Skip to comments.Japanese Pop Idol Recast as Junkie (Big Drug Bust in Japan!)
Posted on 08/21/2009 12:56:22 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo
Japanese Pop Idol Recast as Junkie
Earthquakes, tsunami tidal waves, typhoons, floods and landslides kept Japanese news gatherers busy over the Obon week when Japanese traditionally return home to pay respects to departed relatives who return briefly from the spirit world. It wasn't, however, any act of God that shocked the nation but alleged drug use by singer Noriko Sakai.
Manufactured pop idols cranked out by Japan's powerful production companies have dominated Japan's music charts for decades. Sakai, who debuted at 15 in 1987 with squeaky voice, clean-cut image and cute nickname, Nori-P, was one of the most successful winning a big following at home and as well as in Taiwan and Hong Kong. At 38, acting rather than singing was sustaining her celebrity, but her whiter than white reputation that corporations including Toyota Motor tapped to sell their products remained unsullied. Sponsors are now queuing up to dump her.
Sakai's fall began when police stopped her husband Yuchi Takaso in Tokyo on Aug. 3. Found with an illegal stimulant hidden in his underpants the ex-surfer phoned his wife and asked her to come down. The officers rummaging through his clothes weren't wooed by her celebrity status and instead asked her for a urine sample too.
Promising to visit the local police station, Sakai however went on the run for a week with her 10-year old son. Police in the meantime searched her Tokyo apartment where they found less than one thousandth of a gram of "white powder" in her bedroom. Though tiny it was enough for an arrest warrant and plenty to give Japan its juiciest celebrity scandal this year.
Camera crews jostled outside police cells and TV shows trotted out commentators and drug experts who quickly demonized the Japanese idol. A recent tattoo on her ankle was, they insisted, a sign of her drug addiction. Among young Japanese body art is common, but to older Japanese tattooing is still strongly associated with Yakuza criminal gangs. Some even suggested changes in hairstyle were a result of her dabbling in drugs, a bright red streak in her fringe being the most diabolical of her recent hair salon choices.
For Japan's police it was a gift. Criticized as bunglers in recent years Sakai's high profile arrest allowed Japan&'s men in blue to look tough on drug crime. The girl next door lured into the evils of drug use was perhaps too good to miss. Yet the image of a demon junky is probably no closer to the real Sakai than was the idol. After two decades of airtight marketing its impossible to tell because little is known beyond her constructed persona.
With no apparent evidence that Sakai snorted amphetamines or any other drug and with such a miniscule amount of white powder found in her bedroom prosecutors in the end may just let her go and let the media finish her off. Yet in choosing to demonize her Japan is missing the chance to take a deeper and more honest look at drug use.
Though discussed little in public, estimates put Japan's regular drug users in the millions. Amphetamine crystals, known locally as shabu shabu is common, but cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and other narcotics are readily available despite stiff penalties. Japan doesn't differentiate between soft and hard drugs.
Official statistics also ignore people who imbibe an array of hallucinogens and other concoctions sold legally online and in the streets as new chemical formulas outpace laws meant to control drug use. Information about drug use is almost none existent and ignorance as a result is rife.
Sakai is unlikely to educate her fellow Japanese. The singer, whose most famous song is "Blue Bunny"; reportedly told police she got her drugs from a foreigner. True or not, blaming it on a faceless 'gaijin' is one way to keep the scandal from spreading to friends and associates. Unfortunately it reinforces a delusion that drug abuse is a foreign scourge and not something homegrown.
The really cruddy thing about the whole sordid affair was, folks, (her) trying to blame her drug supply on some nameless, faceless "foreigner/non-Japanese" person in Japan....
Next she’ll be saying the gaijin tied her up and forced her to take drugs !
Oh I’m sure she’s tried THAT one in the interrogation already.
Japan is weird.
When did you visit or live here?
Any vignettes come to mind that you experienced?
Always blaming the Gai-Jin.
God, she is beautiful.
But she doesn't look entirely Japanese - she looks like a cute anglo/asian girl here in the States...
100% local, pure, Yamato-minzoku (Japanese). I can assure you.
This is no longer your uncle's or grandfather's Japan. Belieeeeive me, things have changed:
On the other hand,
At any rate, my guess is if she does not sass them back too much while in the iron slammer, she will be let go for poor evidence (small trace amounts), and her clever destruction of other evidence (cell phone smashed to smithereens, cutting hair--which can also be tested for meth, waiting one week before going in for a urine test, etc.), etc. however her career is shot and she is probably heading down the same deadend path as Michael Jackson, John Belushi, Jim Morrison, et.al. unless she pulls back from the abyss. Just my take.
Japanese for “not guilty” and “guilty”.
The photo at the top of the thread doesn’t even do her justice. She is very beautiful. Lovely voice too, although her popular music tends to be sappy love ballads and such.
Most likely one with a suit that looks two sizes too big for him, lots of gold jewelry, etc.
I wouldn't be caught dead in Roppongi these days.
99.9% of the drugs coming into or manufactured in Japan controlled by the Yakuza , either Japanese or Chinese . Now they may hire Africans and other “ gaijins “ to sell the stuff in clubs and on the streets , but the “ gaijins inevitably get blamed . Just like when the AIDS panic happened back in the late 80’s/early 90’s . Admittedly , AIDS didn’t originate in Japan , but it was through casual sex with foreigners and others that created the problem here . All these Japanes women weren’t raped either . They surrendered more than willingly . But blame the gaijin . I was on a train in Tokyo once and I heard a mother tell her kid not to get too close to me because I might have AIDS ! This kind of thing happened to some of my friends , too . Like anywhere else , living in Japan is a love/hate relationship . I must say that the good outweighs the bad , otherwise I wouldn’t still be here .
With the obligatory “ English “ added to the Japanese lyrics , right . Watashi wa anata ni I LOVE YOU ! LOL ! ; )
Her own arrest (bust?) oops.. was her turning herself in at a small Japanese police station in shitamachi, and then being transferred to Shibuya keisatsu for official booking. I doubt the foreigner setup. It is a known fact that a lot of this junk out there floats freely among Japanese entertainment world people, and where it comes in from is Japanese yakuza. In fact, Noriko's father was yakuza, brother as well. Tough family.
Japan seems like a weird place. What do you think would happen if their borders became wide open (sort of like how our borders here in the States are unofficially wide open.)
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