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Carnal desire and survival at Tohoku evacuation centers

Shukan Shincho May 5-12
Shukan Shincho May 5-12

After disaster strikes, issues related to food supply, clothing availability, and acceptable shelter are known to be of top concern. Shukan Shincho (May 5-12), however, adds that carnal pleasures are not far behind — even following the Great East Japan Earthquake in March, in which some Tohoku evacuees have been struggling to find places for intimate activities.

The city of Otsuchicho, Iwate Prefecture, whose number of deceased and missing persons totals 1,700 (one of whom is the mayor), has members of the Japan Self-Defense Force, police officers, and fire department personnel on the ground making strides in finding victims in the midst of heavily damaged and burned buildings.

At one street corner, the magazine’s reporter sees two elementary school boys looking around. Perhaps they are looking for their parents or lost items? When asked, they said, “Juhachikin.”

They were looking for what?

The reporter thought they could be referring to gold items, as in 18-karat jewelry, which in Japanese is rendered juhachikin (18金). But after one of the boys produced an adult video DVD titled “Married Women In Their 30s,” it was clear that they meant 18禁, which means illegal for those under 18 years of age. “Life in the evacuation center is boring,” said one of the boys, a bit embarrassed. “So we like to watch this at our secret fort.”

For a survey of adult activities, the magazine went to a love hotel in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. “We resumed our businesses two weeks after March 11,” said an employee. “In the beginning, families utilized our short-stay options priced at 3,000 yen. They didn’t have baths where they were staying, so they came to use one here. But the number of couples have since increased. Many are from evacuation sites. There has been a 50-percent increase for short-stay uses compared to before the quake.”

But access to a love hotel is a luxury.

“A 23-year-old guy I know lost his home in the tsunami,” says a woman in her 20s from Natori City, near Sendai. “His girlfriend is staying at a separate evacuation site from him. They had been visiting back and forth, but she told me she couldn’t hold it after a week, and since prefab toilets are too dirty and unpleasant and the outdoors too cold, they borrowed their parents car and did it on the passenger seat.”

And after hearing another story from a mid-20s female evacuee, whose sister and husband got it on one evening during a visit at her Natori evacuation center, Shukan Shincho affirms that two kanji characters pronounced sei — 生 (living) and 性 (sexuality) — indeed cannot be separated.

Source: “Kasetsu rabu hoteru mo hitsuyo ni naru hinanjo no sei,” Shukan Shincho (May 5-12, pages 58-59)