Yo, peep this, fam! According to a recent report from The Japan News, the region that’s all about that hemp cultivation in Japan is Tochigi Prefecture. It’s located north of Tokyo, you feel me? So check it, back in 1982, farmers in that area started growing this dope variety of hemp called Tochigishiro, and they still repping it till this day. But here’s the thing, son. The number of hemp farmers has straight up shrunk, man. At its peak, there were 6,000 growers in Tochigi Prefecture, but now there’s only 12 left.
And get this: most of these OG growers are in their 60s and 70s.
One of them homies is Yoshinori Omori. This dude is 44 years old and his family been growing hemp for centuries, bro. I’m talking about since the Edo period from 1603 to 1867. That’s some ancient knowledge right there. Now this dude got a four-hectare farm on lock (that’s like nine acres if you ain’t know), and that crib alone makes up over half of Japan’s remaining hemp production. The word on the street is that some of Omori’s crop even went into crafting a belt for this former Yokozuna sumo wrestler named Hakuhō Shō. That’s some next-level stuff right there.
But yo, here’s the problem.
Omori ain’t feeling too good about the decline in hemp growers. He straight up said, “If nothing is done, hemp farmers will disappear from Japan.” That’s some real talk right there, man. So my boy Omori trying to come up with new hemp products to make people excited about growing hemp again. He trying to broaden the use of hemp and make it attractive to the youngins out there. You know, like using hemp to make paper and construction materials. But wait, there’s more! In February, he even made some packaging materials out of hemp for this company in Osaka. Now that’s what I call innovation, bro.
Over in the Mie Prefecture, which is southwest of Nagoya, there’s this town called Meiwa that want to be the next big thing when it comes to hemp cultivation. They used to supply hemp to Ise Jingu shrine in the area, but ain’t no more hemp farmers left. So earlier this year, the Meiwa city council, Mie University, and some local farmers joined forces to start a hemp cultivation project. They planted that sticky icky on a 6,000-square-meter plot. That’s like 1.5 acres, yo.
Shingo Matsumoto, who’s an executive at this agricultural company called Iseasa, leading the way on this project. He said, “Hemp is the epitome of a Japanese tradition.” Man, they trying to bring that tradition back with the whole community supporting them. That’s some unity right there, fam.
But yo, Professor Hitoshi Nitta from Kogakkan University got something to say about all of this too. He straight up said that the government need to step up and preserve Japan’s long history with hemp. He think they should be spreading accurate knowledge about hemp to get rid of all that prejudice and misunderstanding. I feel you, Prof! Spread that knowledge!
Now here’s a little history lesson for you, my peeps. Back in the day, people would use the fibers of hemp stalks to make sacred ropes at Shinto shrines and belts for them Yokozuna sumo wrestlers. That’s some sacred stuff right there.
But listen up, my dudes. You gotta know that cannabis itself is illegal in Japan. They got a zero-tolerance policy for anything with THC, the stuff that gets you high. They got this law called the Cannabis Control Law, which been in effect since 1948. That’s a long-ass time, bro.
But check this out. In 2015, Japan’s former first lady, Akie Abe, said she wanna see the hemp industry in Japan blow up again. She wants that glory days back, man.
Now here’s the thing. The Hokkaido Industrial Hemp Association came out earlier this year and said that Japan’s cannabis laws are straight up unreasonable. They think the government should be more like other countries and allow medical cannabis. And guess what? The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare started talking about medical cannabis too. They think it could help people with epilepsy. That’s some progress right there, fam.
Last year, this Hash Marijuana & Hemp Museum in Barcelona had an exhibit all about Japan and cannabis. It was called “Cannabis Japonica,” and it showed how Japan got them cultural ties to cannabis. They even had this story about ninjas growing hemp and jumping over it every day to train. They serious about that ninja life, man.
So here’s the deal. More Asian countries are getting on that cannabis legalization train, and now Japan officials thinking about it too. Time magazine said they might start talking about changing the cannabis laws in October during the next parliamentary session. We’ll see what happens, my peeps.
For now, though, selling or possessing cannabis is a no-go in Japan. You could end up with seven years behind bars if you get caught. But listen closely: technically, it’s still legal to smoke that green if it ain’t yours. So if you at a party and someone passing around a joint, you can hit it as long as you ain’t claiming ownership. Can’t hate on that loophole right there.
So there you have it, fam. Japanese hemp cultivators out there hustling to bring that hemp industry back to life. Let’s hope they can make it happen and spread that love for hemp all over Japan. Peace out!