Revised February 17, 2006, July 29, 2007; October 29 2007; and April 3, 2017.
Copyright 1999-2017 by John W. Allen





Lake Kerobe, Japan. Photo by Prakitsin Sihanonth
Click to enlarge




A page devoted to newspaper clippings, unusual articles some psilocybian mushroom trivia

NEWS ARCHIVES




 
Hello and welcome to our News archives. In this section you will find a wide variety of newspaper clippings and note-worthy items regarding the visionary mushrooms Use and sales in Japan
They are arranged Chronologically by dates.

JAPAN


 
TOKYO
PRIVATE
"Cosmic" cosmic@cosmicshrooms.com
To: mjshroomer@yage.net
Subject: ensightful
Date: Thursday Apr 6, 2000 04:21:30 +0900
Yes, We would love to make a connection. We just got 10,000 in mushroom grow equipment from America. We have the drive and desire but limited to our experience. Plenty of space at our small town in southern Japan. We looked for your web sight without avail. We will be here soon. there is something there but not much. Will we up very soon.

We consumed the best shrooms last summer direct import from Holland. The pro growers have left Holland and the quality has reach lows un felt before. If a country would be on the top of the list for Shroom consumption Japan would reach new levels. We went through 7 kilos+ of Copelandia this summer, this is the cause for cultivation. We are interested in your spores but at the moment we are limited by our capital. Dove in deep this year with future projects.

Link ofcourse! Your advise is appreciated. We would like to open a message board. Ready but need topic and Bowman to spear the conversation. Any ideas?

We could sell your spores on our page, credit card processing will be available in a few weeks, awaiting paperwork processing.

My name is Tenaya Roshay

Keiko Tokonami is a partner in a great adventure.

Shrooming began at the University of Southern Cal last year. When Tenaya found out Shrooms are very legal in Japan. Psychedelic mushrooms are classified as "beautiful objects", something like looking at a rare flower. Hay, Japanese can get some things right. A life in the American world left little to desire. Got a 7 year Visa for Japan and don't plan on returning anytime soon.

Hay let us sell and purchase some of your written material. We are new to the Shroom world but at the focal point with most Japanese retails. If u consumed Mushrooms in Japan, They most likely came through us. University taught Tenaya some things.

Please send your web page.

Thanks

Tenaya

Cosmicshrooms





 

TOKYO

"Cosmic" cosmic@cosmicshrooms.com
To: mjshroomer@yage.net
Subject: Cosmic here!
Date: Mon, April 17, 2000 07:52:12 +0900

Hay we aren't finished with sight but was wondering if u have any items in finished product could connect us to that world. Buying from Holland usually In need of Copelandia, Hawaiian. 100 grams of best quality looking but the cost is around 1000 for 100 grams.

We just came down with a great mix. We put a little wild grass in with a mix in tea of tampanesis, wish I would of measured better but ride was wonderful. Very light but steady. Haven't shroomed for 4 months.

We sat under a almost full moon with the Japanese cherry blossoms blooming overhead. The moon's shadow penetrates us. Difficult day with a wonderful night of shoomin. Spent the mourning picking the weeds out of the rye grain growing on out plot. The energy came from the earth.
beseeinyou

#6
Tenaya
leave the world a message.





 
For some reason, this news item is dated 5-6-2003. This seems not to be the corerect date since the News Items posted below predate this particular item.

MAGIC MUSHROOMS SLIP THROUGH JAPAN DRUG LOOPHOLE

TOKYO (Reuters) - In a country known for some of the Western world's
toughest drug laws, dealers of hallucinogenic ''magic'' mushrooms
brazenly tout their wares in Japan.
Sidewalk vendors hawk mind-altering fungi on the streets of Shibuya,
Tokyo's hip center of fashion, while magazines run advertisements for
Hawaiian toadstools and Peyote cacti.
Thanks to a bizarre legal loophole, psychedelic substances have
mushroomed into a major money-spinner and stores, known as ''head
shops,'' with names such as Herb on Air, Whoopee! and Psychedelic
Garden are sprouting up all over the capital.
``You can't be punished for possession. Magic mushrooms are not
listed in the drug law,'' a Justice Ministry official said.
A Tokyo customs official confirmed the loophole that lets dealers
import vegetable matter that would be considered Class A narcotics in
many countries. ``The plants themselves aren't illegal. There's no
law prohibiting their import.''
In a society not known for recreational drug use, such laxity is the
exception to the rule. Even some over-the-counter cold medicines such
as Sudafed are routinely seized by Japanese customs officers because
of the stimulants they contain.
``Japan is no paradise for druggies, that's for sure,'' said a user
of magic mushrooms, who declined to be identified. The 26-year-old
office worker described how she painstakingly raised her own magic
mushrooms at home using a spore-growing kit imported from Amsterdam.

