Japanese singer-songwriter ASKA is known best for his 1991 hit single with music duo CHAGE and ASKA, “Say Yes,” but his recent arrest over drug possession shows that he just can’t say no to meth.
ASKA, whose real name is Shigeaki Miyazaki, confessed to police that he had smoked stimulant drugs several times in his home. Police found several doses of methamphetamines and over 90 MDMA pills in a desk drawer in an office in ASKA’s home in Meguro. Police also seized a glass pipe with traces of stimulant drugs and MDMA on it and are investigating ASKA’s drug use at the home of an alleged lover, Kasumi Tochinai, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.
On May 17th, police also discovered several urine test kits that are said to be sold only to hospitals and police and are not commercially available. Police suspect that ASKA had kept the kits to prevent his drug use from being discovered. Obviously, he didn’t use the kits very well or was too high to remember that he had them in the first place.
Although news of ASKA’s arrest has exploded throughout the Japanese media, suspicion over whether ASKA was on drugs dates back to last August. Weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported that ASKA and CHAGE’s comeback concert was suddenly postponed because of his meth use–not because of he “suspected” that he had “transient cerebral ischemia,” which was the official reason he gave.
The magazine claimed that a member of a Yamaguchi-gumi affiliated gang in Hokkaido took a video of ASKA inhaling meth in his home and blackmailed him with the video for money. Incidentally, the gang member was the one who sold meth, cocaine, marijuana, and MDMA to ASKA, which goes to show that you should never trust your drug dealer.
Two months later, in an interview with Shukan Bunshun, ASKA stated, “I’ve never done stimulant drugs, because I’ve always been raised in a ‘germ-free condition 無菌状態’. Actually, I was using caffeine and sodium benzoate.”
ASKA also claimed that upon finding out that the guy who was allegedly dealing him drugs was a yakuza, he broke off ties with him.
However, the damage was already done. Shukan Bunshun’s article last August was enough to put ASKA under police suspicion.
While ASKA has finally said “yes” to allegations that he has been taking stimulant drugs, Japanese society “says no”—Universal Music Japan has not only cancelled its contract with the duo, but has also halted distribution of all music and video products. Walt Disney followed suit and pulled out a video that Hayao Miyazaki did in collaboration with CHAGE and ASKA out of a DVD set of Miyazaki’s works.
However, all the attention has brought some of his music back into the limelight, even if it’s in the form of a parody of the classic SAY YES.
These lyrics put a new spin on the original. It’s worth learning Japanese just to appreciate the cynical irony in this version of the song. 😀
Jake Adelstein contributed bad jokes about ASKA and the “Say Yes” references to this article, because he’s old enough to remember when SAY YES was a hit.