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Tokyo times: Old boys still wanna have fun

Sunday Mainichi Jan. 29
Sunday Mainichi Jan. 29

“It was five or six years ago that I first began to notice more elderly men were going to soaplands,” the unnamed artist, a resident of Tokyo’s former licensed brothel quarters for over half a century, tells Sunday Mainichi (Jan. 29). “At one shop near Ueno, I’d say about 60 percent of the customers are seniors.

“Once reaching the age where their members go soft, men in their 60s can still enjoy stimulating gals with their fingers and tongues,” the artist adds. “They pray to the god of the vagina. Just according it worship is enough to give them peace of mind.”

Kazuo Hoshino, manager of a fashion health massage shop, says his oldest regular client is 85, and he gets plenty of business from men in their 60s and 70s.

“There are those who enjoy ejaculating, and others who are just content to have a drink with a gal or take a bath together,” he says. “Some just take a bath and go home. That’s enough to satisfy any sexual urges that’s built up.”

At an apartment 10 minutes from Takadanobaba Station, seven women await customers. The standard rate is 18,000 yen for 60 minutes and 25,000 for 90 minutes. The prices haven’t changed since 2000.

“We absolutely don’t permit honban [intercourse] here,” says Hoshino. “I suppose the older guys are under less pressure. The system is only by reservation, so they are not made to feel uncomfortable by having to sit beside smug younger guys in the waiting room.”

“My customers are all gentlemen, who don’t try to force me to do things,” says one of the masseuses, a 36-year-old named Madoka. “I was laid off my regular job after last year’s nuclear power plant accident, and was worried that working in the sex industry would be rough, but the customers here are nice to me.”

Hoshino’s “box-type” shop faces increasing competition from deri heru out-call services, which, according to a 2011 National Police Agency white paper (pdf) on adult-entertainment businesses, nearly doubled in number from 8,936 in 2006 to 15,889 four years later.

One such business, named “Four-leaf Clover,” caters to customers from age 60 to 75. Among the services it offers is a “platonic course” for which customers pay 20,000 for two hours, during which the woman will accompany the client for a meal or to the cinema. Those on a tighter budget can opt for the 60-minute “calm down” course at 12,000 yen, which includes a hand job.

“Many customers opt for the platonic course and then afterwards extend for an additional hour with our “health course,” for 18,000 yen,” Takehiko Umeda, the manager, tells the magazine.

One 75-year-old widower is said to be fond of watching adult videos, during which time the lady will fondle his penis and murmur sweet nothings in his ear.

“I’m skeptical that people lose interest in sex as they become older,” says Umeda. “What will do it is sheer day-to-day boredom. With a change of pace and some stimulation, those old fellas will pep up.”

“Men who are now in their 60s were in their 20s and 30s during the 1970s and 80s, when sex in Japan became much more open,” says Kayoko Kageyama, author of a book titled “Sex, Media and the Sex Business.” “As long as age is no impediment, it shouldn’t be surprising that they patronize sex businesses.”

Source: “Koreisha to fuzoku saishin jijo,” Sunday Mainichi (Jan. 29, page 26)