Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Japanese Pop Idol Recast as Junkie (Big Drug Bust in Japan!)
Channel Asia, Entertainment ^ | 21 August 2009 | Tim Kelly, Forbes (via Channel Asia)

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.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: actress; aidoru; arrest; celebrity; downfall; drugs; idol; imagedown; japan; meth; noriko; norip; popsinger; sakai; scandal
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-58 next last

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....


1 posted on 08/21/2009 12:56:22 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: DTogo; gaijin; sushiman; Ronin; TigerLikesRooster; SevenofNine
Ping です.
2 posted on 08/21/2009 12:58:07 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
Head down. In the paddy wagon.


3 posted on 08/21/2009 1:03:10 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

Next she’ll be saying the gaijin tied her up and forced her to take drugs !


4 posted on 08/21/2009 1:05:46 AM PDT by sushiman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sushiman

Oh I’m sure she’s tried THAT one in the interrogation already.


5 posted on 08/21/2009 1:06:47 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

Japan is weird.


6 posted on 08/21/2009 1:10:53 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (59 million Americans joined hands and shouted, "Yes, We Can March off This Cliff!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck
I have heard that before.

When did you visit or live here?

Any vignettes come to mind that you experienced?

7 posted on 08/21/2009 1:14:20 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

Always blaming the Gai-Jin.


8 posted on 08/21/2009 1:16:41 AM PDT by PureSolace (Trust in God)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

NOT GUILTY!!!1!


9 posted on 08/21/2009 1:17:19 AM PDT by catbertz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
Not guilty!

God, she is beautiful.
But she doesn't look entirely Japanese - she looks like a cute anglo/asian girl here in the States...

10 posted on 08/21/2009 1:17:31 AM PDT by bill1952 (Choice is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bill1952
Nope.

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:


11 posted on 08/21/2009 1:26:52 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: catbertz
無罪。

On the other hand,

有罪。

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.

12 posted on 08/21/2009 1:31:17 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Japanese for “not guilty” and “guilty”.


13 posted on 08/21/2009 1:32:58 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
Wow, I'm kinda bummed. Used to watch her in a cheesy japanese soap opera called “Heaven's Coins” years ago when learning japanese, and bought a couple of her albums. A strikingly beautiful woman even by japanese standards.
14 posted on 08/21/2009 1:39:07 AM PDT by SpaceBar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bill1952

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.


15 posted on 08/21/2009 1:47:33 AM PDT by SpaceBar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
If I recall correctly, the bust took place in Roppongi. That being the case, I would have to say the chances are better than 50% that her hubbie got them at one of the clubs there - and a foreigner was probably involved.

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.

16 posted on 08/21/2009 1:48:57 AM PDT by Ronin (Nemo me impune lacesset)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: PureSolace

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 .


17 posted on 08/21/2009 1:51:31 AM PDT by sushiman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: SpaceBar

With the obligatory “ English “ added to the Japanese lyrics , right . Watashi wa anata ni I LOVE YOU ! LOL ! ; )


18 posted on 08/21/2009 1:53:01 AM PDT by sushiman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Ronin
The bust of the husband was in Shibuya, in Dogenzaka area.

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.

19 posted on 08/21/2009 1:54:44 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: sushiman

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.)


20 posted on 08/21/2009 2:00:10 AM PDT by PureSolace (Trust in God)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: sushiman

Those English tack on lines are really starting to annoy me.

You’d think that by now they could at least make them gramatically correct.

Ah well...

Nihon wa Nihon desu...


21 posted on 08/21/2009 2:12:28 AM PDT by Ronin (Nemo me impune lacesset)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: PureSolace

I can think of a puzzled if not terrified Japanese traveler taking a “wrong offramp” in San Francisco/East Bay or Detroit, and feeling “America is weird”. ;-) Actually, weird is a little bit everywhere when you think about it.


22 posted on 08/21/2009 2:13:32 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Ronin

Hint: They are not “English”, nor were or are or will they ever be, intended to be “English”.


23 posted on 08/21/2009 2:15:20 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

I’d be terrified, myself. No time to be puzzled.


