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Anti-drug poster featuring Yukie Nakama to go up at schools nationwide

63 Comments

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Ryu Shionoya, 59, recently showed off the new anti-drug poster featuring actress Yukie Nakama, 29, that will be put up at junior high schools, high schools and universities around Japan this month. The poster says “NO! DRUG” in English in a large white font, and underneath it says “dame, zettai” – which means something to the effect of not taking them under any circumstances.

The poster targeting drug use among young people coincides with this month’s release of “Gokusen THE MOVIE,” starring Nakama as Kumiko Yamaguchi – mathematics teacher and granddaughter of a yakuza boss - and she is wearing her trademark sports gear in the poster. She is folding her arms and in smaller white font next to her resolute pose is a sentence that says: “Let’s get the courage to stand up and protect those important to us.”

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Applaud the sentiment of the poster/effort, but it is a perfect example of why J-kids speak terrible English. Even the Education Ministry does not take the time to get the English correct. At a minimum it should be No! DrugS. More correctly, it should be No Drugs! (And, I am not an English teacher, so I have no personal axe to grind.) Really poor example for the Education Ministry to be setting. Would they make the same mistakes if the poster was in Japanese? Doubt it.

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No! English

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Does any school kid ever actually pay attention to these posters? And, is the granddaughter of a crime boss really a suitable person to be on an anti-crime poster? A great waste of tax payers money.

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when are the summer holidays starting in japanese schools ?

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No! Drug*

*At least until you're 20, and then please drink and smoke as much as you like!!!

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They need to sell this poster, it's too funny.

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Why English? There's a perfectly good japanese word, 麻薬, for narcotics.

Is the ministry connecting criminal vices with foreign countries? Seems like it. Similarly, the cop cars have "POLICE" written in larger font than 警察. Given that 98% of population are not native English speakers, this seems weird, if not suspicious.

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How funny is that?! The ministry of EDUCATION made this?!

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In unrelated news, the Ministry of Education went out to celebrate their efforts by going to a local bar and getting so drunk they couldnt walk straight.

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They should've put a former Russian Sumo wrestler's pock marked face on it...that'd scare the bejeezus out of any wannabe speedfreaks...

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Don't be so hard on her, she's a math teacher.

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Bad! English

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It is not about anti-drugs. It is about her. Why rely so much on "idols" to convey a message?

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Is the ministry connecting criminal vices with foreign countries? Seems like it. Similarly, the cop cars have "POLICE" written in larger font than 警察. Given that 98% of population are not native English speakers, this seems weird, if not suspicious.

personally i like to think it has more to do with applying internationally recongisable insignia to public services. could be wrong though

as for the poster, they are an excellent example of finger-wagging authority that is very quick to condemn but takes no time whatsoever to communicate. i'm sure kids learn a lot about what they are and aren't supposed to do, but never learn anything about why, which might help them to make sensible choices for those difficult matters in life where no authority has taken the time to produce a poster

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First chance I am going to nick one! Let's happy No! Drug!!!!!

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I don’t take too much issue with using a celebrity to get the message across. Kids respond to and mimic their idols the world over. But the lame English being used on the poster is inexcusable.

Why English? Because English is "cool." It's why no automobiles whatsoever marketed in Japan bear Japanese names. It's why drinks are called "Pocari Sweat" and "Aquarius." It's why you can buy a T-shirts with Biblical scripture mish-mashed with snippets of a recipe for fried chicken written on it. It's why Yamada Denki, one of the largest discount electronics chains in Japan chose "For you! JUST" as their latest campaign slogan - never mind that "just for you" wouldn't have diminished in any appreciable way the clarity or potency of the intended message. English is cool, trendy, cosmopolitan – and the punch line to most jokes told at drunken after-hour parties.

That this piss-poor English message comes from the Ministry of Education should be no large surprise. MEXT very clearly does not have faith in its own education system, believing that the average teen at the height of their English education, is able to comprehend of respond to any more difficult English than the broken-English cave-man utterances of “No! Drug.”

They may as well tack on “Drug! Bad!” and “Drug! Hurt!” along with a gadget of some sort that automatically emits a deep, male grunt when people pass within a meter of the poster, for all the good the original message will do.