Zapped With Hair Dryer

``My mushrooms were 10 times better than the stuff you can buy in
Shibuya,'' she said. ``That's mostly because the dealers dry them
with a hair dryer that effectively zaps most of the psilocybin out.''
Psilocybin, the chemical that gives magic mushrooms their
hallucinogenic properties, is specifically outlawed under drug laws,
as is mescaline from Mexico's peyote cactus. But unlike hemp, the
fungi and cacti themselves get off scot-free.
``If you know it's a magic mushroom and eat it, that's illegal. If
you don't know what it is and eat it, that's fine,'' said the branch
manager of a head-shop chain who identified himself only as Mr. A.
``It's all right to show and sell them, just not to encourage people
to ingest.''
He said about 20 people a day, from junior high school students to
retiress, buy mushrooms imported from Europe and Hawaii at his
basement bazaar in Tokyo's Shinjuku district. The shop also stocks
pipes and books on alternative culture.
Dealers know they walk a fine legal line. Police made their first
fungus-related arrest in 1998, nabbing a man in the western city of
Osaka for selling 2,000 bottles of capsules containing powdered magic
mushrooms, worth about $80,000.
But putting him in handcuffs took some wrangling. The man was
arrested not for hawking hallucinogens but for flouting a law
requiring people who sell pharmaceutical products to have a license,
said a police spokesman. He had taken out magazine advertisements
saying his mushrooms had ``a great effect on sex,'' the spokesman
added.
The same year, a 19-year-old employee of a Tokyo magic mushroom
dealer died of a drug overdose, although it was not clear exactly
what drug she had taken.
``Magic mushrooms are essentially poisonous mushrooms,'' said Katsumi
Kinoshita, chief of the Health Ministry's Pharmaceutical and Medical
Safety Bureau. He declined to say whether the ministry was
considering making them illegal.
Last month Japanese pop idol and TV star Hideaki Ito, 25, was rushed
to a hospital after police found him babbling incoherently in a
store, local media said. Ito said he had been given magic mushrooms
by a friend without his knowledge.


Unwelcome Publicity

The incident drew unwelcome publicity for a fledgling industry eager
to distance itself from illegal trafficking.
``It's shop policy not to talk to the media,'' said the manager of a
Shibuya magic mushroom emporium, declining to answer questions.
``They always paint us in such a bad light.''
Japan's ``yakuza'' organized crime syndicates control the vast
majority of narcotics trafficking, and their most lucrative product
is amphetamines, popular as a pick-me-up for those with fast-paced
lifestyles, police say.
``Rave'' drugs have also become popular. The Osaka customs office
reported this year that seizures of ecstasy, a controversial
stimulant and mild hallucinogen sometimes called the ``love drug,''
increased almost ninefold in 2000.
Perhaps Japan's most high-profile drug bust was in 1980, when former
Beatle Paul McCartney was arrested at Tokyo International Airport for
possession of 219 grams of marijuana. Held in jail for nine days
before being released and deported, he could have faced seven years
in prison.
``Japan's drug laws are the way they are because they were forced on
us willy-nilly by America after the war,'' said a magic mushroom
street dealer. The long-haired vendor said the occupation authorities
who gave Japan its new constitution and legal code lumped hard and
soft drugs together as dangerous and ''evil'' substances -- although
magic mushrooms slipped through.
``In Japan, the people who make the rules don't have a clue,'' Mr. A
said. ``To them, it's just fungus.'





 
TOKYO
Magic mushrooms banned from June 6
Friday, April 26, 2002 at 09:30 JST

TOKYO: The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Thursday it will ban from June 6 the sale and possession of so-called magic mushrooms, which sofar have been used as a legal drug, especially among young people. The ministry said it will designate any mushroom containing psilocybin or psilocin, a small dose of which is known to cause hallucination, as illegal.

Magic mushrooms are known to contain small amounts of these ingredients but until now there have been no rules on them.

