Some of the more civilized comments against the tabloid Friday include “Die” and “Do you feed your families with the money you squeeze out of people’s souls?”
■ Against the odds
Japanese actor Hiroki Narimiya was raised by a single mother until the age of 14 when she passed away, leaving him and his younger brother parentless. So he dropped out of high school and began working various part time jobs to pay for his sibling’s education while raising him like a parent. During this time he heard news about an acting audition, and thinking that this would be a good way to continue supporting his brother, Nariyama focused his efforts on that.
Eventually beating the odds, Narimiya made his way into show business starting with theater roles and then entering film and television. He has starred in several manga adaptations including Gokuzen, Nana, and Akihabara@Deep as well as the film adaptation of the video game Ace Attorney directed by Takashi Miike. Recently he has also taken a leading role the cast of the popular crime drama Aibo.
■ Allegations & Audio
Life was going pretty well for Hiroki Narimiya until the 2 December issue of major tabloid Friday hit the stands. The headline draped along the front page accused the star of doing cocaine during a late night gathering at his home in Tokyo. The article was accompanied by a picture of Narimiya sitting on a couch with another man in front of a table littered with various hard-to-distinguish items.
☻ (@MYuukaww) December 02, 2016
Fans flocked to Twitter in disbelief with some coming to Narimiya’s defense by pointing out the similarities between the items on his table with various kinds of popular candies.
成宮寛貴さんのコカイン疑惑 私的にはねるねるねるね説より たのしいケーキやさん説が濃厚。 器完全一致。バニラ味の袋確認。水も確認。さらに成宮さんわかりづらいですがスプーン持ってる。 なのでこれは成宮くんがただ男友達とたのしいケーキ… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
さ や み や ♡ (@sayamicyun) December 03, 2016
Narimiya himself and his management both vehemently denied the accusations and vowed legal action against Friday. Narimiya also immediately submitted himself to a drug test which came back negative.
However, Friday fought back saying that they also had an audio file containing the actor’s voice asking for cocaine.
▼ Friday tweeted a link to the transcript where Narimiya
allegedly asked for “Charlie,” referring to “cocaine.”
【デジタル版】本日公開の記事はこちら 写真アリ 成宮寛貴「コカイン要求」生々しい肉声データ friday.kodansha.ne.jp/archives/92649/—
FRIDAY_kodansha (@FRIDAY_twit) December 09, 2016
Shortly after, Narimiya shocked Japan by issuing a message announcing his retirement from the entertainment business.
In his statement, he continued to deny using drugs and said that the incident was the result of him being betrayed by people he thought of as friends. In addition to denying other rumors regarding his sexual preferences, he also said that he didn’t want to have to live under the scrutiny of the media and would rather have his privacy than continue as an actor.
■ Blacklist Friday
Once Friday proudly tweeted about their smoking-gun audio evidence against Narimiya, hundreds of replies poured in condemning the tabloid for their report.
“Motherfucker! This is your fault!”
“You really are pieces of shit.”
“Let’s run this magazine out of business.”
“You will never be forgiven for the rest of your lives.”
“What is fun about ruining someone’s life?”
“Please stop printing. Your shitty magazine is out of line.”
“Hey shithead Friday. Fuck you for what you did to Narimiya.”
“Did you make a lot of money? You just write trash on baseless rumors.”
“We won’t forget this. Just end this magazine now.”
“Perhaps you should compensate Narimiya for the decades of lost income you caused?”
“You’re the only ones who come out looking bad in this scandal motherfuckers.”
“Do you enjoy ending careers?”
“Do you feed you families with the money you squeeze out of people’s souls?”
“Even for a rumor, that was too vicious.”
There’s more but you get the idea. It would seem that, for the most part, people in Japan felt the greater evil is easy to see when weighing the sins of casual drug use against publicly shaming someone for said drug use and ending their career.
Even our own Mr. Sato decided to put pressure on Friday for their unnecessary attack against Narimiya. Sure. he used an actual vice to do it, but his heart was in the right place.
■ Into the sunset
I opened this article talking about Hiroki Narimiya’s troubled youth, not to generate sympathy for him, but more to point out that he isn’t some pampered movie star that we are sometimes quick to judge actors as. He’s probably developed a thick skin over the hard years growing up and I doubt he is hiding under a blanket because of some gossip.
I suspect he made a rational decision to simply bow out of the game rather than get dragged down in the dirt by some tabloid. It just isn’t worth it anymore and given the tragic way some other celebrities have ended their careers, Narimiya’s choice seems all too practical.
Considering his string of successful films, TV shows, and modeling work, he is probably financially secure, and he also has connections in the fashion industry where he can continue to work behind the scenes.
So at least we can assume that Narimiya is going to come out of this all right, but the other reason I wrote about his youth is for posterity because in honor of his wish for privacy I won’t write about him ever again.