Tokyo’s Ikebukuro the latest hunting ground for bottakuri scammers

Spa! Oct. 15-22
Spa! Oct. 15-22

Upon exiting an izakaya restaurant in Ikebukuro, 33-year-old office worker Yosuke Nakanishi (a pseudonym) and five colleagues were summoned among the entertainment area’s hustle and bustle.

“Hey, buddy,” said a voice on the street. “Are you interested in a titty pub for 6,000 yen?”

Nakanishi tells Spa! that with the last train still a ways off the group agreed that 6,000 yen seemed like a reasonable amount to pay for a final stop for the night.

Thus begins a tale of how scams termed bottakuri, meaning to rip-off, are being carried out in and around JR Ikebukuro Station.

They were then directed to a nondescript, multi-tenant building about a five-minute walk from the station’s West Exit. The article assigns the name of the business to be simply M.

“The elevator opened on the designated floor and there was a sign taped to the very unattractive front door that announced ‘membership system,'” he says. “From there, we each paid 6,000 yen to a bearded guy with a rather intimidating demeanor.”

Nakanishi says that with a clear head he would have thought twice about entering such a place but the power of alcohol, consumed at the izakaya, had dropped his defenses.

The interior was bland, something similar to a low-end kyabakura (hostess club). Without any music playing, the group found this to be a rather strange oppai pabu (topless bar) as they squeezed into a booth.

After waiting 20 minutes without being served, a woman appeared. In broken Japanese, she said, “How about leaving here for a date outside?”

The coworkers then realized that something was up. Nakanishi knew that such services featuring Chinese women existed in the Kabukicho red-light district of Shinjuku, but this was a first for him in Ikebukuro.

“After she said the price was 30,000 yen, I thought we would just have one here and split,” he says. “But the intimidating guy with the beard said the official price is 36,000 yen and that we’d have to pay 30,000 yen to leave.”

This story has a happy ending as the group was able to successfully leave the premises after protesting the additional fees.

Spa!, however, hears from another man who visited same establishment but whose evening did not end in a similar fashion.

“A guy called out to me asking if I wanted to hit a pub staffed with adult video actresses for 10,000 yen,” says the man, who is in his 30s. “So I was I taken to the shop, where I was told I had to pay more and take a girl outside.”

Sensing a negative environment, he moved to leave. “But they demanded, ‘Pay the difference!” he says. “I relented and got stuck with an old Chinese hag.”

According the article, M has also presented itself as a “happening bar” and “high-end club” via touts working Ikebukuro’s streets.

With year-end parties around the corner, one must be especially cautious when making merry, Spa! reminds its readers. (K.N.)

Source: “Ikebukuro de akushitsu na bottakuri higai ga kyuzochu,” Nikkan Spa! (Web)

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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  1. This happened to me in Fukuoka with Chinese girls, too. I left angrily and only paid 1000 ¥ for the drink I had.

    • You DRANK something served by a violently-demeanoured foreign extortion outfit that demanded you pay $300 for the right to go home, presumably hinting you might otherwise have to go to hospital first…?

      Baaad bad idea.

      True “roofies” that both knock out and destroy memory reliably may be rare, but stuff like benzos/ambien/bloodpressure meds/allergy meds/etcetc mixed with alcohol will do the knocking out part easy enough. Some, like clonidine, will literally drop you mid-sentence, with no prior hint at all…and not like alcohol, where if you focus you might regain control – with blood pressure meds, by the time you feel it, you’re DONE. Might get off a single-vowel scream, maybe – but youll just trip once, and be all blacked out before you hit the floor. Pain of breaking something on a bad landing wont wake you either…and some less fortunate folk dont wake up at all.

      Or, for those victims unlucky enough to be women, they might or might not wake up, but even if they do, it doesnt mean anybody will ever see them again.

      You got lucky. Reaaaal lucky.

      Have gotten robbed like above myself as a youth, slightly different scam but same general idea of “guy at drinking establishment lures you away to hell knows there promising a party of some sort” (wasnta strip bar though, woke up middle of the day alone at some food place’s outdoor chairs, missing a bunch of belongings and no clue where I was…heavy headed but not with a hangover)

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