In the summer of 1994, Ero Dokusho Fuzoku opened for business in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district. Its methodology was unique: male customers, who paid 20,000 yen for a 60-minute session, were sexually stimulated as they observed expressions of embarrassment or consternation on the faces of a young female as she read aloud to them from a pornographic novel.
One such literary passage, as described in Nikkan Gendai (June 27), might go, “As a single, transparent drop of dew dripped from her petals, he thrust his finger into her vagina, producing a squishing sound.”
Such lurid language was usually sufficient to cause the female staffer to blush hotly. And enough, the article suggests, to give male customers an instant woody.
Some customers then proceeded to tease the women with purposely raunchy remarks like, “Wow, that really got you sopping wet, didn’t it?”
Finally at the climax of the contracted period came a session of oral sex.
Did this literary smut shop attract many customers? Indeed it did. Soon after its opening in fact, gents were often faced with waits of up to two hours — during which, presumably, they would peruse the porn they’d brought with them in pursuit of potently prurient passages.
So what was it then, that caused such a popular shop to fail? First, Nikkan Gendai explains, after a short time on the job the girls were no longer embarrassed to read the raunchy parts, and their initially nervous voices began to take on the flat, neutral tone of a TV news announcer. The customers, too, were horny enough without literary stimulation and many insisted on getting right down to the nitty-gritty, pulling off the girls’ garments before they even made it to “Once upon a time” — and thereby making the shop essentially no different from any other jerk-off joint.
The straw that broke Clyde the Camel’s back, however, was the toxic gas attack on the Tokyo subways by members of a religious cult in March 1995.
“Men were scared that another gas attack might occur and avoided taking the subways on their days off, which really cut into the business,” recalls its former operator.
In the wake of the sarin incident, customers continued to decline, and by 1996 the shop had closed for good, making this a classic case of books to bust. (K.S.)
Source: “Sarin jiken de haigyo ni oikomareta ero dokusho fuzoku,” Nikkan Gendai (June 27 page 27)