Japanese celebrities not immune to attraction of illegal drugs
Last in a two-part series
TOKYO — Erika Sawajiri was just one of a number of high-profile Japanese celebrities over the years who fell into trouble with the law for drug use and made news headlines in Japan.
Famed actor Shintaro Katsu, who played Zato-Ichi, the blind samurai, in a long series of hit films, was arrested three times — in 1978, 1990 and 1992 — over use of drugs including marijuana, opium and cocaine, derailing the latter part of his long, distinguished career.
Retired baseball star Yutaka Enatsu was arrested in 1993 for serious narcotics violations. The police raided his apartment in Meguro, Tokyo and discovered 16 hypodermic needles and several milligrams of a certain type of methamphetamine. Also arrested was Enatsu’s girlfriend at the time. Police determined that Enatsu had received his drugs from a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest criminal organization. He was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months in a prison in Shizuoka.