Prostitution not priority in busts of bathhouses featuring porn stars

Friday Nov. 4
Friday Nov. 4

The Yoshiwara brothel quarter of Tokyo’s Taito Ward has approximately 150 soapland bathhouses, each offering male customers full sex during massage sessions. For decades — or at least since the enactment of the Anti-Prostitution Law in 1956 — such establishments have operated without difficulties due to a tacit agreement with law enforcement.

Most certainly then the bust early last month of a pair of bathhouses, each employing adult video (AV) actresses, for breaking that very law must have had more than a few denizens of the quarter scratching their heads.

Attempting to unravel the mystery is weekly tabloid Friday Nov. 4, which says the raids had little to do with the world’s oldest profession.

“It was tied to a problem that has been getting attention lately: AV actresses being forced to perform in films against their will,” a local news reporter tells the magazine.

Toyosaku Nagumo, the 57-year-old manager of Latin Quarter and Haute Couture, was accused of employing actresses as masseuses while knowing they were providing full sex to customers in private rooms.

According to investigators, the busted shops use their web sites to attract patrons by posting the names of actresses, their photographs and titles of their films.

The ‘King of Yoshiwara’

Rates begin at around 65,000 yen per session but reach 80,000 yen if an AV actress serves as the masseuse. Over the past seven years, the businesses have collected more than one billion yen in revenue.

“During the bubble years, Nagumo managed more than 10 bathhouses,” a writer covering the fuzoku (commercial sex) trade says. “People knew him as the ‘King of Yoshiwara.'”

Nagumo also serves as board chairman for two non-profit organizations, including the Japan-Saipan Culture Exchange. His arrest, however, was tied to his position as head of an AV talent agency and a production company.

“The source of the problem was that the boyfriend of an AV actress on the roster of the talent agency managed by Nagumo contacted a lawyer about her being forced to perform in a film,” continues the aforementioned fuzoku writer. “He then consulted with the Harajuku Police Station.”

The issue of coercion in the industry began in June, when police busted three AV-related companies for forcing an actress to perform in a production shot outdoors in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Decline in AV industry

Aoi of soapland Latin Quarter in Yoshiwara
Aoi of soapland Latin Quarter in Yoshiwara

In the case against Nagumo, officers began by accusing him of prostitution, believing that assembling evidence for coercion will take some time.

“Since Nagumo is believed to have dispatched several actresses from his agency (to the bathhouses), the investigation will probably turn towards applying violations under the Temporary Staffing Services Law,” says the aforementioned local news reporter.

Women working two jobs is a function of the depressed state of the AV industry, says Atsuhiko Nakamura, the author of the book “Women With No Names,” a look at the estimated 6,000 actresses who enter the industry annually.

According to Nakamura, the decline in sales that began about 10 years ago has limited the viability of being an AV actress as a profession for women — meaning, they need side work to survive. “For the talent agencies, they, too, are finding that dispatching girls to high-end soapland bathhouses is a good way to generate revenue,” the author says.

Source: “Yoshiwara soopurando no don ga Harajuku-sho ni taiho sareta riyu,” Friday (Nov. 4, pages 78-79)

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.

Facebook Comments
Tantra