Mascot detained hours after replacing disgraced SMAP singer
The character that replaced SMAP singer Tsuyoshi Kusanagi in a government-related ad campaign has been arrested after being found prancing naked, drunk, and eating grass in a Tokyo park.
The deer mascot "Chi-Dejika" is the official spokes-character for Japan’s National Association of Commercial Broadcasters PR campaign about the ongoing national switchover from analog to digital TV broadcasting. Chi-Dejika took over PR duties from Kusanagi on April 28. Kusanagi was arrested in Hinokicho Park in Tokyo in the early hours of April 24. Kusanagi, who was naked, drunk and shouting, also resisted arrest, police say.
Police say they were called to Hinokicho Park at around 3 a.m. April 28 and they observed Chi-Dejika inebriated, nude, stomping and snorting. Police attemped to throw green netting over the deer, but the animal bucked and tangled the net. A SWAT team was requested, and the deer was bundled into the armored SWAT van.
Chi Dekija is in police custody and is being questioned. Police raided the animal’s thicket but would not reveal what was found. The deer’s attorney says Chi Dekija was enjoying the park in a manner suitable for deer. The attorney objects to the mascot’s arrest and rough treatment. "The police are not treating this deer like other similar cases. I think the police are angry because Chi-Dejika regurgitated in the SWAT vehicle," the attorney said.
Kusanagi was released on April 25 and made a public apology. Numerous TV commercials featuring Kusanagi were pulled off the air. The weekly SMAP SMAP TV program on April 27 aired a "best of SMAP" edition that did not include Kusanagi. The singer was also editied out of other pre-recorded talk and variety programs in which he usually appears.
Reaction to Chi-Dejika’s arrest from other broadcast mascots came quickly. TBS-TV mascot Boo Boo-chan said Chi-Dejika should apologize. "It’s shameful to be naked in the park. He was drunk too. It’s disgraceful. That’s all I have to say. Excuse me, may I pee here?" Fuji-TV mascot Ruf-chan" said "What’s wrong with being naked? I’m not wearing pants right now." Domo-kun, mascot at public broadcaster NHK-TV expressed regret. "Dejika-chan was one of the finest mascots. He was the inspiration for Sento-kun. Lately he hasn’t been able to find work and perhaps was drinking too much." Kusanagi has not commented on the arrest of Chi-Dejika.