A customary part of TV fare during the final week of December is the so-called “police action close-up.” These are special programs in which TV camera crews follow around Tokyo’s finest as they sanitize the city, bursting into bars and busting bordellos.
In preparation for the year-end run-up, Nikkan Gendai (Dec. 5) reports that six shops were raided in a section of Ikebukuro where such hanky-panky is prohibited by law.
But were the six shops actually making trouble for anyone?
“The places that got raided were completely up front with their prices and services,” a local source is quoted as saying. “They charged about 15,000 yen for two hours. The female staff were polite and had a reputation for giving good massages. The managers were respectful and showed a good attitude toward clients.
“The police also hauled in several of the regular customers as ‘persons of interest,'” he added.
While it is no secret that Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara continues his campaign to eradicate sleaze from the capital, Nikkan Gendai suggests that the recent roundups were staged mainly for the entertainment of TV audiences.
“Several commercial networks have scheduled these tokuban (specials) at the end of the year,” says a knowledgeable source in the mass media. “Program highlights invariably feature at least one ‘raid on a sex shop.’ Naturally, these shows will also include detailed reports about what was going on inside the shops that justified the crackdown.”
Nikkan Gendai cites a secret police memo that notes the televising of such shocking images boost program viewer ratings. But the evening daily is convinced there’s another reason why the networks are putting so much effort into the programs.
“It’s really about cutting production costs,” says entertainment critic Masaaki Hiruma. “It’s murder for a camera team to follow the cops around for 24 straight hours; but the costs to produce such shows are far, far less than for a variety-type show. It also makes the cops look good by flaunting their meritorious public service. So both sides are able to milk the shows to their mutual advantage.
“But I think it’s a big problem when police exercise their authority just to raise TV viewer ratings,” Hiruma frowns. “It would seem the media doesn’t have enough awareness of the implications of what they’re doing.”
What they’re doing of course is wrecking some poor salaryman’s “oasis” for the sake of TV entertainment. And that, seethes Nikkan Gendai, is absolutely appalling. (K.S.)
Source: “Kesatsu no fuzokuten no issai torishimari wa terebi kyoku no nenmatsu tokuban no tame ka,” Nikkan Gendai (Dec. 5, page 15)
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.