The Tokyo Reporter

Japan’s deflation battle reflected in sagging blow-job market

Takarajima July

On Friday, data released by the internal affairs ministry indicated that Japan’s annual inflation rate for April was zero.

The report showed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revival plan is being hampered by falling prices, particularly for fuel and consumer electronics.

The report did not mention blow-jobs, but, according to Takarajima (July), prices for such services in Tokyo remain low as the overall commercial sex industry continues to face hard times.

A writer for the magazine travels to the Otsuka red-light district of Toshima Ward to discover that the fee for an oral session at a “pink salon” starts as low as 2,000 yen.

He enters one particular establishment, which is not named, to find four other customers seated beneath a glitter ball hanging from the ceiling and ’80s music filling the room.

The shop operates on the hanabira kaiten principle. Meaning “flower petal rotation,” the system dictates that each customer is served by girls in shifts. At this shop, it is two rotations.

Akira Ikoma, editor of a guide to the men’s entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), tells the magazine that the talent level of women employed in Otsuka is on the rise.

“Years ago, Otsuka was known as the place for dirt-cheap pink salons,” says the editor. “But girls are using the Shonan Shinjuku Line” — which runs through nearby Ikebukuro in connecting Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures — “to commute to Otsuka from Utsunomiya and Gunma Prefecture, with the result being a distinct increase in their overall quality.”

After a five-minute wait, Takarajima’s writer is joined by a highly rotund young lass with a pretty face, affectionate personality and — crucially — a supreme technique. After seven minutes, she is rotated out and a woman in her middle 30s takes her place for the final session.

The magazine says that the quality of the ladies at even the low-end joints is maintained at an acceptable level.

“With the impact of the rough economy ongoing, the value afforded (by pink salons) has become very popular,” says Ikoma. “At the high end, one might spend a total of 10,000 yen but he’s going to also be able to drink.”

Ongoing tailspin

The industry has been in a tailspin for years, and this is not the first report of a parlor in Otsuka offering an exceptionally low entry fee. In 2011, Fashion Club Hi Hi also provided two rounds for 2,000 yen, a sign that the benefits of the recent economic initiatives behind “Abenomics” have not yet arrived in Otsuka.

A street scout tells the magazine that the girls are attracted to the parlors due to the steady income.

“At a pink salon, the girls are paid by the hour, but at an out-call establishment it is commission-based,” says the scout.

He cites a jukujo “delivery health” business, which dispatches “mature” women to hotel rooms or residences, as an example.

“In one day, a woman might make less than 10,000 yen,” he says. “But at a pink salon, an eight-hour shift at a rate of 3,000 yen per hour translates into more than 20,000 yen a day. So the pink salon is the winner.”

The shop does well, too.

“They may have small margins but the turnover is very, very high,” he says.

Source: “Fuzoku-jo no reberu age no eikyo ha ‘2000en’ pinsaron ni mo atta!?” Takarajima (July, page 37)

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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