TOKYO (TR) – A weekly magazine reports this week that a member of the pop group Chage and Aska was the target of a blackmail attempt by a gang member over drugs, a claim denied by the group’s management agency.
Shukan Bunshun (Aug. 8) reports that a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group threatened to reveal covertly taken images of Aska inhaling stimulant drugs through a glass pipe.
In 1989, Aska moved to London, where he reportedly experienced using drugs. By 2010, he had become a full-blown addict, Shukan Bunshun said.
When approached by the magazine outside his home, the 55-year-old Aska denied being a drug addict. He did, however, admit to being asked for money by a gang member, who he first became acquainted with during his first year of middle school in Sapporo. “He wanted money, and I said that was not acceptable,” the musician told Shukan Bunshun.
The duo’s management agency said on its Web site that the report is not true. “The contents of the report are contrary to fact,” the statement read. “This is highly regrettable.”
Chage and Aska formed in the late 1970s. Their popularity peaked two decades later through hits like “Say Yes,” which sold 2.82 million copies and spent 13 straight weeks at the top of the Oricon chart in 1991.
In 2009, the band went on hiatus. The group announced in January that it would resume live shows for the first time in six years. In June, however, the plans were cancelled due to Aska reportedly suffering from an illness related to improper blood circulation to the brain.