Over the past decade, Japan’s adult entertainment industry has been battered by crackdowns and the ongoing deflationary economic environment.
In effort to assess the current state of the industry, weekly tabloid Spa! (Mar. 18-25) this week offers a comprehensive report titled “The Tectonic Earth Movement Map,” which compiles data and trends on a number of the nation’s top red-light districts.
Up until five or six years ago, the area had been known for its soapland establishments, where customers could get in and out for as little as 10,000 yen, and its “health” businesses, priced at a few thousand yen less.
(For the uninitiated in Japan’s fuzoku terminology a “health” shop — something of an all encompassing term that could be applied to out-call businesses or massage parlors — offers blow- and hand-jobs, while a soapland provides full sex.)
“Among Hokkaido ladies, jobs at soapland and herusu shops were popular,” says a local employee in the fuzoku trade. “It was due to the fact that they could obtain large salaries and enjoy an easy life later.”
However, times have changed. According to the aforementioned source, an increase in shops offering lower prices, such as out-call joints priced at a mere 2,000 yen for the first 20 minutes, has discouraged female employees.
The knock-on effect has been a decline in the quality of service and, consequently, the disappearance of customers — but to where?
“Small, out-call aesthetic salons priced at 30,000 yen are doing well,” says a local fuzoku writer. “The basic service is the hand-job, with one of the appealing points being the high quality of the girls. Only 10 percent of candidates arriving for interviews are subsequently hired.”
Models willing to turn tricks and high-end kyaba-jo hostesses are among those employed. But the real key to the popularity of the services is that a little added cash can go a long way.
“It depends on negotiation, but I provide honban services for an additional 10,000 yen,” says one masseuse, referring to full sex.
Spa! says that Sapporo’s fuzoku rates are lower in comparison to other parts of Japan, especially Tokyo, and the added bonuses can’t be beat.
“For a health service, honban is not rare,” she says. “But it is in fact unusual at an aesthetic salon. So I guess the customers are very happy in the end.” (K.N.)
Source: “Soopurando no gajo ni kakuyasu herusu to kokyu esute ga shobu,” Spa! (Mar. 18-25, page 34)