The Tokyo Reporter

Examining why hostesses and sex workers go missing in Japan

Over 80,000 people go missing in Japan each year
On October 8, Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested two construction company employees for hiding a dead body found inside a building in Shibuya Ward scheduled to be demolished. As reported in the Sankei Shimbun, the body had been inside the structure for about five years.

While such discoveries may not be typical, a large number of people go missing in Japan each year. Evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (Oct. 12) reports that approximately 81,111 people vanished in 2012.

Of them, 28,924 were women. As far as age, the majority were under 20 years old. In the average case, the person was later found to have returned home or committed suicide. Even so, about 1,400 cases remain unsolved.

Like host club employee Masamichi Tsuchida, who disappeared from his home in 2010 and was later found to have been murdered, some who go unaccounted for work in the adult-entertainment trade. In attempting to understand why, the tabloid speaks with fuzoku writer Kazuo Kajiyama.

As far as a kyaba-jo (hostess) or fuzoku-jo (sex-club worker), the main reason is debts owed to host clubs, says the writer.

“In order to pay off the bills, the girls will be sold off to soapland bathhouses or to a ‘snack’ club that engages in prostitution, such as those in Sakae, Chiba Prefecture,” says Kajiyama. “The girls are confined and not allowed to communicate with anyone. I also hear of a lot of cases where they’ll wind up selling their bodies near casinos in Korea.”

Gangsters also purchase girls heavily in debt. Many will undergo plastic surgery such that even their parents will not be able to recognize their faces. They will then be put to work in adult video (AV) industry.

Freelance writer Taizo Ebina says that some hostesses are taken off the premises by regular customers, abducted and sold to brokers in various parts of Asia for one million yen each.

“Runaway girls will be imprisoned in one-room apartments,” says Ebina. “They will engage in ‘live chat’ Internet sessions in which they show their genitals. They’ll also work as prostitutes in ‘on board brothels’ for passengers on ships. In most of these cases, the girls will be hooked on stimulant drugs.” (K.N.)

Source: “Nenkan 8mannin ga fumei kyaba-jo ya fuzoku-jo ha naze tsugitsugi to kieru no ka,” Nikkan Gendai (Oct. 12, page 5)

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.

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