Opium in Japan

Opium in Japan
See also:
Alcohol,
Nicotine (Tobacco),
“Speed”,
Caffeine (Coffee),
Marijuana,
TV.
Consumers Union Report (see chapters 36-40)
OGD report 1997/98 on Japan
Hemp as a “drug”
Drug risks: How dangerous are the most common drugs?
Opium in China
Opium was long used medically in the Middle East, India and China.
Opium was introduced into Japan along with Chinese herbal medicine.
Since the 1400s it was used there as a pain killer and there were
no legal restrictions on its cultivation, possession or use.
In China non-medical use of opium became popular from around the
middle of the 17th century. Opium was mixed with tobacco and smoked
in pipes, often in so called opium dens. Addicts would get so
attached to the drug that they would rather go without food than
the drug, if they didn’t have money for both. In some parts of
Southern China and amongst overseas Chinese in South East Asia
more than one tenth of the population were habitual opium users,
make the addiction almost as common as tobacco addiction is today.
Non-medical use of opium was banned in China in 1729.
Tobacco smoking spread from the Portuguese colony of Macaou.
In 1638 the Ming emperor also decreed any person trafficking in
tobacco to be decapitated but the decree proved ineffectual as smoking
spread within the court. A second prohibition was issued in 1641.
In 1796 opium is banned again and once more in 1800, at penalty
of death. Yet even executions had no great effect on the number
of users. Imports increased greatly in the following decades as
foreign trading houses seized on the opportunity by growing or
purchasing ample supplies in Bengal, British-India and
shipping the opium to Canton, South China. In 1839
troops of the Chinese emperor attacked British traders operating
near Canton and the 1st Opium War began, in which China was
defeated in 1843.
The problem for the Chinese emperor was not that some
of his subjects could not let go of a substance, but that this
enriched foreign “barbarians”, who had the power to dictate the
terms of the trade while the emperor was not allowed to put a
halt to the trade, as he had also tried (unsuccessfully) with tobacco.
China had to permit the importation of opium, and later it also
permitted its cultivation until a nationalist backlash stopped
it again in 1906. Until after World War II foreign powers enjoyed
privileged status in China.
As a direct response to China’s defeat and the “unequal
treaties” it was forced to sign, the Tokugawa shogunate banned
opium in 1846 and strictly enforced the law. It appears that
the prime motivation was a determination that Japan should
not follow in China’s footsteps. One did not want to repeat
China’s example.
“In the case of Japan and other Asian countries, peoples’
perception of the causes and consequences of the Opium War
is completely different from that of the western countries
for historical reasons. This is the reason why drug
control law violations are defined as a serious crime
punishable with very heavy penalties.”
Dr Tokuo Yoshida (Japan), Narcotics Control, World Health Organization Selling opium to the Chinese
A few years later the Tokugawa shogunate collapsed anyway
and the new Meiji emperor sought the future of the country
in emulating the West. When Formosa (Taiwan) came under
Japanese rule in 1895 the custom of smoking opium was
widespread there (169,000 smokers were estimated by the
colonial government in 1900) but Japan did not try to stamp out all
supplies of non-medical opium. Addicts could continue to buy
opium for smoking, while at the same time opium was strictly
controlled within Japan.
The
history of legislative control over opium, cocaine and their derivatives
After War War I Japan inherited German possessions in China and acquired
control of lands in Manchuria from Russia which had lost a war with Japan
in 1903. Opium smuggling
into China became a lucrative bussines for many Japanese
and the port of Kobe became a popular trans-shipment location for opium
from British-India bound for China. When supplies of British opium were
eventually cut off during the late 1930s and 1940s the Japanese army in
China even cultivated extensive opium plantations in Manchuria and Korea
and sold the opium into China, to finance the Japanese war effort.
The strict controls on opium in Japan from the first Opium War onwards
and the different Japanese policies on opium in Japan on one hand and
Taiwan and China on the other indicate that this was never seen
as a strictly moral or medical problem, but a colonial power problem.
Japan emulated China’s position towards western powers, but in itself
treated China like those western powers.
Opiate addiction
See also:
Opium, morphine and heroin
Opiates have long been used medically. Opium, its active ingredient
morphine and its pharmaceutical derivative heroin were used as
effective pain killers, for treatment of cough and against diarrhea.
