Pop star Tsuyoshi Kusanagi expressed joy at his return to the entertainment business Thursday, about a month after he was arrested for stripping naked in a Tokyo park while under the influence of alcohol.
‘‘I will strive anew as a member of (music group) SMAP. I feel happy that I can work as one of the members,’’ Kusanagi, 34, told reporters, appearing nervous as he joined the taping of the ‘‘SMAP x SMAP’’ TV variety program in Tokyo.
Kusanagi said that during the time he stayed away from entertainment activities, he read books or did squats and other exercises at home. ‘‘I tried to stay healthy both in body and mind,’’ he said.
The program is a weekly show on Fuji Television Network and Thursday’s taping will be aired Monday. Kusanagi will also appear on Fuji’s daily lunchtime program ‘‘Waratte Iitomo’’ on Friday.A Japanese pop star who was arrested last month after dancing drunk and naked in a Tokyo park returned to the limelight Thursday.
Kusanagi had voluntarily stayed out of the public eye since his April 23 arrest on suspicion of public indecency. But prosecutors dropped charges after Kusanagi profusely apologized in a nationally televised news conference and promised not to overdrink again.
In Japan, misbehaving celebrities voluntarily stop working, sometimes for years if the scandal is serious, because they are expected to be role models in a conformist and reserved society.
In his comeback news conference, Kusanagi, wearing a dark suit and tie, sometimes paused over his words, overcome with emotion, when he vowed to never cause such hardships for his fellow SMAP members, who had repeatedly bowed in apology on TV shows. One had even wept.
“I was overcome with joy,” he told reporters when recalling his telephone conversations earlier in the day with SMAP members. “I am so happy that I am going to be able to work again with them.”
His arrest was the top news item here with major TV networks repeatedly broadcasting footage of a glum Kusanagi being escorted to a police van. Almost immediately, public sentiments went out to him as a police raid of his home failed to turn up evidence of more serious crimes. High-profile commentators said he should be forgiven.
Kusanagi’s comeback came relatively soon—after just 35 days.
“The support of my fans was what kept me going, and I am filled with gratitude,” he said.
The slender, long-haired Kusanagi was a regular on several Japanese TV shows. He has also starred in movies. Fluent in Korean, he is also popular in South Korea.
Besides canceled appearances, TV commercials starring Kusanagi, including government ones for digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, were taken off the air. But they, too, are expected to return.