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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly Disjointed But Fascinating Inside Look at Japanese Journalism and Crime
Ever since I spent a ten-day vacation in Japan, I've been keeping my eye out for interesting books that might help me better understand the country. I've traveled to a lot of countries in the world, but Japan felt more alien to me than any place I'd been. This book by an American who worked as a crime reporter for a major Japanese newspaper (Yomiuri Shinbun) during the...
Published on 5 May 2010 by A. Ross

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I'd hoped
I first became aware of this book when I heard an extract of it read on Radio 4. It was the opening and it sounded so gripping that I rushed out and bought it straight away. I started to read it and yes, the opening was gripping and tense and had me turning the page desperate to find out what happened next. Then it moved on to the beginning of the author's career as an...
Published on 20 Jan 2011 by Cuban Heel


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Japan, 14 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Paperback)
Japan is not what western people think. It is technologically advanced, but the society is 50 years lag behind in terms of social justice. The author gives readers the real face of often misunderstood country i.e., Japan is not democratic nation, but a feudal nation where everything is done behind the curtain. Laws exists but not enforced, where politicians and organised crimes tie together to get thing done. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 24 Nov 2010
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J. Cooper (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Paperback)
Jake Adelstein, American Jew, working in Japan as a journalist for a major Japanese newspaper; sounds like quite the concoction doesn't it?

This book is a collection of some of Jake's most notorious experiences with the Japanese criminal underworld (which is not as hidden as one may expect) and the bizarre Japanese criminal justice system. The book is divided into a series of chapters which focus on the main cases which had a profound affect on the author's career and personal life.

I was absolutely fascinated by the insight that this book gave into Japanese crime, policing, journalism and post-war culture. That for me was the highlight of the book; I always knew that Japan was a unique country, but I was completely unprepared for some of the discoveries I made whilst reading `Tokyo Vice'.

I'm not sure that I could have done some of the things that the author did to obtain his information and results, but I do appreciate that he was living and working in a totally alien culture where working practices and customs were vastly different to those we are familiar with here in the West.

This book is to be recommended to those who are interested in real life crime and all things Japanese.

Completely compelling reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Read, 23 Nov 2010
This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Paperback)
I brought this book along with a number of others about Japan, and out of them all this book has to be the best read I have found. This book is great for anyone who wants to gain an inside view of the criminal world of Japan without having to leave the comfort of their own homes to find it.

While tha account may be from a western view-point, that doesn't take away from the understanding of which you gain from reading this first-person account. Jack Adelstein includes bags-fulls of humour to his writing, which I found to be a pleasing bonus to an already packed story.

If you want to find a book which looks at the criminal world of Japan from it's underside, then this is the book for you. It may not be from the view-point of Japan or Japanese criminals, but I feel that Adelstein does his best to show the hidden world of Japan's yakuza.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Engaging, 7 July 2010
This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Paperback)
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I really enjoy this book. It's basically the experience of journalist/reporter Jake Aldesteing during his spell in Japan working with the Japanese national paper and his involvement into reporting of human trafficking in Japan. Very engaging, a complete eye opener to Japan vice activities in the 1990s and the changes the country had made secondary to some of the reporting done by him. I would have given it a 5 star but the style of writing left me a bit - anticlimaxed in some way. Don't get me wrong, it's good, the flow is through but somehow it felt like a mix of fact and fiction story. So I am left feeling hanging throughout the book. Otherwise, I think it's very fascinating read albeit I had to reread certain sections as the Japanese names did not stick for very long in my head and I had to reclarify myself several times to who's who.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, compelling and frightening, 2 July 2010
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This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Paperback)
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This book presents in detail a side of Japanese culture that most would not normally associate with a country known for its cleanliness, restraint and humble hospitality.

Tokyo Vice delves into the very real world of Yajuza mob violence, underworld hierarchy, human trafficking and drugs as seen through the eyes of a reporter working for one of Japan's biggest newspapers. All of it is utterly absorbing and at times quite chilling.

Due to how the book is structured, the reader gets an insight into the thoughts and opinions of rookie reporter Jake Adelstein, an American working in Japan. We see him rise through the ranks as he becomes involved with bigger, more dramatic and down right dangerous cases. We get to know the people in his life (both friends and foes), his work habits and also his dilemmas that put his morals to the test in order to get the information he needs for a story. We go on his beat and get explicit details of Japan's sex culture (both legal and otherwise) that most foreigners will rarely catch a glimpse of.

Though there are many examples of cases that we, like Jake, just view from a neutral, every-day point of view, the book gradually shifts towards incidents that strike Jake much closer to home. As certain events make his work more personal we experience his anguish and the heart wrenching aftermath of the decisions he has to make.

