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Arrest reflects Japan’s interest in ‘modified’ Korean men

The crumbling Korean won has lured numerous new-halfs to Japan
The crumbling Korean won has lured numerous new-halfs to Japan

This month’s arrest of the Korean manager of a transvestite club for employing staff without appropriate visas is evidence of Japan’s increasing interest in surgically alerted men from its nearby neighbor, reports Nikkan Gendai (Apr. 24).

Takeshi Kanai, 61, of no fixed address, was cited for staffing so-called “new-half” club Shemale-X, located near JR Shin Okubo station in Shinjuku Ward’s Hyakunincho district, with two Korean employees holding short-term visas — a violation of labor laws.

The daily reports that the two staff members are males: 33-year-old Haru and 37-year-old Jun. Police were alerted to the club after investigating Jun on suspicion of prostitution. He had been found loitering in the nearby Kabukicho entertainment quarter.

Yet, Nikkan Gendai says, he couldn’t be arrested for soliciting same-sex prostitution, under Japanese law, and therefore was rung up for immigration violations.

“Shemale-X has been in the business for around 10 years,” said a person familiar with the investigation. “So it is one of the older clubs around. They have 10 new-halfs, with roughly half being Japanese and Korean, and 100 regular customers. The fee for ‘full service’ is 25,000 yen for 90 minutes. Of that, 14,000 yen will go to the prostitute.”

With monthly revenues reportedly at 3 million yen and a reputation in the industry as a top club, regular fuzoku scribe Yasuhiro Ebina believes that the figure was intentionally under-reported — a tactic that made them a target of police activities. He also says that since last fall the crumbling Korean won has lured numerous new-halfs to Japan.

“Because Korea is very skilled in plastic surgery, there are a lot of men who have been significantly modified — including on the inside — and this has also fueled the boom,” says the writer.

He explains that the guys have been injected with high volumes of female hormones. “This makes their skin more silky and smooth than a sub-par fuzoku girl,” Ebina adds.

The popularity of new-half Japanese celebrities, such as Ai Haruna, has boosted interest. “The result has been a surge in demand for these kinds of men,” the writer tells the daily, which then supposes that the new-half adult industry might indeed be recession-proof.