24 posted on 08/21/2009 2:16:52 AM PDT by Ronin (Nemo me impune lacesset)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

I guess you’re right. :)


25 posted on 08/21/2009 2:21:12 AM PDT by PureSolace (Trust in God)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
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.

I have problems with that paragraph. They are NOT readily available in anything like the sense they are available in America or any other European country.

If you go out looking for them, you can probably find them, but drug users in Japan are almost a completely separate community -- restricted to the entertainment community and the Yakuza set.

I wouldn't have the foggiest idea who to talk to or where to go, myself.

But then, maybe I am just too old and straighlaced for that crap these days.

(He said, sipping his first scotch and water of the weekend.)

26 posted on 08/21/2009 2:28:28 AM PDT by Ronin (Nemo me impune lacesset)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
I can think of a puzzled if not terrified Japanese traveler taking a “wrong offramp” in San Francisco/East Bay or Detroit, and feeling “America is weird”. ;-) Actually, weird is a little bit everywhere when you think about it.

Having had the experience of trying to explain various bits about American culture to Japanese, I believe that Japanese are generally puzzled by our country.

27 posted on 08/21/2009 2:29:43 AM PDT by snowsislander (NRA -- join today! 1-877-NRA-2000)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Ronin
I was just going to say, I have heard this criminal substance referred, in Japanese slang and even in the tabloids screaming above the fold just tonight, to as シャブ (shabu) but not as "shabu shabu" (I guess thats for the no-pan kissa) But what would I know? This is clearly a territory outside of my domain.

So there might be some inaccuracies in that article. Yes.

By the way, believe it or not, the US State Department actually has a "Travelers Advisory" out for Roppongi. Shame it came to that. Ah, the good old years before the riff-raff came in. Fortunately they are being shown the door these days.

28 posted on 08/21/2009 3:14:59 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Ronin
You or I would go right straight to "terrified". They would fiddle around with "puzzled" for awhile before it dawned on them there were in deep unchi.
29 posted on 08/21/2009 3:17:40 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
Judging from the content on Noriko Sakai's wikipedia page regarding the police action and the public outcry over the drug incident, Japan looks like a complete authoritarian hell-hole. Pulled all of her CD’s from shelves and cancelled consumer endorsement contracts? Sheesh, get a grip people. I guess terrorizing most of Asia last century was okay though.
30 posted on 08/21/2009 3:19:21 AM PDT by SpaceBar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: bill1952
Yes, very photogenic indeed.

Here, you get one just for being a nice person, bill:

She has a line of hats she "pushes" (oops, sorry no pun intended), which she is doing here, above...and which I think are going to have sales plummet.

31 posted on 08/21/2009 3:25:16 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: SpaceBar
Hey, over here, at times, it is guilty until proven innocent. Probably in 85% of the world for that matter, advanced and developing country alike.

Look at what they do in Singapore for chewing gum or chucking a cigarette but...or spray painting grafitti for that matter!

32 posted on 08/21/2009 3:27:00 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

You might as well just fill up the thread with various images of her. No sense wasting the space.


33 posted on 08/21/2009 3:29:06 AM PDT by SpaceBar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

If they instituted those same policies stateside there would be more people inside prison than out.


34 posted on 08/21/2009 3:34:45 AM PDT by SpaceBar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: SpaceBar
OK you asked for it:


35 posted on 08/21/2009 3:36:19 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck
Japan is weird.

No kidding. Where else can you buy whiskey from vending machines on the street?

36 posted on 08/21/2009 3:37:16 AM PDT by Fresh Wind ("Prosperity is just around the corner." Herbert Hoover, 1932)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SpaceBar

It’s not though. It is completely different than America in so many ways that is is virtually impossible to explain to someone who has never lived here.

Her CDs will be back on the shelves in a week or so. I do not think this is going to kill her career although she is probably going to have to publically apologize to her fans and express sincere remorse.

I am SAFE in Tokyo. There is nowhere in this city that I would fear to walk at night. Or, if there are, they are so far off the beaten path of normal life I could probably never find them anyhow.

Japan is... Japan.


