A brief history of hemp in Japan

Most people don’t know it but Japan has a centuries-old history with a simple yet popular plant that has only been making waves here and abroad for the past few decades.

It was once a sacred substance in Shinto religious tradition. Lore has it that ninja once jumped over it day after day as it grew, training to leap incredible heights because it grew, well – like a weed. Even today, it is a key ingredient in a common household condiment. What is it?


OK. Generally speaking, marijuana usually refers to a type of cannabis that can be used for medical or recreational purposes. Hemp refers to non-intoxicating cannabis grown for fiber, cloth, oil, food and other purposes. But in Japan, it’s all simply called “taima,” according to Hidehito Marui, a criminal court lawyer who has been defending cannabis cases for 40 years.

Now, while we’re on the subject...

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