Oct. 12th, 2016
Jake Adelstein | Investigative Journalist / Author
Jake Adelstein has been an investigative journalist in Japan since 1993. He was born in Columbia, Missouri and came to Japan in 1988. He lived in a Zen Buddhist for most of his time at Sophia University. After, graduating he became the first foreigner to work as a regular staff writer and police reporter, writing in Japanese, for the Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan’s largest newspaper. Considered one of the foremost experts on organized crime in Japan, he works as a writer and consultant in Japan and the United States. He is also an advisor to NPO Lighthouse Japan (formerly Polaris Project Japan) , which combats human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children in the sex trade. He is the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan (Vintage) and the forthcoming The Last Yakuza: A Life In The Japanese Underworld. Jake Adelstein is a foreign correspondent for The Daily Beast, The Los Angeles Times, Vice News, and has a monthly column in The Japan Times. He also continues to write in the Japanese language for ZAITEN and other publications. He is a regular guest on 外国人記者は見た! (Foreign Correspondents Discuss News in Japan) on TBS.
“What price wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise?” – Sophocles
“Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know is bad, or amoral, at least. You can’t act if you don’t know.” – Ray Bradbury
The Last Yakuza: A Life In The Japanese Underworld
As a “Find Your Element” Leader, Jake will deliver a 90-minute Workshop on “Find Your Truth: How To Listen, Ask and Question.” We will explore the importance of truth, both factual and spiritual truth, in a society like Japan where “true intention” (本音) is often buried beneath “pretext” (建前).
This Workshop will aim to:
- Help you understand…why it’s important to know the truth, be true to your own beliefs, how to find out what is really happening and how to deal with the hard truths of life and questions you may not want to answer
- Inspire you to ….be brave, be more honest, separate your opinion from truth, and learn to earn your own self-respect and peace of mind.
- Expose you to ….methods of listening, asking questions, and enquiry that will get you the answers you seek
- Make you enjoy being alive, better able to deal with adversity, and teach you that being a good person doesn’t mean being a pushover!
Message from Jake Adelstein: “Before becoming a journalist, I spent my college years living in a Zen Buddhist temple, seeking 悟り(satori) and have continued to meditate and practice the precepts of Buddhism since; while far too skeptical too believe in the metaphysics of the religion: karma, cosmic justice, reincarnation—it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like them to be true. I want to believe. I’m the Fox Mulder of Buddhism.
The investigative journalist and a person seeking spiritual enlightenment aren’t as far apart as you think. Both seek truth and knowing how to listen, ask the right questions, question diligently and cultivate a healthy skepticism are important for getting what you want, even if ironically what you want is freedom from desire (want), greed, and ignorance.
We will also discuss the nature of “truth” versus “opinion.” And why truth is like a rare herb, depending upon how it’s applied it can be medicine or poison. There is always the danger in seeking the truth, that we find answers we didn’t want to know. How to handle the truth and how to handle questions we don’t want to answer or don’t know the answer to is another valuable life skill, both for an investigative journalist or a layman.
Truth is part of knowledge and the believe in the right to know what is happening in our world, to know the truth is both a pillar of democracy and authentic living. Before coming, ponder these words of Ray Bradbury,
‘A stranger is shot in the street, you hardly move to help. But if, half an hour before, you spent just ten minutes with the fellow and knew a little about him and his family, you might just jump in front of his killer and try to stop it. Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know is bad, or amoral, at least. You can’t act if you don’t know.’
Sometimes, you can’t even know, if you don’t ask.