Japan takes celebrity drug use very differently than some other countries.

Junnosuke Taguchi is one of the founding members of boy band KAT-TUN (the T in “KAT” stands for “Taguchi”), but like many handsome Japanese musicians, he’s branched out into acting work as well. For instance, he had a recurring role in the 2012 courtroom drama Legal High.

However, Taguchi’s real-life highs were of a less lawful sort. On May 22, Taguchi and his live-in girlfriend were found to be in possession of 2.2 grams of marijuana at their Tokyo condominium, and were subsequently arrested and taken into custody by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s Wangan Precinct for violation of Japan’s Cannabis Control Law.

▼ Junnosuke Taguchi, who was a member of KAT=TUN from 2006 to 2015.


Bail for the pair was set at three million yen (US$27,500) each, and on June 7 Taguchi was released from the Wangan Precinct detention center. Upon his release, Taguchi, dressed in a plain black suit, stepped out of the facility’s front door, where a crowd of reporters was waiting, and immediately addressed the media, following his statement by prostrating himself on the ground and pressing his forehead to the pavement for 19 seconds.

“I have no excuse for causing this incident and distressing everyone,” said the 33-year-old Taguchi, who told police he has been smoking marijuana for 10 years. “I apologize, from the bottom of my heart, to my fans who cheer for me every day, and to all the people involved with my career. I promise I will never again stain my hands with illegal drugs or criminal activity. For a period of time, I will be suspending my entertainment industry activities to thoroughly reform myself and make amends for my sins.”

Even if he wasn’t voluntarily taking himself out of the spotlight, it’s doubtful that Taguchi would have many job offers rolling in right now anyway. Both the Japan’s legal system and society consistently take a hard anti-drug stance, and celebrities caught with illegal substances not only find themselves on an unofficial blacklist until well after the scandal breaks, they often have their pre-existing works pulled from retail shelves, at least temporarily, and in the case of digital content (such as video game licenses or voice acting), can even have their work scrubbed and replaced by another actor whose reputation hasn’t been tainted by drug use.

“I will do all I can to live my life in a way by which I can regain your trust,” pledged Taguchi, before concluding his statement by once again saying “I am truly sorry.”

Released the same day was Taguchi’s girlfriend, former actress Rena Komine, whose roles include Asuka Midorikawa in Kamen Rider-The First (continuing the odd connection between the tokusatsu special effects franchise and real-world crime). In contrast to Taguchi’s dramatic public apology, Komine left quietly through a back exit where she entered a car and was driven away without speaking to reporters.

Sources: NHK News Web via Hachima Kiko, Japan Times/Kyodo
Top image: Pakutaso
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