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Auction house for ‘desperate housewives’ a big turnoff for bidders

Nikkan Gendai August 15
Nikkan Gendai August 15
Creatively inspired “pink” businesses are constantly popping up in Japan. Some of them captivate males and manage hit the jackpot, but inevitably problems crop up, and even the most successful of them lose momentum and fail within a few years.

In the latest installment of its long-running series, “Ano fuzoku wa naze kieta no ka?” (Why did that sex shop vanish?), Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 15) looks at an establishment in Tokyo’s Uguisudani district that specialized in white slave auctions of housewives.

The Hitozuma Auction Club, which opened in 2002, was said to have been inspired by a TV show called “Manee no Tora” (a tiger for money) that featured contestants willing to do practically anything to obtain money for their own business start-ups.

To pique customers’ curiosity, the club’s management posted such promotional slogans as, “You can assist a hard-up wife, and teach her about how rough it can be to engage in enko (“compensated dating,” i.e., prostitution).

Club customers paid 5,000 yen for admission, upon which they received a profile of the “merchandise” on which bidding was about to take place — invariably a married woman. They were each given up to five minutes to visit the woman’s room and ask her questions, but during this time, to heighten the drama, they were not able to view her face.

After preparations were complete, the bids were opened and the highest bidder received the “merchandise,” which usually amounted to a two-hour session during which intercourse was a given. The average fee for such encounters came to around 20,000 yen.

Unfortunately the bidders often found to their dismay they had purchased something so pudgy she failed to measure up to their expectations, and such exchanges ensued as, “You’re not worth that much. Give me a discount.”

To which the bloated broad would blubber, “I’m leaving!” and run from the room.

Most of the wives at these auctions were truly hard up, with families on the verge of defaulting on home mortgages. Trolling for sympathy (and possible tips), the women let loose with a litany of lachrymose stories, causing customers to lose whatever lust they might have felt. Naturally few ever came back for a second visit. A reviewer writing for a weekly magazine went so far as to describe the club as “Japan’s gloomiest sex shop.”

Only eight months after it first opened, the wife auction club in Uguisudani saw itself going once, going twice . . . and the gavel finally fell for the final time. (K.S.)

Source: “Zaisekijo no fuko de kyaku ga nigeta ‘hitozuma ookushon kurabu,'” Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 15, page 12)