The History of Cannabis in Japan

In this article, I would like to write to talk about the history of cannabis.

Although it has been a hot topic in Japan with actresses and actors being arrested, surprisingly few people can answer what cannabis is, its effects, and its history.

Marijuana may be associated with an underground image.

However, this is just a matter of government direction, and mass media are brainwashing it with the word "No-Zettai".

In reality, it has been used for over 2,000 years to familiarize itself with the Japanese and be used in the things around us.

So how did cannabis come to be banished when it was used for a variety of everyday items such as bell ropes for shrines and Geta nose-strings for clogs?

You can get arrested for just growing a mere plant.

Usually, we can determine that there must be something to it.

It's not about whether or not it has medical benefits, but rather, I hope that you will learn more about its history and how it interacts with the Japanese people in the first place, and deepen your wisdom.

Japan and Cannabis

Let me be the first to tell you.

Marijuana was not a drug, not only in Japan but throughout the world.

An artist named Shimizu Toshiyuki published painting in 1929 that depicts a large field of marijuana being grown and all the people in the village harvesting it.

Toshi Shimizu by "Taima Shukaku"

Since marijuana is a relatively tall plant, you can see how small the people look.
Until the end of the Pacific War, Japan grew cannabis as just a crop for 2,000 years, and it was nationwide.

But it also meant that it was harvested as a crop and not something that was used for recreational purposes like a party.

Also, because it has always been a familiar plant, cannabis still grows commonly in the mountains.

Cannabis is a relatively disease-free crop that is easy to grow.

It also proliferates and is well suited to the Japanese climate.

Therefore, in the old days, Japan's cannabis was routed from April to May, when it was grown in the fields and harvested in late July.

Once harvested, the cannabis is dried and processed into fiber and other products.

The fiber is solid, and the berries' nutrients are wealthy, making it an excellent crop.

The hemp seed is found in the seven-spice chili pepper, a condiment used in soba noodles and other dishes.

However, while hemp was used for fiber and food, it was never smoked in Japan.

We'll touch on the history of cannabis prohibition to see what this change is all about.

Cannabis and America

Initially, the movement to get rid of marijuana started in the United States.

America is a young country created by immigrants, which is also considered the reason for the weirdness and innovation.

At the founding of the country, it was declared that all men were equal, but this was a cause for independence from the class system of England, which did notinclude Indians and blacks.

In other words, it has been white supremacy from the time the country was founded.

There was also the slave trade, and many African descendants began to live in the United States.

The country is also connected to Mexico, which has a long history with the Mayan civilization and other ethnic groups, so there is a mix of races.

Cannabis was a vital fiber material in the early days of American independence.

Still, as cotton cultivation flourished with slave labor, cannabis as a fiber declined, and immigrants began to use it like tobacco or marijuana joint.

The drug tends to permeate a society that is either stressed or doesn't need to work much.

The use of marijuana by immigrants from the South may have something to do with this.

The Civil War in the late 19th century led to the Civil War, the birth of President Lincoln, and the abolition of slavery.

It was also at this time that advanced industries such as automobiles and oil began to develop rapidly.

Therefore, people of Latin American descent from Mexico and the Caribbean began to migrate to work to take advantage of this opportunity.

The majority of Hispanics live downtown and, coupled with a more lateral lifestyle, develop a marijuana taste.

Marijuana has many different names, which can be confusing. In general, industrial use is called hemp, and public medical and recreational use is called cannabis, and joints are often called marijuana.

The truth is that marijuana joints were popular in the first place because they were less addictive than nicotine, less expensive, and less violent than nicotine, so it was just a matter of using them.

Hispanics and Africans enjoyed marijuana, but whites were not in the habit of using marijuana at the time.

America is a predominantly white country, although it is much better.
This difference must have caused some frustration.

There is discrimination between the whites who immigrated and settled first and the subsequent immigrants.

Here, whites who didn't like it started an exclusionary campaign because they didn't like marijuana.

