Meet Jake Adelstein when we love Japan is a real challenge. We would like him to questions about his arrival in the Country of the rising sun at the end of the 1980s ; make him tell to the 1001e time and time again how this gaijin (the word nippon to refer to, somewhat pejoratively, the strangers), straight out of Missouri, made his way up to the prestigious Yomiuri Shimbun , the daily newspaper most widely read in Japan where he was the first foreign journalist to be hired. We would like to, also, it distils a little more its spicy anecdotes about his first steps into the world terribly fascinating of organised crime japanese. He has already told many times. “But it won’t bother me ever again,” says the author of Tokyo Vice, The Last of the Yakuza and more recently I sold my soul for bitcoins (Editions Marchialy).
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We find him near his home in Tokyo. “I love this neighborhood, a small island of calm,” he says as he walks through the streets of Higashi-Kitazawa, west Tokyo, and neighboring the trendy Shimo-Kitazawa. And most importantly, I found a home not expensive at all: someone died in it. As the Japanese are very superstitious, they hate to live in a haunted house. Then the rents drop considerably.”
Tokyo Vice soon in the TV series In “I sold my soul for bitcoins”, Jake takes us to the heart of this financial scandal whose reverberations are very few feelings in France. Marchialy
a Prominent scholar of Japan, Jake Adelstein was a very busy year. His latest book, which recounts the case of Mark Karpelès, the French founder of the exchange platform cryptomonnaies Mt.Gox, was a resounding success. His first, Tokyo Vice (2009), which has established itself since as a benchmark in the genre of non-fiction, is being adapted. The TV series will be broadcast on the future platform of streaming WarnerMedia (which should include the programs of HBO). “It had to be a movie at the base, with Daniel Radcliffe, who performed my role,” recalls Jake Adelstein. I had seen it in one piece, The Lifespan of a Fact, where he plays a fact-checker, a job that does not exist anymore. But eventually the format changed, and the choice of production too.”
instead of the actor of Harry Potter, it is finally Ansel Elgort, the flawless “baby driver” of the eponymous film (Edgar Wright, released in 2017), which will propose the journalist to the side of Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Inception, Letters from Iwo Jima) . “We signed up for a first season, but I think that there will be two,” says Adelstein. It is quite exciting to have to recreate that time. I started at the Yomiuri ( Shimbun editor’s note ) in 1993. Appointment account: the first cell phones that can take pictures are arrived in 1999!” With the beginning of filming scheduled for the beginning of 2020, Jake hopes to see the first season of Tokyo Vice (the official title has not yet been confirmed) towards the end of next year.
An investigation panting on the bitcoins
We arrive at the famous haunted house. A small old building of two floors, nestled at the bottom of a venelle and nested between two other buildings. Jake leans toward a cooler placed in the middle of his address, raises the lid and removes a bunch of keys stuck in the backgrounds of a few bottles of alcohol. “This is only possible in Japan”, plays the reporter for fifty years. Although the FBI has had to put under police protection, despite its investigations, the judicial system in japan, despite its proximity to Mark Karpelès and the case Mt. Gox, Jake Adelstein had no objection to entrust the access to his home, with his documents and his computer, to two bottles of whisky.
“people don’t realize it, but in the late 2000’s and early 2010, Tokyo was pretty much the capital of the bitcoins”.
In I sold my soul for bitcoins, Jake takes us to the heart of the financial scandal known in France. In 2014, over 740,000 bitcoins are diverted from the platform Mt.Gox by hackers. The founder of this online bank, Mark Karpelès, quickly becomes the main suspect. With this book, which achieves the feat of breath-taking drive while dealing with a great teacher, the subject terribly complex cryptomonnaies, one would think that Jake Adelstein is moving away from its land of predilection: Japan and its judicial system. It is not the case. “People don’t realize it, but in the late 2000’s and early 2010, Tokyo was pretty much the capital of the bitcoins,” says the author. Already because the original paper laying the groundwork for this virtual currency was published by Satoshi Nakamoto, an individual whom nobody has met but assumed that it would be Japanese. Second, because in 2014, before the outbreak of the case, 80% of the trade of bitcoins were through Mt.Gox, whose headquarters was located in Tokyo.”
through the judicial system japanese
The book begins with the arrest of Mark Karpelès. Jake was at his side at this time, accompanied by the journalist with whom he worked on the case. In the first pages, Adelstein explains in French how will unfold the arrest, the first appearance, in custody… in other words, how japan’s judiciary system will attempt to grind it to obtain a confession. A story familiar? “Yes, this is exactly what happened with Carlos Ghosn, journalist. It is like that in Japan.”
” While Japan is continuously promoting a “Japan Cool”, a land of tourism, the reality is that of a country ruled by plutocrats sociopaths who worship Hitler.”
Whether dealing with the Yakuza in Tokyo Vice or bitcoins in his latest book, Jake Adelstein manages to each time the same result. Dispel myths that surround this country, and destroy the idyllic vision that the Western feed constantly in an astonishing schizophrenia, ignoring many of its component traits – starting with its court system vitiated, and its maintenance of the death penalty, passing by the deep misogyny of her society, or xenophobia borne of his government. A government, about which Jake Adelstein does not mince his words. “While Japan is constantly promoting a “Japan Cool”, a land of tourism, the reality is that of a country ruled by plutocrats sociopaths who worship Hitler, notes the author. With freedom of the press in free fall (26th place in 2003, compared to 67th in 2018, according to Reporters without borders, editor’s note ), endemic poverty, censorship is growing, of the destruction and intentional in the public archives, the deaths caused by overexertion, a corruption of the bureaucracy and a court system that is medieval.” A Japan in which Jake Adelstein would not have taken the course that was hers. A country that, at the dawn of its new era Reiwa, changes slowly but surely in the country of the setting sun.