David Blecken
Mar 15, 2019

Major brands cut ties with Japanese entertainer Pierre Taki after minor drug bust

Lixil, Sega, NHK and Disney are among the brands that have taken or are considering action following Pierre Taki's arrest.

Pierre Taki appears in a 2015 advertisement for Wowow
Pierre Taki appears in a 2015 advertisement for Wowow

Following the arrest on 12 March of actor and musician Pierre Taki (real name Masanori Taki), advertisers and media brands in Japan are rethinking their relationship with the celebrity.

Fifty-one-year-old Taki, part of the pop group Denki Groove, was arrested for cocaine use after an undercover investigation, and subsequently admitted taking a small amount, according to reports in the local media.

Recreational drug use remains highly frowned upon in Japan, which enforces stiff penalties for minor infractions. As a result, while Taki has not been convicted of anything, brands are already shunning him.

Lixil, the housing supplies giant, is expected to stop working with Taki as an endorser and reportedly plans to delete past commercials in which he appeared.

Sega is another brand affected. The company has suspended sales of a PS4 game, Judgement, that featured Taki as the voice of a yakuza character.

In the media space, NHK is reportedly weighing up its options for removing Taki’s appearance in a drama series, Idaten; and Disney is expected to find a replacement voice actor for Taki, who voiced the character Olaf in the Japanese-language version of Frozen and was to reprise the role in the upcoming sequel.

Taki has endorsed brands including Suntory, Yoshinoya, Ajinomoto and Wowow. It is not clear whether they plan to delete past content that featured him. Taki appears in thumbnails on Suntory’s website, but the content is currently disabled. A commercial for Yoshinoya from 2016 that featured him appears to be missing from the company’s YouTube archive.

Celebrities face a particularly tough challenge in Japan in staging a comeback after their image is tarnished. Other stars to have fallen from grace for association with drugs include the singer Noriko Sakai and the baseball player Kazuhiro Kiyohara.

Ryoko Tasaki contributed to this article.

Campaign Japan

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