Photo/IllutrationMasanori Taki, stage name Pierre Taki, is seen in a car leaving the Narcotics Control Department of the Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Bureau under the health ministry in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward before dawn on March 13 after being arrested. (Naoko Kawamura)

Musician and actor Masanori Taki, better known by his stage name of Pierre Taki, was arrested on March 12 on suspicion of cocaine use in violation of the Narcotics Control Law.

Taki's is the latest case of drug abuse by showbiz personalities, and I am royally fed up.

That said, however, I believe it is overkill to pull all the works he has appeared in.

Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) has removed six dramas from its digital on-demand service, including the popular serial drama "Amachan," in which Taki played a memorable sushi bar owner-chef of a few words.

A movie that has already finished filming will be reshot with another actor in Taki's role.

Whenever an actor's name emerges in a scandal, it appears to have become customary to simply pull any work in which the actor appeared.

I am reminded of Ango Sakaguchi (1906-1955), an author of the post-World War II "Burai-ha" (Decadent school).

A stimulant addict, Sakaguchi shot methamphetamine, but noted in his publication, "Ango Kodan" (Ango gossip), that he preferred the drug in tablet form. He also admitted that using the upper while he worked kept him keyed up, and he had to guzzle alcohol or take sleeping pills before going to bed.

Methamphetamine was a legitimate drug back then. But even though it is a banned substance today, this fact is hardly likely to make anyone call for shelving Sakaguchi's works.

Regardless of his private life, his "Daraku-ron" (Discourse on Decadence) is deeply thought-provoking, and his novel "Kazehakase" is delightfully funny.

The danger of banned substances and the evil of drug-related crimes can never be overstressed.

But I believe in making a clear distinction between the arrested individual and the value of the work done by that individual.

It is for viewers to decide if they want to keep watching dramas and films in which Taki appeared, not NHK and movie companies.

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 15

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.