|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Friday 6/10 By Takeshi Ito
In a tiny shop corner crowded with apollo caps, portraits of Bob Marley, accessories and narrow jagged leaves stands a middle-aged man with arms folded across his chest and a pipe sticking out of his mouth.
He is Ko'ichi Maeda, 44, the owner of a new boutique in Osaka's trendy America-mura district. Merchandise pictured at this shop might appear ordinary at a glance, but its not.
Its rare, verging on illegal, reminds Friday.
According to the magazine, the newly establishment "Taima-do"hemp shop sells imported clothing and accessories made from the grass popularly dried and used as a recreational drug.
Friday says Maeda imports almost all his textile products from the United States as marijuana is not available here under a law that strictly prohibits its use for any purpose.
Owner Maeda is a die-hard marijuana advocate who has authored a book on his beloved plant.
"I bought a wallet made of marijuana when I traveled to the United States a year and a half ago," recounts Maeda.
"The idea for this shop came from that purchase.
In Japan, marijuana is automatically associated with illegal drug usage.
But that's not correct.
In the U.S. is plenty of merchandise on sale made from marijuana."
Friday listens on.
"Thomas Jefferson was growing marijuana at his farm and had a plant which he used to make paper.
He wrote a draft for the Declaration of Independence on paper made 100 percent from marijuana."
The authority adds that marijuana can also be used to produce a gasoline substitute and medicine to cure headaches.
The magazine discovers that the boutique is just a part of Maeda's larger plan for rectifying what he regards as popular misconceptions about the "harmless"and"useful" plant.
His next goal is inaugurating the Japan Hemp Party.
He is hoping to run for a House of Councilors seat in the next election and launch a campaign for revision of the Hemp Control Law. (TI)