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How Alcoholism in Japan Inspired PSA Shaming Campaigns

A new public service announcement (PSA) in Japan turns sleeping drunks into billboards to warn others of the dangers of alcoholism.

The commercial was produced by Yaocho Bar Group, a well-known bar chain in Tokyo, Japan. Alcoholism levels have risen sharply in Japan during recent years and some people have developed the habit of passing out drunk in the street.

Scroll down to watch the video.

In Japan, where alcoholism is not considered a disease by most of society, it has become a social norm to fall asleep on the streets after a night of heavy drinking. Unlike the homeless we have here in the US, these are suit-and-tie business men – think Mad Men with beer vending machines.

In 2009 Reuters reported that the estimated loss from the drinking problem is 6.6 trillion yen ($73 billion) according to the Tokyo Medical and Dental University. Liquor consumption has grown six fold in Japan over the last fifty years. The makers of the video state that on a typical weekend thousands of drunk people can be found sleeping it off in the street.

The PSA features some of these drunken individuals in a new public shaming campaign. The cameramen capture unconscious business men in the street. Placed beside them is a sign that reads #nomisugi, which translates as #toodrunk. Passersby are able to take photographs of the victims and share them on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag.

The all-male ensemble of unconscious drunks can be viewed asleep everywhere from the subway, to the public stairwell above the subway, the street corner and leaning against city buildings – perhaps passing out after stopping to smoke a cigarette.

Yoacho wants to discourage binge drinking, rather than curtail alcohol consumption altogether.

The video description reads, “Armed with white duck tape (sic), printed headlines, logos and a call to action, we turned every sleeping drunk into an anti-drinking billboard.” They continue, “As honor is paramount in Japanese society, we shamed people into drinking moderately or risk becoming our next Sleeping Drunk Billboard.” Watch it here:

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