"But hey, we scored Nakama Yukie, and she's hot, so it's all good."

It’s all about appearances over at MEXT, not about whether the message is appropriate, accurate, or effective. As long as they appear to care – and do their utmost to safeguard nationalist sentiment in their solemn mission to education the masses – all is right with the world.

Yeah, this is just one more reason MEXT is on my sh*t-list this month.

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Let's fight the drug war! ... with a poster.

Anything to actually avoid discussing the subject with our children.

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lol NO DRUG. wtf does that even mean?

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"Do you want some beer?"

"No! Drugs."

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why not "Drugs are bad! mm'kay?"

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Sound to me like, No! I want or need Drug.

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I think I understand: drugs are out, but the Yakuza is in!

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english words, yet not really english

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Maybe one has to read backwards:

Gurd! On.

Then it is an effort in promoting strange music:

http://www.gurd.net

Or it might be related to gurd = (diet stomach).

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I am! Shaking head. Education Ministry no can! English speak.

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Oh dear o dear ... I've lived far too many years in Japan, as I thought the English on the poster was perfect. Oh well, it is Japan after all, anything in English is ok, even if it makes sense or not. Actually, most stuff in this country concerning English never makes sense.

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There's a drugstore chain around here with a huge billboard proclaiming "LOVE DRUGS". http://www.love-drugs.jp/index.html

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NO! DRUG mecha mecha DANGER!

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launch a campaign against drugs, stay in office, keep the money rolling in, let's go get hammered at the snack bar.

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The poster says “NO! DRUG” in English in a large white font, and underneath it says “dame, zettai”

I think this is actually supposed to be a 4 letter sentence: "NO! DRUG dame, zettai" or "NO! This singular DRUG is no good, under any circumstances"

It kinda makes more sense this way, even though it uses English and Japanese mish-mash in the one sentence. I'm a bit concerned this came from the Ministry of Education, no less.

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I think this is actually supposed to be a 4 letter sentence: "NO! DRUG dame, zettai" or "NO! This singular DRUG is no good, under any circumstances" It kinda makes more sense this way, even though it uses English and Japanese mish-mash in the one sentence. I'm a bit concerned this came from the Ministry of Education, no less.

Ah, now I get it. It all makes sense now.

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'No English' either...

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I dont know about you, but before I started to live in Japan. I took drugs. I never really did ONE drug, or A drug. And the best part about Japanese mentality. They dont see alchol as a drug, even though its the worst drug ever according to wide spread use and death and violence it causes. Thats the only DRUG I do now. also.. what about when I break a bone or get injured. I guess they mean no drugs for that either. cuase I sprained my ankle and they wanted to make sure I had asprin. In the USA I probably would have been sent home with a years supply of Demeral.

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I think this is actually supposed to be a 4 letter sentence: "NO! DRUG dame, zettai"

Actually it's not bilingual, it's trilingual. You don't realise that apart from Japaneses and English it's also in Spanish, and it if you change it all into English, it reads like this: Glazed over, tough-looking Yukie Nakama challenges you, with the caption No!!! Drug!! Give me!!! Definitely!!! The Ministry of Education is more sophisticated these days than you give it credit for. I hope it makes more sense to our readers, now.

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why not "Drugs are bad! mm'kay?"

and smoking's bad, you shouldn't smoke... mmmm'kay? and alcohol. alcohol's bad, mmmmm'kay? you shouldn't drink, mmm'kay?

this poster is at an equally low level of engagement with its audience

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incidentally, i hope all high school students when offered Tamiflu, to be sure they don't get the foreigner disease during this all-important test season, will respond with crossed arms and a shout of "NO! DRUG dame, zettai!"

