Monday, August 17, 2009

No! Drug

Here's one from the "I just couldn't help it" department...

(Image and text below borrowed from Japan Today, 7/1/09)

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.”

How effective do you believe this poster is? This poster/campaign is also timely in wake of the recent drug use scandal concerning Noriko Sakai.

If you are unaware of the recent scandal, here is a brief synopsis: Husband of pop star/singer/actress Noriko Sakai is pulled aside by the police because he is walking funny. They search him and find a small amount of stimulant drugs in his underwear. The husband tells them that his wife uses drugs as well. Somehow this gives the police cause to search the home of Sakai herself (who lives separately from her husband) where they end up finding .008 grams of stimulants and are able to match her DNA to them. Noriko disappears amid a media frenzy. She finally turns herself in and confesses to taking the drugs on the advice of her husband. We also find out that her brother had recently been busted for drugs as well. While this story has calmed over the Obon holiday, the media circus and the Japanese attitudes towards drugs remains under scrutiny.

(For us at VAOJ, it might be interesting to note that Noriko Sakai starred in Hoshi no Kinka, a popular Japanese drama with a deaf protagonist.)

Here is an article from Japan Times that gives more background on the Sakai case and supposed drug use in Japan.

Sakai bust puts spotlight on narcotics evil:
Case of ex-antidrug poster girl points to stimulants' proliferation

Here's a video that's been going around a lot (I first saw it on Japan Probe). This video was produced by the Japanese Police and aired on Fuji Television during the Sakai frenzy.

For you Americans out there, does this bring back flashbacks of Reefer Madness and after-school specials? How effective is this video do you think in drug education and preventing young people from taking drugs?

Along with such posters and videos, we often see commercials on Japanese TV for "vitamin supplements" for old people that are supposed to give them more energy and allow them to live better lives. My favorite commercial shows an old woman crawling up a stair case. But after she takes the "vitamins" she is shown running up and down the stairs. How do we know she didn't smoke some crack? Why are these supplements legal while other drugs like caffeine, alcohol (available in vending machines) and tobacco (the Japanese government owns 50% of the domestic industry) legal?

How does visual representation influence the use of both legal and illegal drugs?

1 comment:

Joe said...

That commercial was just as bad as the after school specials. But then again, the Japanese seem to be more trusting of what they see on TV anyway... Banana diet, anyone?