Friday, April 24, 2009

SMAP Star Arrested for Public Indecency

The Japan Times reports that Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, member of the long-time J-pop group SMAP, was arrested by police after being found naked and drunk in Hinokicho Park around 3:00 am. The park is close by the 34-year-old’s Roppongi apartment in the la-dee-dah Tokyo Midtown complex. Beforehand he’d been drinking with two friends in Akasaka. He apparently was so inebriated that he at first could not understand what was wrong with being naked in the park, and then couldn’t articulate how he came to be naked in the park.

Kusanagi is a staple of Japanese television advertising and now Procter & Gamble, Toyota and others have stopped ads where he appears. He had also been the spokesperson for the government’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry for the promotion of Japan’s conversion to terrestrial digital broadcasting. This campaign has now been cancelled.

I guess it’s understandable that such outrage would occur around a public figure. But back in the day when I lived in Tokyo I was amazed at the lackadaisical approach to public drunkenness. It was a common sight to run into extremely drunk salarymen carrying on in the trains or on the street, often vomiting or passing out, and I--the foreigner--seemed to be the only one gaping at them. And this in a country where alcohol is sold in vending machines.

But I guess being naked in public is going too far. And I have to say that these drunken salarymen did keep their clothes on.

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