Following a succession of busts in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 2) says that these are tough times for proprietors of Korean hostess clubs.
“There was a time when a Korean hostess club was considered high end,” says a fuzoku writer, which is to say a person with knowledge of the sex trade. “To take a girl off the premises would cost at least 50,000 yen. But now with the busts for work-related violations customers have become hesitant.”
According to the article, the beginning of law enforcement activities was in the fall of last year, when cops busted a club in Tokyo’s Akasaka district.
On November 21 of this year, officers raided Club Garo, located in Chiba City’s Chuo Ward, and arrested three female employees for immigration violations.
That same month, Tokyo Metropolitan Police busted host club Loco, located in the Kabukicho red-light district, for licensing irregularities.
“Because of the busts, business is down between 30 and 40 percent in Kabukicho,” says the aforementioned writer. “If this drags on, clubs will eventually go out of business.”
The busts are not the only reason for the drop in customers. Rising anti-Japan sentiments in Korea — particularly in regard to the “comfort women” issue of World War II — are also a factor.
“A lot of customers want to take the girls to a love hotel, but some would prefer to avoid seeing a modern version of the enslaved prostitute,” says the manager of a club in Kabukicho.
The desire to create a wholesome environment prior to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo is another factor. “The guide services will not even deal with Korean clubs,” says the same manager.
Kansai is also feeling the pinch. “From Soemoncho to Mitsudera that is known as ‘International Street’ as foreign clubs are packed into that area,” says a club employee in Osaka’s Minami entertainment district. “But the number of Korean clubs has been dropping sharply.”
The employee adds that there are some high-end gals available but a “dangerous” atmosphere lingers. “As of now, the trend is to hit up Philippine pubs or Russian clubs,” says the source.
Shukan Jitsuwa says that payback for nationalism can have a steep price. (A.T.)
Source: “Aitsugu taiho de kankodori! Kanto & Kansai tsuredashi Korian kurabu ga himei,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 2, page 49)