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sorry to post again, but i thought i should remind people that this kind of scaremongering with zero grounding in the facts actually does a lot to undermine trust in authority. any student who has been exposed to this kind of campaign who subsequently tries drugs, or has a friend who does so, and discovers that they don't immediately burst into flames and die a horrible death is apt to realise that they were lied to. they might then go on to question why they were lied to, and what else that have been lied to about

it seems to me that this is a key reason why drugs are linked to counter culture

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My wife sometimes likes to watch this TV "drama" (it's more unintentionally hilarious and cringe-worthy than anything I'd call a drama) and she whips a bunch of prissy J-punks who constantly get into huge slapping brawls and Yukie always walks in and saves the day by beating the crap out of the OTHER J-punks that are not her students (who are themselves useless, crybaby J-punks). The fact that she's using violence to stop violence amongst the same two sets of people with different names kind of says something about the war on drugs in general. It's a battle you're not going to win, no matter who is brought in to fight it.

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My wife sometimes likes to watch this TV "drama" (it's more unintentionally hilarious and cringe-worthy than anything I'd call a drama) and she whips a bunch of prissy J-punks who constantly get into huge slapping brawls and Yukie always walks in and saves the day by beating the crap out of the OTHER J-punks that are not her students (who are themselves useless, crybaby J-punks). The fact that she's using violence to stop violence amongst the same two sets of people with different names kind of says something about the war on drugs in general. It's a battle you're not going to win, no matter who is brought in to fight it.

i saw this a while back. seemed like a right bunch of rubbish

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No Talent! No education! me is thinking

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griff--it is exactly that. It is EXACTLY that.

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NO! GRAMMAR

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Some say no to drugs and take a stand, but after the show they go looking for the dope man.

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Poor Ryu-kun. In fact he's the minister but according to the article he's merely a "senior official".

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LFRagain

"But hey, we scored Nakama Yukie, and she's hot, so it's all good."

Hot? Not! She's blandness personified.

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it's hilarious how in that drama she wears her glasses, and is all serious and respectable, but then she takes them off and WHOA! she's, like, totally a hot babe! WHOA!

/cheap cliches

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The trouble with most of the early responses here is that you think the poster is English. While the news article states it is written "in English", it doesn't say it IS English.

The people who wrote this poster didn't think they were writing "in English". They were merely making a persuasive poster with symbols, a known actress, and a clear to understand message written in easy to understand Japanese: "dame, zettai".

From the eyes of the Japanese, is it as bad as you all make it out to be?

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Actually it should be "No!Alcohol!".

With over 2 million alcoholics in Japan, alcohol is the main problem here.

A poster showing Smap member Kusanagi getting arrested would be much more effective.

"Me Tarzan, You Jane, No! Drug."

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A poster declaring "No" to drugs under any circumstances doesn't sound to me like scaremongering (or fear-mongering). It's simply saying, "I don't care how many drugs you're able to juggle without OD'ing, I'm not joining in."

And yes, nicotine and alcohol should be included in there as "drugs".

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A poster declaring "No" to drugs under any circumstances doesn't sound to me like scaremongering (or fear-mongering).

it's a drastic oversimplification of a complex issue

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“NO! GRAMMAR” “dame, zettai”

Seems to be the slogan in Japan right now.

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More trouble with plurals. Like the book shops that sell BOOK

Most kids don't pay much attention to these posters. Or they put push-pins in the eyes, color in the teeth, etc.

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I'm considering making a T-shirt with "NO! GRAMMAR" slogan, and the requisite "dame zettai". Satire is apparently a deep underground concept in Japan.

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I know the use of English here is simply for show, but why oh why can't those in supposed positions of authority use proper English on such things!? Or get out from behind their xenophobia and simply ask someone who DOES know English. He's a frickin' Education Ministry official and here he is spreading yet more bad English. Sheesh. It continually amazes me given how much time is wasted in Japan learning grammar (which I guess includes the proper placement of punctuation?). And for what? I know such apathy toward learning proper English by so many in Japan means eternal job security for those of us in the language business, but come on!

Do those in Japan who really don't care about learning proper/good English also do this with other languages like Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Russian? Wouldn't surprise if the same "don't care" attitude exists there too. I wonder how such Japanese folks would feel/react if gaijin started throwing Japanese kana, kanji & words in a jumble, pretending it was "Japanese" (and that they stubbornly believed it was Japanese), and then putting it on official-looking posters and the like. Probably too much of a strain for such misusers of English to ponder, no doubt. As long as it looks like English, it must be English... Yup, it's that image-over-substance meme again. A bit like those "KY" posters at Seiyu the last month or so. Ha!

