Many regular readers of The Tokyo Reporter will remember Miho Wakabayashi, a 35-year-old stripper with experience in nyotaimori, or the serving of sushi on the naked torso of a female.
But likely very few knew that the Tokyo native graduated from the prestigious Tohoku University.
“When I was young I had a desire to join in the entertainment industry, but of course I faced a great deal of opposition,” Wakabayashi tells Flash (Oct. 28), which includes a photo of her diploma. “Wanting to live on my own, I chose Tohoku University to be far away from home. There, I joined a theater group, and to cover living expenses, I started working as a hostess part-time; it was my debut in the night trade.”
Like Wakabayashi, many graduates of top-tier institutions got their start in the fuzoku biz during school — a trend, according to the magazine, that is only escalating as money from home continues to wane.
A study from 2013 by the National Federation of University Co-operative Associations indicated that the average monthly stipend provided by parents to their children enrolled in institutions of higher learning dropped to 72,280 yen, a figure that stood at 102,240 yen in 1996.
Further troubling is a 2012 survey by the Japan Student Services Organization that revealed one out of three students relies entirely on parental support while going to school.
Representing Aoyama Gakuin University is Aoi, a jack of all trades in her 30s who has worked in the deri heru (“delivery health“) industry and at erotic massage parlors. She started her careeer later than many.
“For me, my first failure was divorce,” she says. “That resulted in me living alone. Before that, I was always conscious about how my parents viewed me or my public image, but that is not a concern now. Plus, I had always been longing to work in the underground world.”
Aoi now makes about 600,000 yen a month by working three to five days a week, which places her, according to a survey appearing in the article, in the upper 50 percent.
Airi, a 26-year-old graduate of Hosei University, ranks in the bottom half, earning 300,000 yen per month working four days a week at an onakura, or masturbation club.
According to the survey, a mere three percent earn between 1.5 million and two million yen.
For Wakabayashi, her multitude of talents garner her up to 500,000 yen monthly, but getting to this level has been quite a journey.
After graduating from Tohoku University, the sometimes adult video actress started working at a cancer center but later moved back to Tokyo, where she was scouted in the street. She subsequently started doing amateur modeling, which brought back dreams of show biz.
She took up stripping thereafter, but things subsequently escalated.
“I had heard about chon-no-ma” — a service consisting of a small establishment in which a woman lures passersby with a sultry pose beneath pink lights — “as a different kind of fuzoku business with a retro feel,” she says. “I became interested and thought I’d take a look. So I went to an interview in Koganecho, Yokohama.”
Meaning “short-time room,” the practice is intended for the male patron interested in a quick romp. According to Wakabayashi, she accommodated as 20 men daily, with each session — likely including honban (or full sex) — extending for a grand total of 15 minutes.
“It wasn’t for the money,” Wakabayashi says. “I did it out of curiosity.”
The manager of a deri heru joint in Tokyo with between 700 and 800 women on its books says that such an attitude is not unusual from today’s college co-eds.
“Compared to the past, the girls of today are not morally opposed to working in the fuzoku trade,” says the manager.
And demand does not appear to be dimming.
“Each month, we get around 100 applications but we wind up only taking between 20 and 30 percent of them, and those are the ones who have truly good looks,” says the manager. “For them, they might be highly educated but we don’t promote the name of their school.” (K.N.)
Source: “Fuzokuerito no iibun,” Flash (Oct. 28, pages 36-39)