Though opiates have a high potential for habituation and addiction
and though injecting black market heroin is pretty dangerous,
chronic use of pharmaceutically pure morphine or heroin is actually
no more harmful than chronic insulin use by a diabetic. It’s certainly
much less harmful than chronic alcoholism. Nevertheless, Japanese
doctors are very reluctant to prescribe morphine and often leave patients
in severe pain out of the largely mistaken fear of addicting patients:
Opiates do tend to cause physical addiction if used daily for a
few weeks, but few patients who take them for pain have problems
quitting once they’ve recovered from the illness or injury that
caused the pain.
Opiates in Japan today
Nowadays non-medical use of opium and opiates is fairly uncommon in Japan.
Some opium is sold by Iranians but there is very little heroin, a
pharmaceutical derivative of opium. An annual
eradication campaign is to discourage the illegal cultivation of
opium poppies. The Japanese police and hardline politicians take a lot of
pride in Japan not having much of a heroin problem, but law enforcement
has very little to do with it. When even countries that execute drug
users, such as Malaysia and Iran can’t get a handle on their opiate problems
then there must be more to the Japanese figures.
The relative low popularity
of opiates is not only testament to the yakuza’s efforts to effectively
control the black drug markets, it is also the product of an anti-opium
campaign that goes back more than a century. Last but not least it also
reflects the Japanese value system that esteems “gaman dekiru”,
a tenacious endurance of all things unpleasant, including pain.
Japanese society honors those who have a high tolerance for pain
(in an almost sado-masochist way) and it condemns those who abuse
a pharmaceutical substance that kills pain.
See also:
Alcohol,
Nicotine (Tobacco),
Caffeine (Coffee),
Marijuana,
TV.
Consumers Union Report (see chapters 36-40)
OGD report 1997/98 on Japan
Hemp as a “drug”
Drug risks: How dangerous are the most common drugs?
See also:
Alcohol,
Nicotine (Tobacco),
“Speed”,
Caffeine (Coffee),
Marijuana,
TV.
Consumers Union Report (see chapters 36-40)
OGD report 1997/98 on Japan
Hemp as a “drug”
Drug risks: How dangerous are the most common drugs?
Opium in China
Opium was long used medically in the Middle East, India and China.
Opium was introduced into Japan along with Chinese herbal medicine.
Since the 1400s it was used there as a pain killer and there were
no legal restrictions on its cultivation, possession or use.
In China non-medical use of opium became popular from around the
middle of the 17th century. Opium was mixed with tobacco and smoked
in pipes, often in so called opium dens. Addicts would get so
attached to the drug that they would rather go without food than
the drug, if they didn’t have money for both. In some parts of
Southern China and amongst overseas Chinese in South East Asia
more than one tenth of the population were habitual opium users,
make the addiction almost as common as tobacco addiction is today.
Non-medical use of opium was banned in China in 1729.
Opium in China
Tobacco smoking spread from the Portuguese colony of Macaou.
In 1638 the Ming emperor also decreed any person trafficking in
tobacco to be decapitated but the decree proved ineffectual as smoking
spread within the court. A second prohibition was issued in 1641.
In 1796 opium is banned again and once more in 1800, at penalty
of death. Yet even executions had no great effect on the number
of users. Imports increased greatly in the following decades as
foreign trading houses seized on the opportunity by growing or
purchasing ample supplies in Bengal, British-India and
shipping the opium to Canton, South China. In 1839
troops of the Chinese emperor attacked British traders operating
near Canton and the 1st Opium War began, in which China was
defeated in 1843.
The problem for the Chinese emperor was not that some
of his subjects could not let go of a substance, but that this
enriched foreign “barbarians”, who had the power to dictate the
terms of the trade while the emperor was not allowed to put a
halt to the trade, as he had also tried (unsuccessfully) with tobacco.
China had to permit the importation of opium, and later it also
permitted its cultivation until a nationalist backlash stopped
it again in 1906. Until after World War II foreign powers enjoyed
privileged status in China.
As a direct response to China’s defeat and the “unequal
treaties” it was forced to sign, the Tokugawa shogunate banned
opium in 1846 and strictly enforced the law. It appears that
the prime motivation was a determination that Japan should
not follow in China’s footsteps. One did not want to repeat
China’s example.
