Japanese drug culture and music question

 
    • Mesila schrieb...
    • Benutzer
    • 28. Sep. 2008, 6:16

    Japanese drug culture and music question

    I live in the United States. As everyone can see unless they've been living in a cave with no computer for the past decade, there's a huge fascination over here with everything Japanese: manga, anime, j-pop, they're virtually inescapable on the internet and on magazine racks and at bookstores and comic conventions. It becomes even more interesting when one reads that apparently, the kids in Japan have a fascination with things American/Western, "gaijin".

    When I discovered the j-psych music (I don't think it gets called that, does it?) I got even more interested. I remember finding out that there's a loophole in Japanese drug laws that allows for psilocybin mushrooms to be sold openly as long as they're not labeled to indicate they are being sold as hallucinogens. The reports in 2006 are that this has not yet changed. That was 2 years ago at this time. Does anybody know what the current status is?

    I am impressed with the "j-psych" music I've heard. Last month, I caught a show here in San Francisco by a Japanese band called Boris that had me quite impressed. I am 43 years old and don't have much of the tolerance for crowded clubs that I had while younger, and my gauge for good music is my feeling so into what the band is doing that the crowds don't bother me. The noise was great, having a dark sound like what USED to get called Heavy Metal back in 1971 not what passes for that genre nowadays, it was kinda shoegazer-ish but I could trip to Boris, it didn't feel like "heroin music" to me (maybe it was just the mood I was in, but that was my impression.)

    I am writing a story for a manga that involves two people who become acquainted through events arising from the doings of xenodimensionals (essentially gods, angels, demons, whatever you'd call them, I believe the Japanese word is 'gami', but that's used as a combining word.) My characters are intelligent misfits. At least one of them, my American, is a drug user. In order to write this properly, though, I want to understand what the Japanese attitude towards drug use tends to be--both on the surface and underneath in subcultures. I would imagine there ARE illegal drugs there - the Yakuza have to have something to do, after all - but what drugs get used and in what contexts? Are there parties of any sort associated with such things? What sorts of venues would bands like Boris play in Tokyo? I read in a news story that if you bring drugs into Japan and are caught with them you'll be sent out of the country and never allowed back, which is far better than Singapore where they hang you or probably even better than the US - depending on what and how much got brought in, of course.

    But that's not the information that will help me write this. Anyone got any stories or information about this? And I'd like good "j-psyche" recommendations. I tend to like both sixties/seventies psych-rock and also am crazy about industrial. I am the sort of person who can have a playlist where Iron Butterfly is followed by a track by SPK or Throbbing Gristle or Einsturzende Neubauten. It confuses people but it's two sides of the psychedelic experience for me...

    Thanks in advance,
    Mesila

    ~ Dominate The Subversive Paradigm! ~
  • Right off the bat, I can tell you that you need to hear Taj Mahal Travellers and Les Rallizes Dénudés.

    Nothing's gonna happen
    • Satzbau schrieb...
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    • 25. Nov. 2009, 1:00
    I'd add High Rise, White Heaven and Angel'in Heavy Syrup to those. And on Boris - one of my favourite bands, they're amazing.

  • Boris in Japan

    Boris don't play the very big clubs here. They are famous only outside Japan. Here they play to 15 people maybe. Maybe those people don't like drummer's earpeace mic. They did an event "Fans Anal Satan" before which had more people come to see Incapacitants, etc.

    • MAJhnsn schrieb...
    • Benutzer
    • 24. Dez. 2009, 19:58

    weed in japan

    i know Paul McCartney got caught in japan with like an once or more of trees back in the 1970s and that was a really bad experience even though he's an effin beatle and everyone knows what he was up to......

    there's a pretty sweet j rock band called smorgas that played American inspired shonen-ish rap metal (not as gay as fred durst, more like a cool Japanese RATM). They had to break up because the singer got caught with a very very small amount of trees and got his ass thrown in jail! BUMMER but at least the guy stood up for his beliefs and lifestyle choice. They could just reform in america tho and get all the trees they want! Country's goin green baby!

    And did not know about the mushroom loophole! wow.

    That would explain fooly cooly.

    Smorgas

  • Drugs in Japan

    As you can actually see, actually most of Japanese "psych" musicians are pretty anti-drugs :p

    Yes, I'm on the same page with Tokyoimprov... Boris isn't really interesting, they're good, but they just don't seem to really impress me : )

    • ndeselms schrieb...
    • Benutzer
    • 13. Jan. 2010, 3:33
    I'm pretty curious about this too. I'm listening to a Japanese band "Acid Mothers Temple" right now, so that band isn't exactly subtle about what they're into. My understanding is that the harsh laws concerning marijuana keep it fairly unpopular in Japan, but psychedelics aren't harshly punished and therefore more popular, which as someone mentioned, would explain trippy Japanese stuff like FLCL and Katamari Damacy.

  • Acid mothers temple isn't because they do acid, it's named after the band Ash Ra Tempel

    Kawabata Makoto (from AMT) has tried but doesn't do drugs anymore, since he thinks they're useless.

    here's a good quote concerning this topic

    "While psychedelic music in the West was initially defined through association with drugs and altered states of consciousness things are a little different in Japan. Many Japanese musicians producing psychedelic music aim to produce music that will have a profound effect on the listener but they view the music in itself as being powerful enough to achieve this. Some of the most prominent of the musicians are resolutely anti-drugs - Kosugi Takehisa, Haino Keiji, Nanjo Asahito - are all on record with their anti-drug views. For the majority at least it is not an issue that comes up when discussing their music While a few groups make explicit reference to drug culture in their songs or publicity in many cases this seems a calculated image. High Rise is a classic case in point with the band's original title and lyrics chosen as an anti-drugs statement: "The concept was to save the junkies...(the lyrics to our early albums) just say that if you want to take drugs, you're going to have to be prepared to die." (Nanjo Asahito, Opprobrium Issue 3, November 1996). Given the stringent anti-drug laws in Japan and harsh penalties meted out to offenders these attitudes are hardly surprising."

    also, You can be creative and make "trippy" games and animation without drugs :p

  • Mushrooms have been illegal in Japan since late 2006 or early 2007. Head shops used to sell them, but obviously don't carry them anymore. As far as I know they are pretty difficult to obtain now. However, if you go to Tokyo and hit up some of the more prominent clubs in roppongi (though it is a tourist trap) you won't have too much trouble locating MDMA, though LSD could be a bit more of an issue.

    • ndeselms schrieb...
    • Benutzer
    • 13. Okt. 2010, 1:07
    Thanks for the infomation! It doesn't surprise me that many experimental japanese musicians are anti-drug, my favorite band, Boredoms, seem to operate on a totally natural high haha

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