The ban will be made official at a cabinet meeting Friday, the ministry said. It will ban the import, manufacture, sale, transfer, possession and advertisement of the mushrooms. A violation may result in imprisonment, the ministry said. (Kyodo News)





 
TOKYO
'Magic' Mushrooms to Be Outlawed
Fri Apr 26, 8:26 AM ET

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Health Ministry said on Friday it would outlaw hallucinogenic "magic" mushrooms from June, plugging a legal loophole that has allowed the mind-altering fungi to be openly sold without penalty.

Sales and possession of mushrooms containing hallucinogenic elements will be prohibited from June 6, a ministry official said.

"There have been concerns of abuse," he said. "Cases of young people doing harm to their health have been on the rise."

Due to a bizarre legal twist, psilocybin -- the chemical that gives the fungi their "magic" properties -- is illegal in Japan, but the mushrooms themselves are not.

This has allowed vendors to hawk them from sidewalk stands and via the Internet. Magazines can also run advertisements for such exotica as Hawaiian toadstools without facing trouble.

In recent years, chains of "head shops" with names like Herb on Air and Whoopee! have spouted up in big cities, offering substances that would be considered Class A narcotics in many countries.

In a society known for some of the toughest drug laws in the industrialized world, such laxity is the exception to the norm.

Drug control is so strict in Japan that even some over-the-counter foreign cold medicines are routinely seized by customs officers because of the stimulants they contain.

The Health Ministry will issue an official notification on May 7 to inform stores and the public of the ban, the official said.

"That gives them about a month for disposal."

The branch manager of Psychedelic Garden, a head shop in Tokyo's Nishi-Shinjuku district, said the ban came as little surprise.

"There's been talk of this for some time," he said. "We'll end sales on May 20. It's disappointing but it can't be helped."

In addition to mushrooms imported from Europe and Hawaii, the basement bazaar stocks pipes, bongs, T-shirts and books on alternative culture.

Vendors currently walk a fine legal line. Although they cannot be arrested for dealing of the mushrooms themselves, they are sometimes nabbed for other violations, such as selling pharmaceuticals without a license.

Japan's most high-profile drug bust was the 1980 arrest of former Beatle Paul McCartney at Tokyo international airport for possession of 219 grams (7.7 ounces) of marijuana.

He was held in jail for nine days before being released and deported. If convicted, he could have faced seven years in prison.

 
TOKYO

TOKYO - Enthusiasts admit it's not the taste that keeps them gobbling the shriveled, brown mushrooms. They're so bitter that many can only choke them down with orange juice or yogurt.

The allure is the hallucinogen within, so potent that the fungi are outlawed in most countries with the likes of cocaine and heroin.

"It doesn't taste good, but I like to get high," 19-year-old student Wataru Kanbe said after eating a handful of "magic mushrooms" at a recent family open-air concert. Best of all, he added with a glassy-eyed stare, doing so is completely legal.

Not much longer.
Alarmed by the soaring popularity of hallucinogenic mushrooms and sometimes toxic side effects, Japan's Health Ministry is finally plugging the legal loophole that has allowed them to be sold openly and lawfully by trendy shops, street vendors and mail-order companies advertising in magazines.

The crackdown - which takes effect June 6 - will slap a maximum seven-year prison term on magic mushroom possession, putting it on par with the penalty for cocaine possession.

While the appeal of the mushrooms reflects changing Japanese attitudes toward drugs, it also highlights the government's increasingly desperate battle against them.

Japan has carefully nurtured its hard-line reputation, from leveling life sentences on heroin traffickers to arresting former Beatle Paul McCartney in 1980 when he stepped off the plane in Tokyo with a bag of marijuana.

But a 1990 overhaul of the drug law overlooked one point. It banned the psychoactive drugs psilocybin and psilocin, but not the mushrooms that naturally produce them.

It didn't take long for entrepreneurs to start hawking the psychedelic fungi to curious teens and rebellious hipsters in search of a "legal high." So-called head shops mushroomed overnight in trendy Tokyo entertainment districts, selling packs for 1,800 to 3,000 yen ($13 to $23) a pop. They're all laid out in fancy glass display cases.

Most are imported from the Netherlands, where they are grown on farms. But even hand-picked, wild "liberty cap" toadstools from Scotland turn up for $20 a gram.