“In the case of Japan and other Asian countries, peoples’
perception of the causes and consequences of the Opium War
is completely different from that of the western countries
for historical reasons. This is the reason why drug
control law violations are defined as a serious crime
punishable with very heavy penalties.”
Dr Tokuo Yoshida (Japan), Narcotics Control, World Health Organization “In the case of Japan and other Asian countries, peoples’
perception of the causes and consequences of the Opium War
is completely different from that of the western countries
for historical reasons. This is the reason why drug
control law violations are defined as a serious crime
punishable with very heavy penalties.”
Dr Tokuo Yoshida (Japan), Narcotics Control, World Health Organization Dr Tokuo Yoshida (Japan), Narcotics Control, World Health Organization
Selling opium to the Chinese
A few years later the Tokugawa shogunate collapsed anyway
and the new Meiji emperor sought the future of the country
in emulating the West. When Formosa (Taiwan) came under
Japanese rule in 1895 the custom of smoking opium was
widespread there (169,000 smokers were estimated by the
colonial government in 1900) but Japan did not try to stamp out all
supplies of non-medical opium. Addicts could continue to buy
opium for smoking, while at the same time opium was strictly
controlled within Japan.
Selling opium to the Chinese
The
history of legislative control over opium, cocaine and their derivatives
After War War I Japan inherited German possessions in China and acquired
control of lands in Manchuria from Russia which had lost a war with Japan
in 1903. Opium smuggling
into China became a lucrative bussines for many Japanese
and the port of Kobe became a popular trans-shipment location for opium
from British-India bound for China. When supplies of British opium were
eventually cut off during the late 1930s and 1940s the Japanese army in
China even cultivated extensive opium plantations in Manchuria and Korea
and sold the opium into China, to finance the Japanese war effort.
The strict controls on opium in Japan from the first Opium War onwards
and the different Japanese policies on opium in Japan on one hand and
Taiwan and China on the other indicate that this was never seen
as a strictly moral or medical problem, but a colonial power problem.
Japan emulated China’s position towards western powers, but in itself
treated China like those western powers.
Opiate addiction
See also:
Opium, morphine and heroin
Opiate addiction
Opiates have long been used medically. Opium, its active ingredient
morphine and its pharmaceutical derivative heroin were used as
effective pain killers, for treatment of cough and against diarrhea.
Though opiates have a high potential for habituation and addiction
and though injecting black market heroin is pretty dangerous,
chronic use of pharmaceutically pure morphine or heroin is actually
no more harmful than chronic insulin use by a diabetic. It’s certainly
much less harmful than chronic alcoholism. Nevertheless, Japanese
doctors are very reluctant to prescribe morphine and often leave patients
in severe pain out of the largely mistaken fear of addicting patients:
Opiates do tend to cause physical addiction if used daily for a
few weeks, but few patients who take them for pain have problems
quitting once they’ve recovered from the illness or injury that
caused the pain.
Opiates in Japan today
Nowadays non-medical use of opium and opiates is fairly uncommon in Japan.
Some opium is sold by Iranians but there is very little heroin, a
pharmaceutical derivative of opium. An annual
eradication campaign is to discourage the illegal cultivation of
opium poppies. The Japanese police and hardline politicians take a lot of
pride in Japan not having much of a heroin problem, but law enforcement
has very little to do with it. When even countries that execute drug
users, such as Malaysia and Iran can’t get a handle on their opiate problems
then there must be more to the Japanese figures.
Opiates in Japan today
The relative low popularity
of opiates is not only testament to the yakuza’s efforts to effectively
control the black drug markets, it is also the product of an anti-opium
campaign that goes back more than a century. Last but not least it also
reflects the Japanese value system that esteems “gaman dekiru”,
a tenacious endurance of all things unpleasant, including pain.
Japanese society honors those who have a high tolerance for pain
(in an almost sado-masochist way) and it condemns those who abuse
a pharmaceutical substance that kills pain.
See also:
Alcohol,
Nicotine (Tobacco),
Caffeine (Coffee),
Marijuana,
TV.
Consumers Union Report (see chapters 36-40)
OGD report 1997/98 on Japan
Hemp as a “drug”
Drug risks: How dangerous are the most common drugs?
Back to taima.org main page