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Tallying the bottom line for Tokyo women in the sex trade

Shukan Jitsuwa Dec. 17
Shukan Jitsuwa Dec. 17

The “elite” of Japan’s sex industry used to be the gals who slither in suds at deluxe soaplands.

During better times, says 27-year-old Azusa, a “foam princess” could earn as much as 500,000 yen a day. But the big-spend bubble has been pricked, and these days pickings are slim.

“We work on a commission basis, so no customers means no money,” she tells Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 17). “The shop guarantees 30,000 yen per diem for us to show up. But when business is slow the number of girls on duty are cut. So even if we want to work we can’t. Anyway, there’s no demand.”

To win back clients, some soaps have begun offering an increasingly rough-and-tumble range of services heretofore unavailable. These would include soku-shaku and soku-beddo (on-the-spot oral sex and intercourse as soon as the patron enters the room); the usual matto play atop an air mattress; and bareback rides.

“We’re with the customer for 120 minutes, and must undergo strict training in customer etiquette from start to finish,” says Azusa. “I think jobs at ‘image clubs’ and ‘fashion health’ [erotic massage] parlors are a lot easier, both physically and psychologically.”

These days Azusa clears 750,000 yen in a 15-day month — a figure masseuses at soaplands once earned in just two days during better times.

Now the real money is to be made at a type of super-soft establishment called onakura (short for onanii kurabu), where girls disrobe but are not even touched by patrons. All they need do is sit there and observe as the customer masturbates.

Monthly earnings, the magazine says, run as high as 3 million yen.

But admission to an onakura is cheap: customers pay just 4,000 yen for a 20-minute session, of which the female employee receives half. So at a maximum of, say, 6,000 yen per hour, how can a girl possibly earn so much?

The magic word is “options.”

“Onakura shops offer as many as 50 different types of extra services,” explains the publisher of a magazine that runs ads for such shops. “For example, the girl will put on a costume for an additional 1,500 yen, give a hand job for 2,000 yen, a foot job for 1,000 yen, salivate on the customer for 2,000 yen, let the customer sniff at her armpit or toes for 2,000 yen, and so on.”

And the girl is entitled to pocket the full amount from whatever options she sells.

Then there are illegal sex operations such as “date clubs” (bars where the hostesses accompany male patrons to a hotel), where sex workers keep 60 percent of the take, or about 18,000 yen for two hours. At walk-in choi no ma (quickie joints), the women receive 70 percent, or about 7,000 yen per customer.

Many women take up the sex trade to pay off debts, and some live hand to mouth, literally and figuratively.

“These days I’m subsisting on cup noodles,” cackles Kei, a dominatrix at a Gotanda SM club. “Since I feel so stressed out, I have no choice but to take it out on those pathetic worms who come to the club.”

Source: “Fukyo de gekihen! Fuzokujo honkyuyomeisai wo daikokai,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 17, page 193)