"You can find them anywhere," said Hideo Eno at the Health Ministry's narcotics division. The ministry said there were at least 11 species of magic mushrooms - technically classified as poisonous plants and not drugs - being sold in Japan. As long as they were not labeled as food, that was permitted.

Takahito Watanabe, manager of PsychoPompos, a closet-sized head shop brazenly advertising itself with a marijuana-leaf signboard, said his desiccated mushrooms were for display purposes only. "Or use as good luck charms," he said. The Health Ministry has no statistics on the size of the magic mushroom market or how many Japanese use them. But their popularity is hinted at by sales at a chain of three stores owned by mushroom magnate Muneo Ogishi. He claims more than 3,000 people stock up every month, mostly people in their 20s.

The increase in use is also underlined by the increase in the number of people hospitalized for overdosing, from one person in 1997 to 38 in 2000 - not huge numbers but enough to demand action, Eno said. "Young people are curious. They say it's fun and safe. But really it contains a dangerous narcotic," he said. Users say the effect of magic mushrooms is like being sealed in a cocoon of euphoria where street lights look like prisms and neon blurs into rainbows. But the mushrooms can also trigger nausea and sudden fits of paranoia or panjic.

Mushrooms are not considered addictive, but government officials view them as a gateway to experimentation with other drugs.

Narcotics use in Japan peaked during the economic boom of the 1980s, but has been on the rise again. Except for a dip in 1998, arrests for drug offenses rose consistently from 1995 to 2000. Last year, police took in a record haul of recreational drugs, seizing 1,753 pounds of marijuana and confiscating 118,000 tablets of Ecstasy, a 40 percent increase from the year before.

The changing mores were underlined in a recent government poll that said nearly 20 percent of high school students nationwide think it should be legal for them to use drugs if they wish. "Drug abuse is on the rise and legalized magic mushrooms aren't helping," said Chikashi Okutsu, director of Asia Pacific Addiction Institute, a Tokyo drug abuse treatment center. He said mushrooms are particularly dangerous for inexperienced users don't know what they're doing."

Larry Johnson
Foreign Desk Editor
101 Elliott Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119-4220
Phone: 206-448-8035
Fax: 206-448-8166

 
TOKYO
Hi Mushroom John

if i remember you like to keep track of this kinda thing.
i don't know the exact date of this clipping but would assume early july 2002.

Mushroom Bust
Tokyo

Police in yokohama said yesterday they had made the first arrest under the new laws banning the possession of magic mushrooms.

Ryoichi t\Tsuzuki, 23, was found in possession of 2138gm of magic mushrooms on tuesday. before the ban, 11 species of mushrooms containing the hallucinogenic chemicals psylocybin and psylocin were traded widely in trendy urban districts and on the internet, because while the chemicals were illegal, the mushrooms were not.

I think this is from the Daily Yomiuiri, a friend handed it to me with no other info.
Since the ban many headshops have closed, which maybe indicates how large the profits were. others have moved into aggressively promoting amanita muscaria, i rec'd a flyer in the mail last week offerring me a special deal.

Other shops have gone the research chem route and have everything from 2ct7 to stp on display and sale.

Some sites that no longer sell shrooms!
www.kinokoya.com
www2.neweb.ne.jp/wd/mushroom/
www.headshop.co.jp

Hope some of this is useful
mr c

 
TOKYO
12. Errata: Different Kinds of Mushrooms

The Week Online with DRCNet
Issue #238, 5/24/02

A newsbrief published in Issue #235 of The Week Online, "Japan to Outlaw Magic Mushrooms, Loophole Slams Shut," incorrectly cited Amanita muscaria as an example of an hallucinogenic fungus in which psilocybin is the active ingredient. The active ingredient in Amanita muscaria is ibotenic acid, which is converted by the body into muscimol.


 

Spore Sales Shut Down by Dana Larsen-3-30-2003-Japan



Japan bans mushrooms

Last year, Japan moved to shut down once-legal mushroom dealers. As of June 2002, possession of psychoactive mushrooms in Japan can get a maximum seven year sentence, equivalent to that for heroin and cocaine.

The psychoactive drugs psilocybin and psilocin were banned in 1990, but not the mushrooms that naturally produce them. Many Japanese headshops had long been selling a variety of imported and locally grown psychoactive mushrooms for up to $23 US per gram.

Japanese officials told the media that at least 11 varieties of psychoactive mushrooms were being sold in Tokyo. Since they were classified as poisonous plants and not a drug, they were permitted for sale so long as they were not labelled as food. Under the new law, the mushrooms are classified as a drug in any form, and their cultivation, sale and use is prohibited.

 
Stars and Stripes
February 9, 2007
By Chiyomi Sumida
Starts and Stripes, Pacific Edition.

NAHA, Okinawa — A 20-year-old sailor assigned to Camp Hansen was charged Wednesday with smuggling hallucinatory “magic mushrooms,” an Okinawa Customs Office spokesman said.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Trent Matthew James Riley is accused of mail-ordering via the Internet the illegal substance, which was sent through Japanese postal services to his off-base home in Okinawa city’s Murokawa district, according to an Okinawa Prefectural Police report.

On Jan. 10, a parcel containing the illegal substance and addressed to Riley arrived at Naha Central Post Office from the Netherlands, said Kiyotaka Kubashima, a customs office spokesman. Five days later, under supervision of police and customs offices, the package was delivered to Riley’s off-base home, Kubashima said.

Riley was arrested the moment he received the package, which contained 51 grams of mushrooms, Kubashima said.

The Okinawa District Public Prosecutor’s Office charged Riley with violating Japan’s Narcotic and Psychotropic Drug Control Law, Kubashima said.

In June 2002, Japan listed hallucinogenic mushrooms as a controlled substance. Using, possessing, growing, transferring or advertising them is strictly banned.

If convicted, Riley, who remains under Okinawa police custody, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of 30 million yen (about $250,000), according to a joint statement released by the Okinawa District Customs Office and Okinawa Prefectural Police.
A Marine Corps Base Camp Butler spokesman said discussing “details of an ongoing investigation” would be inappropriate but added: “The Marine Corps takes this incident very seriously and is working in close cooperation with local authorities in the investigation.”

Stars and Stripes reporter Cindy Fisher contributed to this report.

 
Sailor admits to mail purchase of illegal mushrooms

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=44487

By David Allen, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Thursday, March 22, 2007


NAHA, Okinawa — A 20-year-old sailor pleaded guilty Tuesday in Naha General District Court to smuggling hallucinatory mushrooms into Japan through the mail.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Trent Riley, a corpsman assigned to Camp Hansen, was arrested by Okinawa police on Jan. 15 as a package containing 50.5 grams of mushrooms containing psilocybin, a psychoactive compound, was delivered to his home in the Murokawa district of Okinawa city.

Riley admitted during a two-hour session that he ordered the mushrooms from the Netherlands over the Internet.

He said he had planned to take the mushrooms with his wife to “have fun” before his scheduled deployment to Iraq in April.

“I was worried about spending a year away from my wife and possibly not coming back,” he told the three-judge panel hearing the case. He had been married just more than six months when he was arrested.

His wife testified that she had no knowledge her husband had ordered the psychedelic fungi.

Riley, from Florida, said that despite briefings from his command that using the mushrooms was illegal, he had heard from friends that they were not prohibited and were sold openly in Japan. He said he did not realize the Japanese law had changed in 2002.

He added that he did not become suspicious when the Netherlands company that sold him the mushrooms for $329 sent him an e-mail stating that because the Japanese customs agency was strict the package would be labeled as a T-shirt.

Prosecutor Daisuke Tabuchi did not accept Riley’s ignorance of the law, calling the sailor’s statements “illogical.”

“He was going to spread this evil drug in our country,” he said. “Therefore, his act was vicious. It’s difficult to accept that he did not know magic mushrooms were illegal.”

He asked for a sentence of two years and six months in prison at hard labor.

Defense attorney Satoshi Kawamitsu asked that any prison time be suspended and Riley, who faces discharge from the Navy upon release from custody, be allowed to return to the United States to finish his education. He said Riley has no prior criminal record.

Riley, who remains in custody in the Naha Detention Center, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to 30 million yen (about $250,000). He will be sentenced April 17.

According to prosecution evidence, the mushrooms were discovered when the package arrived at Narita International Airport on Jan. 8. Customs agents then alerted Okinawa police and arranged the bust as the package was delivered to Riley.

In June 2002, Japan listed hallucinogenic mushrooms, popularly known by users as “shrooms” or “magic mushrooms,” as a controlled substance, making the use, sale, possession, growing and advertising of the mushrooms illegal under the country’s Narcotic and Psychotropic Drug Control Law. There are more than 180 species of mushrooms that contain varying traces of psychedelics.




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