Tokyo Vice

  • by Jake Adelstein
  • Narrated by Jake Adelstein
  • 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: a unique, firsthand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up.At 19, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility. What he got was a life of crime - crime reporting, that is, at the prestigious Yomiuri Shinbun. For 12 years of 80-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.In Tokyo Vice, Adelstein tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter - who made rookie mistakes like getting into a martial-arts battle with a senior editor - to a daring, investigative journalist with a price on his head. With its vivid, visceral descriptions of crime in Japan and an exploration of the world of modern-day yakuza that even few Japanese ever see, Tokyo Vice is a fascination, and an education, from first to last.


What the Critics Say

"Not just a hard-boiled true-crime thriller, but an engrossing, troubling look at crime and human exploitation in Japan." (Kirkus)
"A deeply thought-provoking book: equal parts cultural exposé, true crime, and hard-boiled noir." (Publishers Weekly,)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I bought this because it sounded like a really interesting insight into the dark side of a strange culture.

The main fault is the writer has a knack of making even very entertaining situations sound very flat & boring. A visit to a bar offering a glass toilet you can pay a girl to use is narrated in the style of "I bought a bottle of milk. & a snickers bar. It was a Tuesday." I read a lot of Carl Hiaasen's work - another journalist turned author, and the contrast is huge. Hiaasen is writing fiction, but he takes odd people doing strange things & lays it out in a hugely entertaining way. Adelstein in contrast lays it out in seemingly the least interesting way he can. I kept feeling there was a great entertaining read trapped in there desperately trying & failing to get out.

The second problem is Adelstein narrates his own book. This saved some cash & it helps with the Japanese names, but after so long in Japan he speaks English almost like a fluent Japanese speaker, words are rushed or compacted, often sentences are read in that Japanese way of almost hyphenating the whole sentence, - "Why-would-I-want-that-I-asked". A lot of the book is conversation but without "I said / He said". When reading this is easy, but when listening I find that 99% of voice actors use different voices to make it clear. Adelstein not only doesn't change his voice, his style of hyphenating an entire sentence can often mean you have to concentrate very hard just to figure out who is talking. And it adds to the overall blandness.

Last, again a by-product of not using a professional voice actor or possibly of his years of not speaking English, he pauses at strange moments sentences pause in the middle or they run straight over commas

I do get the feeling if he had told his stories to another reporter turned author (Hiaasen, Michael Lewis), had them write it & then had a voice actor narrate it, it could have been a five star effort. As it is, its a strange listen & a bit boring
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- AJ

Great book, but the narration is a bit flat

Read the book a few year ago and found it gripping. Enjoyed hearing the story again, really interesting to hear about the Japanese under world and all the strange, sometime horrible things that go on. One point of the story in particular is quite touching and sad. Well worth a read / listen if you have any interest in moderne Japanese culture or crime.
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- Ross Pope

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-10-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio