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Despite motor city blues, Nagoya’s red lights still burn brightly

Shukan Asahi Geino Apr. 16
Shukan Asahi Geino Apr. 16
Since last autumn, when Toyota Motor Co. revised its projected operating profits downward by 1 trillion yen, the “Toyota Shock” has reverberated across Aichi Prefecture. The results of fiscal 2008 are expected to show a year-on decline in profits of 73.6 percent, sending shockwaves through financial markets.

One impact of this downturn has been the layoffs of large numbers of contract workers in Toyota affiliates and subcontractors.

Writing in the first of a two-part series in Shukan Asahi Geino (Apr. 16), Muneaki Hirano notes that until last year, Toyota’s prosperity had buoyed Nagoya’s economy, leading it to open Chubu International Airport in 2004 and host an world exposition the following year. The boom had also acted as a magnet for hookers from all over Japan. “I couldn’t earn a living in (Sapporo’s) Susukino, so I spent two weeks out of every month in Nagoya,” was how one Hokkaido gal put it.

The fashion health masseuse says Sapporo prices have fallen to as low as 1,000 yen per 10-minute increment.

But while the effects of the downturn are indeed being felt in other regions of Japan, Nagoya’s sex spots are apparently holding their own.

“At first we were resigned to a slump in the sex business but the current situation proved different,” Akira Tagawa, manager of deri heru (out-call service) Club Ryu no Ana (dragon’s den) tells Hirano. “The number of job candidates, both male and female, suddenly began increasing. A lot of the women were amateurs looking for work in the sex business for the first time, to support their unemployed husbands or boyfriends.”

“I was eating breakfast with a friend, and she told me she was on the way to a job interview at a sex shop, and suggested I come along,” says Mei, a 19-year-old former factory assembly worker. “We started work the same day. I took care of two customers and netted 30,000 yen.”

“I’d thought about this kind of work but to be honest, I was scared to try it,” Mei adds. “And I was pretty nervous with the first customers. But after three months I was having fun. Now I’m glad I quit that factory job. Since I started in the sex business I’ve become something of a slut,” she giggles.

The Asagei piece notes that sex businesses are providing employment for males as well as females. Tamotsu Yoshino, a 44-year-old father of four, was laid off from his factory job. After stints at a pachinko shop and delivering newspapers, he found employment at a massage parlor. Working a 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. shift six days a week, he cleans the cubicles, greets customers and runs various errands.

“Actually it’s not so bad,” says Yoshino. “The hardest part for me is overcoming my shyness. At a factory job you don’t get to encounter people.”

Shin Fukagawa, editor of Hot Heaven — a magazine covering Nagoya sex described as having the thickness of a telephone directory — is quoted as saying that while bars and pachinko shops may have gone out of business, some of the city’s more popular sex shops are thriving.

“I suppose the customers are attracted by the recent influx of fresh amateur girls starting to work there,” he says. “They work harder at keeping their jobs, so customers have high expectations in terms of the service and quality of female staff. As far as the shops’ regular patrons are concerned, these are the best of times.” (K.S.)

Source: “Jidosha fukyo to Nagoya fuzoku!” Shukan Asahi Geino (Apr. 16, page 188)