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‘Abenomics’ not raising low-end prostitution prices in Tokyo

Shukan Post June 28
Shukan Post June 28

In May, Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men’s entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), said that “Abenomics” had caused a spike in prices at high-end soapland bathhouses in Tokyo.

However, the same editor tells Shukan Post (June 28) that the initiative — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to raise government spending in an effort to boost prices — is not impacting the low-end market in the same way.

“Because of Abenomics the high-end shops are making a killing for sure,” says Ikoma. “But lines of people are waiting in front of the dirt-cheap joints. A price of 5,000 yen is now the benchmark.”

This dichotomy is termed “Awanomics,” in which awa (or bubble) has taken the place of the prime minister. Ikoma says that a price war is unfolding for the early-bird market in Yoshiwara, Japan’s largest brothel quarter, which is located in Tokyo’s Taito Ward.

According to Ikoma, after one shop started offering 30 minutes of services for 6,000 yen to customers arriving before 7 a.m., a rival establishment matched the price and conditions.

“Both shops are cheaper than that offered in the ‘health’ industry,” says Ikoma, referring to what is effectively the market for non-coital sex services, “and by daybreak, a long line has formed. It’s a new hot spot in Yoshiwara.”

For those wishing to extend, soaplands offering 50-minute courses for 10,000 yen are also operating in Yoshiwara. Meanwhile, Violence, located in the Ikebukuro entertainment area, offers customers 50 minutes of foamy fun for 11,500 yen between 7 and 8 a.m.

It is a popular spot. “It is natural to have to wait three hours,” assures Ikoma.

In Gotanda, there is Happiness Tokyo, a soapland that serves customers between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at a rate of 13,000 yen for 50 minutes.

From a cost performance perspective, clubs in the aforementioned health industry cannot be topped. The Thank You chain, which has more than 10 outlets in Tokyo, provides customers entry at a rate of 3,900 yen for 30 minutes.

“These joints mainly offer hand- and blow-jobs and non-penetration sex,” says Ikoma, “and make no mistake regarding the quality — even writers covering the trade come away fully satisfied.”

Plus, health clubs are now attracting rather young attendants. “Girls in their 20s are treating the job just as if they were working at a family restaurant or convenience store,” the editor assures, “and some of them are absolutely adorable.”

Source: “Fuzoku gyokai de no nikyokuka gensho ga ‘awanomikusu’ to yobareteiru,” Shukan Post (June 28, page 167)