Japan has a historical connection with cannabis, much like many other cultures in the world. Cannabis has been cultivated for at least 10,000 years, perhaps from the early Jomon era. In fact cannabis plays a key role in the Japanese Shinto rituals, as a metaphor at times, and as an actual object to worship in others. In the animistic religion of Shinto, cannabis appears in shapes of gods as well. Cannabis has been used to make Kimono’s to rope, and perhaps was used widely in shamanistic events.Read more
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Vice travels to Nagano to interview key players in Japan’s legalize Cannabis movement. They talk to us about their cause, their experiences with the law, how cannabis has helped some of them overcome serious illness, and the possibility for changing Japan’s harsh drug policies. We also pay a visit to the Hemp Museum in Miasa Mura to learn more about Japan’s historic and forgotten relationship to the forbidden plant.
BY: SHIRASAKA KAZUHIKO & SHIGERU ASO
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,
WE ARE AN ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO THE LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS IN JAPAN. WE WOULD DEEPLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOUR POLITICAL PARTY WOULD ANSWER OUR QUESTIONNAIRE BEFORE THE ELECTIONS FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REGARDING THE CANNABIS CONTROL ACT AND THE FUTURE DRUG POLICIES OF JAPAN. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THE RESULTS WOULD BE POSTED ON OUR WEBSITE.Read more
by SHIGERU ASO
three fields of cannabis
eight or nine children
The above poem was written by Japan’s world famous HAIKU poet, SHIKI MASAOKA in the late 1800′s. This poem was written about SHIKI’s ideal life, which consists of the above mentioned ideas. He wished to have cannabis fields, for he loved them. He wished for five houses to live in, and finallly 8 or 9children. This is not his only poem regarding cannabis.Read more
by Shigeru Aso
The ancient Shinto manuscript, KOJIKI, is the first book ever written in Japan. It describes the colorful world of animism, our belief system in Japan that there are spirits and gods in everything and anything in the land of the rising sun. We refer to this as YAOYOROZUNOKAMI, which lierally means 8 million gods, that we have praised and worshipped throughout history. This includes the god of cannabis, the god of wind, thunder, etc. We basically have gods and goddesses for everything, and that is embodied into the deep psyche and spirituality of the Japanese people and culture.
In this book, KOJIKI, there is a chapter called IWATOBIRAKI. This means the opening of the stone. In our mythology, AMATERASUOOMIKAMI, the sungodess hides behind a stone, and the world is covered in darkness and gloom. The other gods are freaked out by this, so they gather around the stone and they throw a big party to call the sungoddess back into the world to enlighten the land. In the end of this story, AMATERASUOOMIKAMI hears the noise of the party and gets curious as to what’s going on, and while she opens the stone and peaks through the cracks, a Japanese powerful giant pulls AMATERASUOOMIKAMI out from behind the stone. Then the land was full of sunshine once again.Read more
by Shigeru Aso
Growing up in Japan, I never had a problem obtaining good weed. Hashish and dried cannabis are both prevelent in Japan. It grows wildly there too, believe it or not. The self defense force spends a lot of money every year erradicating this wild cannabis, burning something like a million plants a year. What a waste of money and even bigger waste of good commercial weed.
I first smoked weed when I was 14 at an International School in a decent size city in Japan. I had a son of a movie star as a roommate, and he was spoiled rotten. He introduced me to weed for the first time. He got the stuff from his mom, who was some sort of talent agent. These type of people are well known to have weed in Japan. We used to smoke out together and listen to music, giggle all night, just like any other pothead does so.
On July 17th, 2011, a prominent doctor from Kyoto University Hospital was arrested in the Tokushima prefecture, for allegedly possessing 0.15g of cannabis during a police confrontation – the doctor went up a one way street and was questioned and searched, and they found a total of 0.15g(!) of cannabis from his dashboard and pocket.
How much is 0.15g of cannabis? Is it even enough to roll a joint? Perhaps a pinner, or maybe one good bong hit – but that’s about it. Apparently, the doctor was partying on his way to Tokushima on family vacation. The sad truth is that now he faces up to five years of Japanese prison, which is known as severely disciplined and extremely strict. Naturally he has lost his job – and even more. His name being all over the newspapers and TV, his family was disgraced as well, and one could only imagine the hardships he faces ahead.
by Shigeru Aso
Due to it’s strict laws against cannabis in general, the Japanese pot scene is deeply underground. However, it is estimated that over one million Japanese have tried cannabis in one form or another. This is due to excessive traveling done by the Japanese throughout the world, experiencing cannabis for the first time and bringing home the practice of smoking weed. The huge reggae and hip-hop scene in Japan contributes greatly to this culture as well.