Japanese pop star pleads guilty

One of my students from Japan mentioned the singer Noriko Sakai’s court case to me in class recently. I was interested to read more on the topic after the class and my reading led me to this article on the BBC news website.

There’s some interesting legal and crime-related vocabulary in the article, too. The first interesting expression is in the title, where it is mentioned that the trial ‘drew a crowd‘. To ‘draw a crowd‘ means to attract a group of people.

In the second paragraph, there is a useful piece of legal vocabulary. It is mentioned that Ms Sakai ‘pleaded guilty‘ meaning that she admitted to committing the crime. The opposite of this would be to plead ‘not guilty‘.

The following paragraph has two more interesting expressions in it:

The case has gripped Japan since August when her husband was arrested and she went on the run for a week before turning herself in to the police

Firstly, the author writes that the case has ‘gripped Japan‘. If something is ‘gripping‘ we find it very interesting, so in this situation ‘gripped Japan‘ means that many people in Japan have found it interesting or exciting.

He goes on to mention that Ms Sakai was ‘on the run‘ meaning that she was trying to escape the police and not let them find her. After that, she ‘turned herself in‘. This means that she went to the police and let them arrest her. We could say ‘gave herself up‘ meaning the same thing.

Slightly later in the article, it is mentioned that her ‘prison term‘ would be 18 months. In this case, ‘term‘ means period. We can see it used in a similar way in the expression term of office.

Finally, it is mentioned that she ‘rose to fame‘ in 1987. This just means that she became famous at that time.

Have any court cases drawn a crowd in your country recently?