As a work of fiction this book would be a very entertaining read; but given that this is all real and happened within the last few years, it is an essential, shocking page-turner.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truely gripping, 10 Feb 2011
By 
Miss Moyo "TiaOguri" (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Paperback)
I came across this book because i was studying crime and devience. i didn't expect much from it however it got me hooked. it's amazing. What nmakes it really good is that it's non-fiction and gives a lot of detail of what happens within the japanese culture that we really can't simply get from any random japanese book.

worth reading
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, eye opening, shocking, 10 Jun 2010
By 
Grev (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Paperback)
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Studying in Japan, fluent in the language and wandering what to do with himself when he graduates, American Jake Adelstein decides to try for a career in journalism, as much to see if he can pass the examination system as much as anything else. To his surprise he succeeds, and thus a foreigner finds himself working as a crime journalist for the largest newspaper in Japan. The result is an entertaining tour of the seedy underbelly of Japanese culture, a crime beat that he covered on and off for 13 years. The book therefore covers his life and experiences over this period and isn't just concerned with one big case, although eventually he uncovers a story that results in the Yakuza forcing him to quit his job and the country, with horrific consequences for one of his sources.

Along the way he leads the reader on an entertaining tour of the Japanese crime beat, sometimes shocking, sometimes funny and always eye opening, not least when concerning the curious relationships between the Police, Press and Yakuza. The Yakuza brazenly have entire office blocks as headquarters, the police track yakuza membership by reading Yakuza fanzines available on the high street, and the police let the Yakuza know in advance if their offices are to be raided so that there are no unruly scenes in front of the press (you can imagine what happens to any incriminating evidence in the meantime).

On the way there's also a chapter on his coverage of the Lucie Blackman case. The most surprising revelation is not why it took the Japanese police so long to track down her killer, but that it's a miracle the police ever bothered to get up off their posteriors and launch an investigation in the first place. If it hadn't been for one small aspect of the case that they couldn't ignore then the whole thing would have been brushed swiftly under the carpet and forgotten about. This astonishing attitude is, it turns out, mainly down to her being a) a foreigner, and b) (and even worse from their point of view) a woman. The maximum sentence for rape in Japan is 2 years, which gives you some indication of how low down on their priorities crimes against women are, let alone crimes against foreign women. As Adelstein points out, this isn't necessarily a fault of the police: the Japanese police have some very good officers, but they can only work within the confines of existing laws.

Eventually, as I've said, Adelstein seriously antagonises a ruthless Yakuza overlord and is forced out of the country. Finished as a journalist for the foreseeable future - in Japan at least - to his credit Adelstein then makes it his mission in life to wake Japanese law enforcement up to the horrors of human trafficking that are taking place under their noses, something that to his credit he's apparently still involved with. However the book ends with a truly horrific revelation, the consequences of which sound as if they'll be haunting the author for the rest of his life. It's certainly a pretty shocking kick in the teeth for the reader.

Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing read, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Paperback)
Absolutely loved this book and was excited to hear a movie is being made of this with I believe the screenplay being written by Jake Adelstein. If your interested in true crime or Japan this is a must
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4.0 out of 5 stars Damn good read, but ....., 26 Feb 2014
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Stefan43 (Brussels, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tokyo Vice (Kindle Edition)
Despite some excessively long parts in the first half of the book, when Adelstein is describing his early days as a reporter in Japan, this book is a gripping read, especially in the second half, when he gets more deeply involved in investigating the sordid and murky world of the yakuza. The key question is, "is it all true?", as the book presents itself as autobiography not fiction. Many people on the web have questioned Adelstein's credentials and reliability, but they may just be his yakuza enemies trying to discredit him. he was of course a crime reporter in Japan, but the question is whether it is the plain truth or embellished or exaggerated for the sake of a good book. I must warn readers that the book does not have a happy ending, but ends with an account of a very brutal murder which made me feel physically sick. The ending really hits you like a punch in the stomach, though you can see it coming far ahead. If this account turned out to be not true, then I would feel very exploited by the book. If the book is all true, then Adelstein must be an extremely damaged person as a result of his experiences, and I feel sorry for him and his family.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Tokyo vice, 8 Dec 2013
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An interesting insight into Japan's organised crime, police and journalistic culture.

The writing style was generally confident and engaging but at times it felt like it was being used to keep their character hidden from the reader, as if the person described was somehow a deflection from their actual personality, actions and motives.
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Tokyo Vice
Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein (Paperback - 8 July 2010)
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