Described tongue-in-cheek as a "sappukei" -- an adjective meaning "tasteless," but written with characters that literally mean "murder scene" -- the photos posted on the web were reminiscent, on a smaller scale, of the March 1995 toxic gas attack on the Tokyo subway lines by the AUM Supreme Truth religious cult. Prostrate bodies were strewn all about on the street, with police patrolmen galloping to the rescue.
On the evening of June 20, according to an ITmedia News report posted on Yahoo! Japan, approximately a dozen females, believed to be students at Japan Women's University, collapsed en masse on the street adjacent to Koma theater in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district. Earlier in the day, the women had played tennis with members of "KREIS," a tennis club with a 40-year history that operates under the auspices of Meiji University. Afterwards, the students had apparently headed for Shinjuku to wet their whistles.
The incident was recorded with still photos and moving images and promptly tweeted, eventually winding up on hundreds of sites online. Then on Monday morning it received several minutes of coverage on Fuji TV's gossipy "Tokudane" morning news program.
The coverage indulged in considerable speculation as to the cause of the collapse, but refrained from naming names or providing other hard facts. One astute observer managed to obtain a group photo of the tennis players taken earlier the same day, and noted that at least one male member of the tennis group was present in Shinjuku, where he appeared to be completely sober at the time the females started dropping like flies. From this, several bloggers raised the question that if the females had been drinking in the company of males that evening, why hadn't any of the males who'd accompanied them been affected to a similar or even lesser degree?
Moreover, it's uncertain what substance could have had such a pronounced, and nearly simultaneous, effect on so many people. These girls were not merely drunk, but completely unconscious, lying on the street with their skirts up to their hips. And several were reported to have soiled themselves, which raises the question, did someone slip a muscle relaxant or some type of date rape drug into their drinks?
Another theory is that the females had been plied with "Spirytus Rektyfikowany," a potent Polish vodka that is 95% alcohol (190 U.S. proof).
Yet another site claimed to have the explanation and offered photos of some sort of gel-type yellowish capsule, which it claims was added to their drinks, as proof.
Despite the embarrassment, nobody died and it appears that none of the victims required hospitalization.
The two universities whose students were involved both issued statements on their web sites, but took a somewhat different approach to damage control.
Japan Women's University was in denial. Its statement, posted on June 23, read: "At the present time, we have not yet confirmed that students from this institution had been involved." Nevertheless, it did acknowledge that its students participated in the KREIS tennis club, and stated its intention to "discuss future measures" regarding student behavior.
On June 24, Meiji University issued an official apology. It conceded that some of the tennis club members appeared to have been under the legal age for consuming alcohol, and stated the victims were "recovering" from their ordeal. Meidai sternly pledged to investigate the incident and "mete out strict punishments" to those found responsible. "Measures will be taken to prevent a recurrence," it added.© Japan Today