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The dark side of Tokyo’s most desirable neighborhood

Shukan Jitswau Mar. 21
Shukan Jitswau Mar. 21

At around 1:55 a.m. on Feb. 28, Arisa Yamada, returning from her home in Kichijoji, Musashino City, was assaulted on the street in an attempted robbery. Stabbed multiple times by two assailants, the 22-year-old died from her wounds.

Police detained an 18-year-old Japanese male and a youth of Romanian nationality on theft and murder charges.

Shukan Jitsuwa (Mar. 21) reports that while Kichijoji was recently ranked as the most desirable place to live in the capital by real estate site Suumo the district has a distinct dark side.

“Kichijoji has major department stores lined up near the station that are surrounded by trendy boutiques and eateries,” says a reporter for a nationwide paper. “Its transportation infrastructure is also good as one can easily reach Shibuya and Shinjuku. Youngsters frequent the area because it is considered fashionable and trendy.”

Superficial impressions can be deceiving, says the magazine.

“Adult-entertainment businesses have been in place for a long time,” says a writer at a sports newspaper who covers the fuzoku trade, which is the commercial sex industry. “Men on a budget head to ‘pink’ salons for their oral sex services at extremely affordable prices. A long queue will form in the mornings in front of some of these establishments, whose staff members are comprised of cute college girls.”

There are many colleges situated in the greater Kichijoji vicinity, so the quality of the working talent to tends to be rather high, says the tabloid.

A street scout says that college girls loiter in the area, which makes them easy to approach. “Given the tough economy,” says the scout, “their reliance on their parents is limited. So we are able to refer them to underground work.”

“Underground,” of course, refers to the sex trade.

“After the midnight, scouts start to appear in the alleys behind the department stores,” says the aforementioned fuzoku writer. They’ll guide clients to eateries where the girls can be taken off the premises for 20,000 yen. There are a lot of love hotels conveniently located in this area for this purpose.”

On top of that, Shukan Jitsuwa says that there are also services where girls ply the sex trade at Internet cafes and via online dating sites.

Law enforcement is frustrated by the murder.

“We had just strengthened police forces in the area for the recent gang shooting,” says an individual affiliated with the investigation, “and now this stabbing happens.” (K.N.)

Source: “‘Sumitai machi 1i’ ha joshi daisei sukauto kako no chi shisatsu jiken ga okita Kichijoji ni habikoru ura fuzoku jijyo,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Mar. 21, page 44)