Japan Today



Will marijuana become the next tapioca?


Last year when sales of marijuana became legal in Canada and California, these made big headlines in Japan, where it is treated the same as dangerous narcotics.

One of the most outspoken proponents of pot in Japan is actress Saya Takagi.

Two years ago, Takagi, now 56, was found guilty of possession of marijuana. She received a suspended sentence. She does not appear to be the least bit contrite, however, and recently began tweeting on a daily basis the mantra: "Pot! Pot! Pot! It should be as popular here as tapioca!"

Last year, the volume of tapioca imports grew twenty-fold over 2017.

Sending out twitter messages is by no means the only way Takagi indulges in her passion for locoweed. Last July she flew to Tokyo from Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, to speak before a paying audience in the Ryogoku district.

"I paid 1,500 yen admission, with a drink included," one of the participants told the reporter, adding that while only 30 seats were provided, the room quickly filled up with a standing-room-only crowd.

"Did anything change after your arrest?" a participant asked.

"If it had been 15 or 20 years ago, perhaps, I think the public would have reacted toward me in a much colder manner," Takagi, dressed in a yukata (summer kimono), replied. "Now, more members of the younger generation have had the experience of smoking marijuana. Nobody admits it outright, but I suppose quite a large number of Japanese are smoking it. And they, among others, have been giving me support."

Earlier this year, another showbiz figure, Pierre Taki, was arrested for cocaine use, and distribution of his tunes via the Denki Groove music service was halted.

"But even when Yosui Inoue was arrested for marijuana possession in 1977, it didn't come to anything, Takagi said. "He just experimented with it. So the response of the law depends on the degree of the violation."

Inoue received an 8-month suspended prison sentence.

"So the question is, when does it get to the point that one's own violation can be treated as serious?" she asked rhetorically.

Then a skeptic in the audience asked, "Are you saying that no legal controls are needed for any kind of drug?" to which Takagi replied, "Dalton Trumbo, who produced the screenplay for 'Roman Holiday,' was supposedly high on amphetamines while he wrote it. And Walt Disney was said to have loved to drop LSD. So I say individuals should be free to use anything they want, even if they die from it. Banning a substance just makes people want to use it all the more."

She continued, "Previously a staff member at a major company was busted for marijuana possession; but his employer did not dismiss him outright. He was allowed to keep the same position, and as all his coworkers held him in warm regard, he continued to do the job. Despite his conviction, he was treated with deference!"

Afterwards, Takagi was asked about the difference between the internet and television, since marijuana users tend to be demonized on the latter.

"I've been ostracized from television," she replied. "So I try to work at the grass roots level via the internet or at small speaking engagements like yesterday's."

And if somebody queries, "Are you still smoking pot?" Takagi has a standard brushoff, which is to reply, "You've got to be nuts to ask me that."

© Japan Today

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The government does not care about pot. The government cares that everyone is distracted and confused, paying attention to a thing that ranges from harmless as anything in daily life to beneficial. If the government has any genuine concern about pot, its that pot might make wake up and see what a scam the government is.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

I love her. Good on her for continuing to push this. Japan is a country that would benefit significantly from marijuana legalization.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

It will probably be all of the hype surrounding the health benefits of CBD oil that will help push the eventual legalization of marijuana in Japan, through the destigmafication of hemp and cannabis. But, it certainly won't happen overnight, that's for sure. And, the alcohol and pharmaceutical companies will be fighting (bribing) against it as long as they can.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I myself do not like marijuana, but I have known many people who did/do like it, including a cancer patient who said it helped with her symptoms. Why not treat it like we do alcohol? We could try to keep it away from children, and make it illegal to drive or operate machinery while under the influence.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

still very very early for that kind of talk in Japan... and i,m not saying that,s a good thing. but i suppose it has to start somewhere, sometime...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Keep this filthy drugs out of Japan please, all it will do is ensure a whole generation of lazy deadbeats and stoned tourists running amok in Japan.

Furthermore THC has been clinically proven to trigger underlying psychological disorders such as paranoia and depression with people who never had problems before.

At most you could make a medicine out of the CBD but that's as far as it should go.

-22 ( +1 / -23 )

Furthermore THC has been clinically proven to trigger underlying psychological disorders such as paranoia and depression with people who never had problems before.

Sigh. No.

You're clearly mistaking the actual fact that sometimes people who have a predisposition to schizophrenia who have then had schizophrenic attacks after smoking marijuana with.. well with the falsehoods you wrote instead.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Keep this filthy drugs out of Japan please, all it will do is ensure a whole generation of lazy deadbeats and stoned tourists running amok in Japan.

Hey Mister X have you visited Canada recently. Tons of Japanese tourists here at this time of year. It doesn't look remotely like what you wrote and is doing quite well economically at the moment, thanks. In fact, legalization was basically a big yawn.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

weird headline

I don't partake myself but I don't mind other people doing it safely. Better to be around someone who is stoned that someone who is drunk, surely.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Thc and cbd would make the world a better place. Alcohol and tobacco are far more deadly.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A friend of mine - a doctor - was vehmentally against marijuna until she contracted lung cancer (ironic as she neither smoked nor drank). On her deathbed, she bemoaned the fact that it was unavailable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't partake myself but I don't mind other people doing it safely. Better to be around someone who is stoned that someone who is drunk, surely.

