Troubles continue for franchise as model is arrested in his home less than eight hours after initial questioning.

Pretty much every successful reality TV program owes its popularity to its ability to amp up the version of reality it presents to the audience. Snipping a character’s dialogue in the middle of their mid-thought musings, cutting away from a mild disagreement without showing its immediate amicable resolution, and other editing and packaging techniques can turn what are supposed to be unscripted human interaction into a carefully curated course to interpersonal drama, at least in viewers’ eyes.

Unfortunately for Terrace House, though, the most scandalous developments related to the popular Japanese reality TV franchise are occurring outside of its episodes, and are all too real. In May, Terrace House: Tokyo 2019–2020 cast member Hana Kimura committed suicide following a wave of cyberbullying, and last month one of her co-stars claimed that an assistant director suggested he touch her breasts on-camera to create a more sexually charged atmosphere.

Now another Terrace House alumnus is at the center of a scandal. Shion Okamoto, also known as “Sean Okamoto,” was a member of Terrace House: Opening New Doors, the precursor to Terrace House: Tokyo 2019–2020 which ran from December 2017 to February 2019. Okamoto, a relatively unknown model before joining the cast, appeared in the first 21 of Opening New Doors’ 49 episodes, and parlayed his time in the spotlight into building a social media fanbase and expanding his modeling work.

▼ Shion Okamoto

Last Saturday, at about 2 in the morning, the 25-year-old Okamoto was stopped by police on the streets of Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward for shokumu shitsumon. Shokumu shitsumon literally translates to “questioning about employment,” and refers to Japanese police officers stopping a person on the street to ask who they are and what they’re doing in the area. It’s not an uncommon practice, especially in parts of the city with a lot of bars, clubs, or any sort of mildly sleazy reputation, and even our reporters get stopped from time to time, since our offices are in one of Tokyo’s nightlife centers.

Somehow, during the conversation with Okamoto, the officers became aware of the fact that he had a container filled with cannabis liquid. With Japanese law providing no allowance for recreational or even medicinal use of the substance, Tokyo Metropolitan Police investigators then searched Okamoto’s apartment in the city’s Setagaya Ward, where they found what is being reported as “a small amount” of dried cannabis.

Okamoto was then arrested in his home, roughly seven hours after being stopped by the police in Shibuya, on charges of violating cannabis control regulations. Okamoto has admitted to the charges, saying “I had it for personal use.”

Given the Japanese entertainment industry’s vigor in doing all it can to distance itself from any sort of drug-related crime, there’s a chance that Terrace House episodes in which Okamoto appeared will become unavailable, especially with the franchise already trying to keep a low profile after cancelling the remainder of Tokyo 2019–2020 following Kimura’s death. Moreover, the fact that Okamoto went from free of suspicion to formally arrested for drug charges in less time than it takes to get a good night’s sleep is a reminder that regardless of your stance on Japan’s attitude about marijuana use, you’ll want to be very careful regarding what you have on your person or in your hotel/home in Japan.

Source: Tokyo Sports Web via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin, Yomiuri Shimbun
Top image: Pakutaso
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