DEC. 5, 2014 - THE SECRET HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN JAPAN
“Most Japanese people
see cannabis as a subculture of Japan but they’re wrong. For
thousands of years cannabis has been at the very heart of Japanese
culture,” explains Takayasu Junichi, one of the country’s leading
According to Takayasu,
the earliest traces of cannabis in Japan are seeds and woven fibers
discovered in the west of the country dating back to the Jomon Period
(10,000 BC - 300 BC). Archaeologists suggest that cannabis fibers
were used for clothes - as well as for bow strings and fishing lines.
These plants were likely cannabis sativa - prized for its strong
fibers - a thesis supported by a Japanese prehistoric cave painting
which appears to show a tall spindly plant with cannabis’s
“Cannabis was the most
important substance for prehistoric people in Japan. But today many
Japanese people have a very negative image of the plant,” says
In order to put Japanese
people back in touch with their cannabis roots, in 2001 Takayasu
founded Taima Hakubutsukan (The Cannabis Museum) - the only
museum in Japan dedicated to the much-maligned weed.
The museum is located in
a log cabin 100 miles from Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture - an area
long-associated with Japanese cannabis farming.