They didn't like the fact that immigrants were mocking marijuana downtown, and they were quite uncomfortable.

Now, I would like to touch on the Prohibition of alcohol, which led to the Prohibition of marijuana.

Prohibition, which existed from 1920 to 1933, banned the manufacture, sale, and alcohol movement.

Despite the Prohibition, people wanted it, and it was Al Capone and Kennedy, the first director of the SEC, who made much money here because people liked it.

As Europe developed, the early 17th century immigrants from England realized a shortage of materials, and they began to gain strength in the trade, exporting timber and other goods.

Men exploring unknown lands are, well, stressed out.

So they started drinking strong alcohol.

Much later, in 1826, the Prohibition Society was founded in Boston due to the growing trend in society that drinking too much alcohol was destructive to society.

However, beer and wine were allowed, and healthy alcoholic beverages such as whiskey were seen as a problem for people to become dependent on.

As the United States developed into a modern nation, cleanliness became a trend, and the foundation for Prohibition was laid.

Then, in 1851, the first Prohibition was passed in Maine.

Eventually, a rift began to develop between the Protestants who first settled in the state and the Catholics who later moved in.

Maine was a northern state with a large Protestant population.

They saw German Catholics, for whom the beer was famous, as drunkards, and they didn't like the fact that the Germans had a stranglehold on the beer industry.

At the same time, women's social power was growing, and the prohibition movement was gaining momentum.

In 1917, the Prohibition Act was passed by Parliament and came into force in 1920.

However, the system did not allow the total Prohibition of alcohol but allowed it to be consumed.

In other words, you could buy it from the black market.

Thus, gangs became more powerful.

This law would be repealed in just 13 years, leaving a scar on America.

This is because it has made people accustomed to laws that are somewhat OK to break.

Prohibition was repealed in the United States in 1933 and marijuana prohibition in 1937.

It's too close to call, so you can imagine that something was going on here.

Shortly after Prohibition was repealed, there was a massive surplus of agents who were cracking down on liquor trafficking and other things, which itself occurred.

So, officials who were looking for something to prohibit would find marijuana as a target.

Thus, as a target for unemployment, it is very likely that marijuana was demonized.

Prohibition demonized German descent, but the reason behind the Prohibition of marijuana was meant to be a backlash against Hispanics.

Before and after they decided to crack down on marijuana, there was little scientific evidence that marijuana was harmful to you in the first place.

When you advance a measure, it doesn't matter if it's right or not.

It's determined by how things in power advance.

Newspapers and movies were well developed in America at the time, so they used those mediums to the campaign that marijuana was damaging to the body.

By depicting scenes of young white men becoming violent with marijuana, they could brainwash the masses, who could not think.

This is a technique that is also used in today's advertising, so you can imagine what it's like.

There are many Japanese who think that smoking marijuana makes their face slender and violent.

I'm sure you've never seen a fight break out over smoking marijuana in real life.

President Roosevelt signed the Marijuana Taxation Act, which clamped down on marijuana, which meant that people would have to pay exorbitant taxes to use it.

So, it was a taxing law on the surface, but the tax was so ridiculously high that it was effectively a prohibition state.

In other words, no evidence using marijuana would cause any significant harm, so they had to settle for a form of taxation.

There is also a theory that the oil industry was biting the back of cannabis prohibition.

This was around the time when synthetic fibers could be made practical, so the fast-growing, sturdy cannabis fiber was treated as a hindrance by an industry that could only sell oil.

It was around this time that DuPont invented nylon.

Japan's Defeat of the War and the Cannabis Control Act

And so, once banned, marijuana grew up and made its way to Japan after the war.

The Marijuana Taxation Act was passed in 1937, but it would land in Japan about ten years later.

After the war, Japan was occupied by the United States, and the country was commanded by the GHQ (General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers).


When the Potsdam Declaration came out, marijuana was officially recognized by the United States as a drug.