But back to the poster here. Hell, this isn't an ant-drug poster at all, but another sneaky attempt to sell something, here promoting a movie. Everything in Japan seems like it ain't worth nothin' unless it can make some money for someone. I see it easily failing, and frankly, hope it does. Do govt officials honestly believe such a lame poster will stop kids from exploring drugs? Meanwhile, sales of ganja-emblazoned hats & T-shirts among the targeted kids are on the up and up...

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this is awesone

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If I had one of those posters, I'd roll the biggest fattest most-ginormous...

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I know the use of English here is simply for show, but why oh why can't those in supposed positions of authority use proper English on such things!? Or get out from behind their xenophobia and simply ask someone who DOES know English.

This has been discussed around the internet. I forgot the main reason(s), but it was something like 'the Japanese as a whole don't understand proper English anyway, so going through the trouble of editing for mistakes wouldn't really be worth the cost.'

Great, huh?

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@The758:

This has been discussed around the internet....

I know; I was just venting. I work in the language business so on one level appreciate the unending opportunity to correct things. But what's "correct" regarding English in Japan is pretty relative since this sort of pseudo English (and pseudo other languages?) IS being used for a different purpose here than how naive users of English would normally use or expect it.

On another level, though, the main thing to look at here is not really whether the Latin characters are organized "correctly" or "properly", but whether the intended message is understandable to and will actually reach or affect the intended readers/viewers in the ways the writers hope. I think in the end this is far more important than whether the text follows certain grammatical & other "rules" of English as it's used by native speakers. Grammar & spelling, etc. are important and useful in guiding us toward understandable communication, but they aren't everything, nor written in stone.

For any communication to be understandable, though, I think optimally the target audience has to be fully understood -- their thoughts & feelings, their aspirations, fears, goals, expectations and, in this case, their reasons for using drugs. On this more fundamental level, I think the Education Ministry, like most govt. and authoritative bodies in Japan, fails miserably by once again not being able (it seems) to get to the heart of the problem beyond treating its intended audience as nothing more than mere consumers (here, of a new movie). And for this reason, a poster that cosmetically uses a popular talent beside a symbolized jumble of Latin characters will also fail, despite the talento's current character being yakuza-related (to scare the readers into not doing drugs, I guess).

If the govt and society here really wants kids to stop using drugs, they're going to have to go a lot deeper than merely parading around ineffective posters that only keep proving how disconnected the govt is from the everyday lives of common people (i.e., not of other govt officials, or the growing elite class). Drug culture is pervasive in Japan among young people, as in many other countries. Surely the govt isn't that blind to see this. But the more the govt does stunts like this poster here, passing it off as a serious effort in Japan's "war on drugs", then the harder it will be to really stop drug use among young people in a caring & lasting way. All of society needs to be involved, too, not just authoritative figures hiring talentos pointing threatening fingers. Kids won't listen to that.

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Oops. That should say in the first paragraph, "...IS being used for a different purpose here than how native users of English would normally use or expect it."

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Or, maybe the sign was supposed to read: No.1 Drug

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The758,

Even if it is meant for Japanese, the message should be conveyed correctly. Quite surprised that Jadministration allows almost anyone and everyone from all countries to teach English. It is sad that particularly the little ones are taught wrong from the tender age. I admit that some countries use English almost like an official language. But that does not mean that they are able to use the language properly.Note: I am not an English teacher.

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womanforwomen, I beg to disagree. There are plenty of people from countries where English is not a native but an official language who can write, speak, and teach excellent English and are doing a great job here in Japan. Note: I too am not an English teacher.

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Maybe "NO! DRUG" is simply the name of a drugstore, like "Universal Drug" or "Happy Drug" or "Papa's Drug". Also, the "NO!" is a typo, because it's supposed to be N°1 DRUG, as cooeecobber suggested above. That number one drug, of course, is assumed to be sex with Japanese girls wearing glasses. And "dame zettai" is the token resistance a refined lady is supposed to offer.

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