“It’s 25,000 yen for a ‘rest,’ and 35,000 yen for all night,” the female proprietor explains to the customers. The subject of these negotiations are three Korean women, who, seated beneath the glow the shop’s subdued pinkish illumination, appear to be in their mid-20s.
They’re clad in one-piece dresses that, the customers note approvingly, reveal plenty of cleavage.
“If you opt for overnight, she’ll stay with you until 10:00 tomorrow morning.”
You’d think you were in a red-light district in Seoul or Pusan; but this is a spa town in Nagano Prefecture.
Noboru Kiriyama, writing in Jitsuwa Knuckles (July), explains that over the past several years, the authorities have been cracking down on red-light districts in the greater Tokyo area, and as a result not only Kabukicho but other notorious havens known for libidinous male cavorting, such as Nishi Kawaguchi in Saitama Prefecture, Koganecho in Yokohama, the “Tambo” in Machida City and Horinouchi in Kawasaki, have found themselves the target of a determined drive to stamp out pink.
Call it “erotic cleansing” if you will.
But as long as there are willing ladies and horny johns, the purveyors of prostitutes are not the type to give up without a fight.
“When I was young, I used to visit brothels three times a week,” an elderly resident at the spa recalls to Kiriyama. “After the anti-prostitution law came into force, the hookers would meet up with customers in cafes or ryokan (Japanese inns). It was around then that more foreigners began coming here.
“Recently the number of Filipinas has gone down, but there are still plenty of Koreans and Thais.”
One of the rural places to which foreigners have flocked is the Tokura Kamiyamada spa in Nagano Prefecture, where business is mainly conducted in “take-out snacks,” such as the establishment first mentioned above. These are much like the system that came into force soon after houses of prostitution became illegal in 1958.
“After our payday, we often head for the hills,” says one of a group of four middle-aged male visitors from neighboring Gunma Prefecture. “We drive along the Chikuma River and take girls to a love hotel.
“If we indulge in too much food or drink it’s harder to get it up, so we always bring along some Viagra,” he grins.
Some 100 snack establishments in the town are said to be offering goodies, of which some 60 percent are estimated to be from South Korea. The remainder include mostly Japanese and Thais, but if you’re tempted to try something really different, one shop reportedly has a few Mongolians on the menu.
As long as there are males in this world, Kiriyama concludes, places like this are absolutely necessary. It would be a mistake to drive them out of business.
Source: “Koredakara onsen baishun wa yamerarenee!,” Jitsuwa Knuckles (July, pages 98-99)
Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.