However, the plant, which has been used since the Jomon Era, was banned.

The Japanese of the time must have been surprised.

Shuzo Hayashi, who worked for the cabinet, wrote about the days before and after the marijuana law was passed:

"To be honest, it was bizarre to me. I used to laugh that it was some kind of mistake that it was a joke."

This document appears in the "Laws of the Time" under the title "Marijuana Control Law and Law Consolidation."

In other words, it is a text that clearly shows how the Japanese felt about marijuana at the time.

It is natural to think that there was some mistake since the Japanese did not habitually smoke marijuana. Still, it was self-certified as a drug because the African military prefers it.

There is no purpose or scientific basis for the Cannabis Control Act passed through Congress because it is an American law.

It is just a law that was created because it was said to be so.

However, since it was first passed, it has been amended several times by the Japanese.

In 1953, the definition of cannabis was changed to cannabis grass and its products, the seeds were removed, and in 1990, the cultivation, import, export, transfer, and possession of cannabis were made illegal.

We are talking about cannabis itself.

Let's talk about cannabis itself for a moment, shall we?

Cannabis can be divided into three main types, which are Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis.

I think it's safe to say that the one with the most cannabinoids, which is a compound, was used for taste, and the one with the least was used for industrial purposes, such as textiles.

Most of the cannabinoids that are involved in the mental and medical aspects are THC and CBD.

THC has psychoactive properties, and CBD does not.

THC is also known as tetrahydrocannabinol, and CBD is also known as cannabidiol.

Therefore, the cannabis strains that grew wild or were cultivated in Japan were low in cannabinoids.

In other words, it's not that cannabis has psychoactive properties. It's that cannabis strains with high levels of THC that have psychoactive properties.

The bilious decision that cannabis is no right and should be banned is probably the same as being told in some countries that all Japanese are forbidden from entering the country because of the criminals.

It is conclusive that cannabis has been used as a fiber, as large hemp plants have been found in ancient tombs dating back to 1100 BC.

There is no documentation of cannabis being used in a drug-like manner.
There are things like opium, but cannabis is historical, not really.

And again, the same is true of Japan.

It's so familiar and sacred that the Ofuda given out at Ise Shrine is called Jingu-Taima.

Also, many place names in Japan contain the kanji for hemp.

This is proof that hemp was a production area or had a processing industry.

So far, you already know that cannabis was started to be banned in the U.S. mainstream, but since it didn't have an overwhelmingly negative effect on creating violence or dependence.

There were no studies, we'll switch to the argument that cannabis itself isn't so bad, but it can be an introductory agent for young people to go to another drug.

When incorporated into one's lifestyle, it can become a psychological dependency, but that's the extent of the dependency noted in cannabis.

If someone can't sleep without a stuffed animal next to them every day, it's not much different from if that stuffed animal is dependent.

Now, then, what happens when you compare the dependency of the things you see daily?

The most robust dependency is heroin and cocaine, followed by alcohol and hallucinogens, then tobacco and marijuana.

This means that marijuana is less addictive than other substances.

For example, in a study of ingredients by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, nicotine had a dependency rating of 6, alcohol 3, and cannabis 1.

Currently, the global trend is to legalize marijuana.

Canada has fully legalized it; many states in the United States have legalized it if you include medical use, and many areas in Europe have decriminalized it.


I hope this article has given you an idea of what cannabis is, how it has interacted with the Japanese, what the law says it is not allowed to do, etc.

Cannabis research is far from advanced, partly because it's banned with little scientific evidence.

You should have a basic knowledge of cannabis, so I hope you can make some decisions for yourself based on the knowledge you've gained.

The cultivation, transfer, and possession of marijuana are illegal in Japan.

I am not advocating or aiding and abetting any criminal activity, so please don't get me wrong.

I don't know if marijuana will be legalized in Japan, but I think it's somewhat unreasonable to have a law that bans plants that grow on their own.