San Francisco or New York, it’s Tokyo, and it’s not fiction. Those who live and work in Japan will recognize reality on every page. It’s at times a harsh and ugly reality, but depicted humorously with whimsical details of Japan’s twilight world that we only dreamt of. A guaranteed page-turner.'
Alex Kerr, author of Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan
'In this dark, often humorous journey through the underworld of Tokyo, Jake Adelstein captures exactly what it means to be a gaijin and a reporter. Whether he is hunting for tips in Kabukicho or pressing yakuza for information, it is an adventure only he could write. For anyone interested in Japan or journalism, this is a must read.'
Robert Whiting, author of Tokyo Underworld
'Terrific. With gallows humor and a hardboiled voice, Jake Adelstein’s memoir takes readers on a shadow journey through the Japanese underworld and examines the twisted relationships of journalists, cops, and gangsters. An unusual reading experience, expertly told and highly entertaining.'
'Sacred, ferocious and businesslike. This is the Japanese mafia that Adelstein describes like nobody else.'
Roberto Saviano, author of Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System
'A gripping and absorbing read. Very few foreigners ever come close to discovering what's really going on in Japan’s closed society. Adelstein chases two major stories that pull him into a vortex of destruction, threatening his friendships, his marriage and even his life. As he battles with profound issues concerning truth and trust, Tokyo Vice approaches a heart-pounding denouement. This is a terrifying, deeply moral story which you cannot put down, and Adelstein, if occasionally reckless, is an extremely courageous man.'
Misha Glenny, author of McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld
'A tale of a gaijin who stumbled onto a story so important and so dangerous that it put his life at risk. A yakuza offered him half a million dollars not to tell it. He wrote this book instead.'
Peter Hessler, author of River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze
'Anyone interested in tattooed yakuza, ‘soapland’ brothels, and the various other aspects of Japan's lurid underbelly is guaranteed to be electrified by Tokyo Vice. Why is a manual on the perfect way to commit suicide a Japanese bestseller? Who goes to sexual harassment clinics? What's it like to spend a night in a male hostess bar? Tokyo Vice reveals all this and more. It's a story of lust and profit; a chronicle of fear and determination; most of all, a modern bildungsroman that simultaneously illuminates the soul of its narrator and that of modern Japan through the underside of Tokyo, the world's most fascinating city. I loved this book for many reasons — its humor, its pathos, its insight, its honesty —a nd maybe most of all, for reminding me of how lucky I am to live here.'
Barry Eisler, author of Fault Line
'Jake Adelstein's razor straight reporting from the mean streets of Tokyo is a coming of age story that reveals more than it pretends to — because he has the guts to find the truth, and the gall to tell it.'
Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.
'Vivid, insightful, and totally revealing of the decadent, seedy and sexual parts of Japanese society, Tokyo Vice is ripping fun.'
Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of Speed Tribes: Days and Nights with Japan's Next Generation