Twitter comes to the aid of Hiroki Narimiya days after a tabloid accuses him of drug use.

On 2 December, tabloid newspaper Friday released a shocking expose that actor and model Hiroki Narimiya was caught inhaling cocaine at his Tokyo apartment. Friday quoted a source who said they saw Narimiya sitting in his home listening to electronic music at a loud volume and watching amorphous shapes on YouTube while laughing hysterically. The source then claims to have seen Narimiya pick up a pile of powder with his hands and inhale it.

Word of the star’s drug use sent shockwaves through fans who know well his tragic story of dropping out of school to support his own brother’s education after their mother died. He then beat the odds to succeed in an acting career appearing in films such as the ninja hit Azumi in 2003 and staring as Phoenix Wright in the live-action adaptation of Ace Attorney.

For a man who seemed about as noble and diligent as they come, it would have become the scandal of the year if these accusations were true.

Narimiya’s management released a statement saying that the article was completely false and that they would pursue legal action against Friday’s publisher to the fullest extent. Narimiya himself also released a statement calling the Friday article “factless” swearing that, “I, Hiroki Narimiya, have never used drugs.”

Fans expressed their disbelief online:

“It would be quite a shock if it’s true.”
“This seems really suspicious, but if its true this could be the last big scandal of the year.”
“I was curious so I bought an issue of Friday for the first time from a convenience store. The picture is vague, and you can’t really tell what they are doing.”

At the center of Friday’s accusations is a photograph that they published showing Narimiya sitting in a room with another man. At first glance, the image does look suspicious with some of the familiar details of illicit activity: the closed drapes, and the table cluttered with paraphernalia that’s difficult to make out aside from a lighter and a glass.

Fans in disbelief scrutinized the photo looking for proof either confirming or disproving the accusations of drug use. Then one Twitter user thought they had figured it out.

Their tweet has since been deleted because it used an image of the Friday’s pages, but the caption mentioned that they had seen a similar scene before when their little sister ate a candy known as Neruneruneru (Gooey, Gooey, Gooey).

The Twitter user pointed out the small spoon and plastic tray visible in the photo used to mix the flavored powder and create the gooey candy. But most significant was the tall glass with only a tiny amount of water in it – just enough to activate a Neruneruneru.

The public breathed a collective sigh of relief at this development, but many weren’t completely sold on the theory.

“Narimiya eats Neruneruneru?”
“The plastic container looks a little different…but I hope he is just eating Neruneruneru.”
“Neruneruneru?! I love that stuff!”
“I’m going to buy some tomorrow.”

So it seemed that the case of the Ace Attorney star had been closed, and that his candy was not of the nose variety but of the gooey sugary kind. At least it seemed that way for a moment until another Twitter user blew it wide open with another shocking development: Narimiya was NOT eating Neruneruneru!

Pointing out several of the items on his table, a woman by the handle of Sayama demtermined that Narimiya was in fact…eating Tanoshii Keikiya-san (Fun Cake Shop) candy.

Now we can’t say with one hundred-percent certainty that Narimiya was simply enjoying some candy marketed towards little girls rather than doing drugs, but if I were on a jury I would probably say that he is innocent. And then I would call in Kracie, the company that makes the sweets, for questioning as to why their so-called “Fun Cake Shop” sells mainly ice cream.

▼ Jury members can do that, can’t they?

The dead giveaway is the plastic tray on Narimiya’s table. If you look closely, it looks identical to the one used in the Fun Cake Shop. People online remained open to possibilities, however, with many at least hoping that this was the case.

“Aww, Narimiya was just being the manager of the Fun Cake Shop!”
“I’m not sure which is stranger…cocaine or the Fun Cake Shop.”
“If that is Fun Cake Shop that Narimiya is doing, I wonder what the other guy in the room must be thinking.”
“I got a daughter who loves Narimiya, so I’m hoping for the Fun Cake Shop theory to be the one.”
“I don’t know…the container still looks a little different.”
“The more I think about it, I would be more wary of a 34-year-old guy making fun cake with his friends at 3 a.m. than someone snorting cocaine.”

In the end we really don’t know what was going on that night, but this certainly does smell like a case of a tabloid running wild with shoddy evidence and besmirching the name of an actor who from all accounts seems like an amazingly hard-working and down-to-earth guy.

As for the Fun Cake Shop, I never tried that, but I have made the Fun Sushi Shop candy with my daughter and let me tell you: It might as well be cocaine because that stuff is so delicious it’s freaking addictive!

Source: Friday, Sponichi Annex via Hachima Kiko (1, 2, 3)
Top image: YouTube/shiorigraffitti