37 posted on 08/21/2009 3:38:12 AM PDT by Ronin (Nemo me impune lacesset)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: SpaceBar

Yep. This low crime business ‘aint all its cracked up to be anyways, know what I’m saying? Give me the feeling of wondering if I will be shot down in the middle of the night at a 7-Eleven in a bad part of town just trying to get emergency baby formula ANYDAY.


38 posted on 08/21/2009 3:39:56 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Ronin
It will all blow over. But I am afraid not THAT quickly.

If anything, if I were her relatives, I would put her on suicide watch once released. She already threatened it the first day of her going missing...as intimated to her mother in law or grandmother by phone, I forget which one.

39 posted on 08/21/2009 3:42:45 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

Game shows. But I love the country anyway.


40 posted on 08/21/2009 3:47:09 AM PDT by rabidralph (http://www.thealaskafundtrust.com/ http://www.sarahpac.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
Kagami No Doresu (music video)
41 posted on 08/21/2009 3:47:37 AM PDT by SpaceBar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

“Give me the feeling of wondering if I will be shot down in the middle of the night at a 7-Eleven in a bad part of town just trying to get emergency baby formula ANYDAY.”

I’ll take that given I can avail myself of an “equalizer”. Unlike in Japan, where if you are accosted you’d better be trained in martial arts, young and fit.

At any rate, the “bad part of town” is easily avoided. ;-)


42 posted on 08/21/2009 4:03:28 AM PDT by PreciousLiberty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo
Wow. Just wow.
I love Japan. I wish that I could have stayed in Japan like my friend Paul Kelso did - He married a beautiful Japanese girl and stayed there.

Now, I visit whenever powerlifting affairs bring me there - I manage a women's lifting team here and my girls are often on Team USA at the World championships.

I would live there in a heartbeat if they would let me.
I'm actually planning for my minor children to be able move there. Or somewhere in Asia.
Teaching them Japanese, not Spanish. LOL!

I wonder if that minor cosmetic surgery for the eyes is still popular there.
Opens up the eyes to look more Western.

Ah well, here is the 48 kilo girl I am targeting to beat at the next IPF World chanpionships, Yukako Fukushima.
I had to laugh at my girls’ expressions when I told them that this "girl" is 37 years old.

My 48k lifter has beaten Shoko Tanaka’s total with ease, and Shoko is on this 7 minute video, as well.
Yukako squats 386 pounds at a bodyweight of 105lbs, at the 6 minute mark of the video

Round 3, IPF WC 2008 Women -48kg, Squat.
World Powerlifting Championships 2008 in St. John´s NL/ Canada

Video link

43 posted on 08/21/2009 10:05:21 AM PDT by bill1952 (Choice is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

SORRY AIT

Since I got DTV Convertion box I been watching Spanish speaking soap opera called Mun Palbo Diablo it very good

I could get English subtiles


44 posted on 08/21/2009 10:24:08 AM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us, resistence is futile")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

oh suuuure...! Allll the gaijin’s fault..! Unpredictable gaijin, donchya know..!

Oldest one in the book...


45 posted on 08/21/2009 5:49:38 PM PDT by gaijin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gaijin
Yes, very convenient 犠牲の羊 (scape goats).
46 posted on 08/22/2009 12:14:01 AM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (The sooner Senator Obama has his nervous breakdown and resigns, the better for ALL OF US)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo; maikeru; Dr. Marten; Eric in the Ozarks; Al Gator; snowsislander; sushiman; ...
Nori-P is always NOT GUILTY!!

日本*ピング* (kono risuto ni hairitai ka detai wo shirasete kudasai : let me know if you want on or off this list)

47 posted on 08/23/2009 9:07:37 PM PDT by DTogo (High time to bring back the Sons of Liberty !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo; DTogo; Ronin; sushiman
Thanks, All ....
..a very interesting thread.

48 posted on 08/23/2009 9:30:04 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Zer0 to the voter: "Welcome to 'MY' DeathCARE ® Plan"...Sucker! ...now just die. :^)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: AmericanInTokyo

She should have talked to Macca about the perils of having drugs in Japan.


49 posted on 08/23/2009 9:36:54 PM PDT by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rabidralph

MAJIDE!

50 posted on 08/23/2009 9:39:45 PM PDT by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-58 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson