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Tokyo’s Kabukicho revives its ‘ero’ spirit

Shukan Gendai Dec. 21
Shukan Gendai Dec. 21

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, adult-entertainment businesses in Tokyo suffered due to a lack of foot traffic.

However, a photographer who regularly patrols the Kabukicho red-light district in Tokyo provides Shukan Gendai (Dec. 21) with a seven-page photo spread showing that the good times are back — evidenced by the drunken revelry unfolding out in public on a regular basis.

“There’ll be women who drink until they are incapable of understanding what is going on around them,” says Fuji Koyama, who has spent roughly 20 years patrolling the area’s gritty streets to shoot sex workers, club touts and other denizens.

According to the photos, police officers apprehend some of the women. In one scene, a girl in black stockings, no shoes and sunglasses is pinned to the pavement by two officers, while two other members of law enforcement try to haul another flailing her legs into the back of a squad car. Still more are seen being treated by medical personnel or lying on the ground as an official attempts a consultation.

But yet others are vulnerable to predators. “Guys who don’t know each other will work as a team to ‘take care of’ (drunken women),” says the photographer.

In many instances, that means carting them off to a love hotel. Pairs of men are seen grabbing the arms and legs of women to pick them off the pavement. In one scene, a man attempts to pry a woman sprawled over a downed bicycle.

“After the earthquake, things were quiet,” says Koyama. “But this year, that changed. There are many people exhibiting sexually charged behavior in the streets.”

Koyama’s collection shows men reaching under skirts, fondling chest areas and escorting women down the street who have their underwear exposed.

It is a lawless, erotic district…

The photographer says, “Many people are describing Kabukicho as having an ‘ero bubble’ under way.”

Source: “Shinjuku Kabukicho 24ji,” Shukan Gendai (Dec. 21, special photo section)