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Having grown up in Los Angeles, where celebrity drunk driving arrests are only slightly less common than rainy days, I’m generally not shocked when I hear about an entertainer being in trouble with the law. Things are very different in Japan, though, and whether it’s because those in the public eye are better behaved, more skilful at covering their tracks, or have a cozier relationship with the mass media, stories about major transgressions by performing artists are few and far between.

So when pop musician Aska was recently arrested, it sent shock waves through the country. Of course, if you’re not a fan of Japanese pop music from two decades ago, you probably think the 56-year-old singers legal problems are none of your own.

That’s not the case, though, if you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli anime.

Last month, fans of Hayao Miyazaki were thrilled at the announcement of a Blu-ray/DVD box set containing nearly every theatrical feature directed by the now-retired legend (Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, the first film Miyazaki ever directed, was the sole title missing).

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Not only would this be fans’ first chance to get their hands on the famed filmmaker’s swansong, The Wind Rises, the Hayao Miyazaki Directorial Collection was set to include the animated music video for the song “On Your Mark,” which Miyazaki directed in 1995.

“On Your Mark” was famous not just for its Studio Ghibli-animated visuals, though, but for the sound of the song itself, performed by duo Chage and Aska. The two Fukuoka-born musicians had a string of hits throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, with Aska’s star in particular shining brightly enough for him to embark on a solo career as well.OM 1

In recent months, though, Aska has been dogged by rumors of drug abuse, which came to a head with his arrest last weekend on suspicions of drug possession. While he has denied the charges, police report that a urine sample taken from the singer tested positive for illegal stimulants.

In the wake of the controversy, the decision has been made to remove the “On Your Mark” video from the upcoming box set of Miyazaki’s films, a change that will push the collection’s release date back from its originally scheduled June 18 to July 2. No mention has been made of what effect, if any, the removal will have on the set’s price. In addition, shipments of the Ghibli Ippai Special Short Short DVD, which also contained the music video, have been halted as of May 20.

As is the norm when scandals occur in Japan, we can expect a round of formal apologies to be coming from all involved parties. Aska’s fans, musical collaborators, and investors are sure to be expecting one, and now we can add anime fans to the list of those waiting to hear “I’m sorry.”

Sources: Jin, The Japan Times
Top image: Pinger
Insert images: Amazon Japan, Kanjisub