Richard's Reviews > Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan

Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein
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's review
Mar 09, 2010

it was amazing
Read in March, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This is a stunning view into the inner workings of Japanese organized crime families (Yakuza) never widely reported on in or outside of Japan. The author literally risked his life and the lives of his family and contacts to gather the details for this book (which was rejected by all publishers in Japan for fear of violent reprisal by Yakuza); as an American it was a feat for Adelstein to become a writer with the national news section of the Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan's most widely respected daily newspaper but working as a police beat reporter he gained considerable knowledge about the sex trade in Tokyo where he learned about the seemingly innocous liver transplant surgery performed on Tadamasa Goto (head of the Goto-Gumi, the most violent of the three Yakuza factions that control sex trafficking, loan sharking and other criminal activity) - after repeated rejections by all Japanese publishers this story (which unfortunately lead to the brutal death of one of his contacts) was initially published by the Washington Post in March 2008; this is the full length treatment of Adelstein's encounter with the Yakuza and the UCLA incident with Goto and three additional gangsters who never should have been allowed in the US because of their criminal records (not to mention the priority transplant treatment offered by UCLA in exchange for a generous cash endowment) - the story makes for fascinating reading and gives insight into traditional Japanese culture refracted through the lens of the Yakuza which virtulaly operate outside the law

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