Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Sourcing: Adelstein, Jake

Do you guys remember the Eyjafjallajökull volcano thingy? I do. March / April 2010. In May it was the unofficially official reason I started my first ebay dispute. See, I had heard of this bloke who had this book on yakuza and I happened to buy said book from a friendly bookseller on ebay (Didn’t know about the Book Depository yet [link]. Whoops. Sorry for the commercial break). First the book was delayed. Then it was delayed again. Three months after buying it and two weeks after the ash cloud was dissipated the book was not here (and not even marked as sent in the ebay page although the seller kept telling me they had sent it). I wrote a slightly peeved email, threatening with opening a dispute. The next day the item appeared marked as sent and the book was here in a week. Oh, joy.

The book in question was Tokyo Vice – An American Reporter on the police beat in Japan. I talked about that book back at the beginning here [link], although some day I will re-read it and write a proper review (you can tell that’s my copy in the picture, though. Just look at all the post-its) For now, have the basic data:

Book: Tokyo Vice – An American Reporter on the police beat in Japan
Authors: Jake Adelstein
Publisher: Pantheon books, NY
ISBN: 978-0-307-37879-8
Number of pages: 335

Tokyo Vice follows a few years in the life of Adelstein, told by himself as he worked as a reporter for the Yomiuri Shinbun [link], mostly covering crime (thus being in the police beat. Dead giveaway). During his time there he became involved in quite a few investigations, and… okay, let the publicity guy from Pantheon books tell you:

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.

Basically, the guy pissed off half of the yakuza, and is on relatively good terms with the other half. The book is a bit on the self-depreciating side, but let’s be honest – out of yakuza books? This one is probably the best one focused on the recent years. The best part is that it comes with online updates. Not really, but one of Adelstein’s side projects is the Japan Subculture Research Center [link] gets more than regular updates.

The JSRC was founded in 2007, its goal is, according to the authors, to expose the hidden side of Japan: underground economy, sex trade, and everything that a Japanese would consider ‘scandals’. Lately they are having a big coverage on TEPCO and what is being called the ‘nuclear mafia’. You know, for someone who grew up 40km away from a nuclear powers station with a crack on the tower… hm.

At the moment Adelstein works with the Polaris Project Japan [link], whose mission is “combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery in Japan through advocacy work and by building relationships with victims of sexual and labor exploitation.”. Adelstein had / has contact with the sexual trade ‘volunteers’ in Japan. He was personally involved in the Lucie Blackman case [link] and one of his friends / informants was probably killed by a gang for feeding him information (officially he went missing).

Currently he also writes for the Atlantic Wire [link] and might be the most active person on my TL [link]. He participated on 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake [link] and Reconstructing 3/11: Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown – how Japan’s future depends on its understanding of the 2011 triple disaster [link], both of which are chilling tales of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and its aftermath for Japan.

That’s all for today. I just thought that considering how often I quote the guy here, a short post about him and his work was in order.

Also, thinking of changing the blog header / looks. Any suggestions?


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