TOKYO (TR) – Economic data released this week showed that Japan has entered a downtown that is deeper than initially feared, and even an industry once thought to be nearly recession-proof is feeling the pinch.
The stagnation has caused clubs and shops offering adult entertainment to shut their doors, resulting in a slump in advertising sales for publications catering to such establishments.
The chairman of publisher Creators Company Connection, Hiroharu Kimura, said in an interview last week that revenue from his two flagship titles has lagged substantially over the past year. “High-end places are closing,” said Kimura, whose annual group sales are over 20 billion yen. “Less expensive places are still open but because of the economy people are going out less, and when they do they are more careful about where they go.”
The chairman explained that Manzoku (700 yen), a magazine showcasing hundreds of young girls in bikinis who offer fuzoku (sex-related) services starting roughly at 15,000 yen for the first sixty minutes, has lost one third of its still hefty thickness over the past year. He added that revenue for his free entertainment guide Poke Para (Pocket Paradise), which is primarily geared to ads for much tamer host and kyabakura (cabaret) clubs, has sagged by twenty percent over the same period.
This week, in a revised report, the Japanese government stated that its economy, the second largest in the world, contracted an annualized 1.8 percent in the third quarter, a much more dire figure than the 0.4 percent reduction indicated in a previous report. This represents the second consecutive quarter of decline in GDP.
Further complicating matters for sleaze rags has been a recent police crackdown on adult establishments in some of Tokyo’s more infamous nightlife quarters, such as Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district. Bars, discos, and sex clubs have come under fire due to strict enforcement of the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses, which prohibits entertainment of customers after 1 a.m. — a provision that has been on the books since 1948 but until recently loosely enforced.
To compensate, Kimura is promoting his delivery health publication Deri Heru Manzoku (350 yen), which focuses on shozoku operations, or those with no location. The guide fits into a pocket and contains numerous profiles and photos with clearly marked prices and QR codes readable via a few clicks of a mobile phone, which can can then direct a desired lady to arrive at any location and at any time.
“The future is the Internet,” said the chairman.