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Nagoya ‘health’ shops give lip service to deflation

Spa! Mar. 18-25
Spa! Mar. 18-25

Over the past decade, Japan’s adult entertainment industry has been battered by crackdowns by police and the ongoing deflationary economic environment.

In spite of such setbacks, Spa! (Mar. 18-25), which this week offers a comprehensive report on the nation’s top red-light districts, says that Nagoya’s famous “health” establishments are maintaining fine form. (For the uninitiated in Japan’s fuzoku lingo 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, with a special wrinkle unique to Nagoya: no kissing.)

According to the tabloid, Nagoya has 300 shops outfitted with private rooms. Prices vary depending on the time of day, but customers can generally get in and out (so to speak) for as little as 10,000 yen — a price point that has not budged in 15 years.

“Health businesses are entrenched interests in the Nagoya,” says employee at a fuzoku advertising firm. “A newcomer would have to purchase an existing company. As a result, there is little competition, which means customers do not get great value for the price.”

Attempts at change have taken place. Much like the Nishi Kawaguchi red-light district (in Saitama Prefecture), Nagoya saw an upsurge in honban services (shops offering full sex). But the trend didn’t last. Neither did the “pink salon” — specifically the “campus pub” variation.

About a decade ago, campus pub establishments opened in great numbers around Nagoya Station. With charges much lower than health establishments, campus pubs, which promote themselves under a number of themes, including girls in costumes, were attempting to bring competition. However, police initiated a crackdown around the time of Expo 2005.

“Speculation swirled that large-name companies complained that the neon signs of the establishments were visible from the platform of the Shinkansen (bullet train) at Nagoya Station,” says the aforementioned fuzoku ad employee.

The aforementioned cameraman says that a company from Osaka is attempting to enter the market with a business model that includes high-end massage services. But for the most part changes down the line are looking to be few and far between.

“In Nagoya, it is business as usual with the old-school fuzoku shops,” says the aforementioned cameraman.

But no kissing, remember, absolutely no kissing. (K.N.)

Source: “Herusu no seichi okoku to yobareta gai ni ha no kyutai izen fuzoku taishitsu,” Spa! (Mar. 18-25, page 35)