Correct. As the saying goes, "Five drunk guys will start a fight. Five stoned guys will start a band."

7 ( +8 / -1 )

 Better to be around someone who is stoned that someone who is drunk, surely.

i agree 100%

Alcohol and tobacco are far more deadly.


3 ( +4 / -1 )

Much of this is about OBEDIENCE. There is NOTHING harmful about Cannabis and it is absolutely an irreplaceable benefit when entering into senescence. Given that Japan is almost collectively doing that, withholding the benefits of Cannabis from the elderly is criminal in itself. Millions AND millins of Humans have voluntarily enlisted in Human trials over the last (archaeologically) 8000 years and NOT ONE PERSON, to our knowledge, has died of effects directly attributable to Cannabis. In fact, the cannabinoids are the plant's 'fruit' with which it employs other animals to carry its seeds and Cannabis is one of the MOST UBIQUITOUS plants in what is left of the still intact biosphere. POPULAR with way more species than just us. And if you like to just sit and think, oh yeah, Cannabis, particularly the Sativa strains, does for imagination what cocaine and alcohol do for psychopathy. If relaxing or sleep is an issue, an Indica strain which won't have you waking up in your car on the freeway or wandering in the park in your underwear wondering how you got there, as your Big Pharma prep might. "JUST SAY NO!" to governmental and Corporate overreach into the private lives of innocent people. And those who just reflexively go into condemnation mode whenever disobedience to AUTHORITY is mentioned, what sad lives they must lead mindlessly locked into ignorance and enslaved by fear of LIfe and who are incapable of seeing the contradiction to their programmed perceptions in the many millions who happily embrace a natural wonder and panacea to the poisons of Corporate and the constant little pains of daily living without the mental and physical destruction wrought by Ethanol. And for cocaine as a never-user, my impression might be that, whereas the Cannabis user may be seeking G-d, the cocaine and/or Meth user wants to BE G-d. Not an enviable desire IMHO. Humble people prefer egotistically quieter pursuits, incomprehensible to politicians and Corporate psychopaths who condemn 'thinking' as 'weird' (and, for them, scary).

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Lol. I am not against recreational marijuana use. I don't use anymore myself, but that was a personal choice.

Anecdotal "evidence" for the efficacy of marijuana, for what ails you, is not proven science. Therefore, the medical marijuana controversy is misplaced imho. In the states, I do believe it should at the very least be decriminalized, so that medical studies can actually take place, and we can come to some reasonable consensus on what it can, or cannot, do from a medical standpoint.

I also think that current employment standards should be upheld regarding marijuana. Until an accurate way of testing for pot inebriation exists, then no, you cannot do this job with pot in your system. I fear the legal rabbit hole that would appear if folks were allowed to fail drug tests for important, and dangerous jobs.

"Those people died because it was an accident, not because I got high 2 days ago" would become a standard defense for liars who WERE actually high at work and caused personal and financial loss. With no way of conclusively proving otherwise with current testing.

I've worked in dangerous industries for a good portion of my life. Which is why I stated earlier that I quit by choice( I chose to have a good paying job). I enjoyed smoking when I did it. Now, I just go home and have the occasional cocktail in the privacy of my own home.

Personally I think Japan should consider legalization, but I also think they should take a wait and see approach to what is going down in America, wait until their is actual science behind it, then they can tailor it to their own needs after watching how we fail to implement it well. ;)

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Keep this filthy drugs out of Japan please,

Actually, it's deeply traditional to Japan, with a long history before the Americans turned up and banned it.

People need to study up on the history of its prohibition.

Personally, I'd rather have chilled out "deadbeats" than drunken overworked salarymen vomiting up and then crashing out in the street.

Any chance of removing really filthy drugs like tobacco and alcohol?

it's really not fair to blame the plant on the culture of the people who use it.

I try to work at the grass roots level

Nice pun.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Drugs will get you nowhere fast.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

When I was in the US for a year in the late 1990s as a student, guys in the dorm would "toke up" (I think that was the expression) occasionally (I never did). They became one with the music and got really really hungry. It seemed harmless but I would not like seeing that come to Japan. Just face reality and get on with life. You don't need to escape.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

gokai wo maneku,

You have to be kidding. “Face reality and get on with life. You don’t need to escape.” That’s all we see around us. Alcohol and tobacco is all over. Alcoholics galore. Look at society’s stats. Low birth rates, low car or house purchase, low marriage rates, etc. It’s a society in straitjackets. There’s little hope in young..or old..peoples lives. I don’t say pot is the answer necessarily but if people choose then it could add a bit of joy. Of course the big worriers are the alcohol companies. The government also would lose a lot of tax income. These two are major concerns for the government. There’s a hole in the dam and it’s just a matter of time before the hole grows and brakes the dam.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese law is actually an American law made during World War 2. It seems shameful to enforce it when it's just a colonialist measure to keep you weak.

Also, what about Japanese pride? Marijuana used to be holy in Japan.

If you argue, well, the Americans enforce it on themselves, is it a colonialist measure to keep us weak? Well, yes. The Native Americans, mainly. In general it was said drugs caused white women to have sex with black men, so we're dealing with laws that are the product of a psychopath.

Only mass incarceration and death of innocent people result from drug laws. They're evil.

I love Japan. I'd love to see it legalize marijuana. I'd like all drugs legalized. Shame they also like hurting people so much, which is the only argument for keeping it illegal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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