For lack of a better phrase, things had reached a boiling point.
Over the past year, a number of complaints had been lodged with the management of the Fudo no Yu onsen and a local tourism organization about groups of bathers repeatedly engaging in a number of highly lewd acts, some of which were filmed.
As a result, the mixed-bathing facility in Nasushiobara City, Tochigi Prefecture closed down on June 1.
Thus far, most news outlets have offered few details on what transpired during the steamy sessions. But evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (June 2) says it was venue used for partner-swapping whose popularity grew due to information appearing on the Internet.
“Guys would bring their wives or girlfriends to show off in the open-air bath,” says a local employee in the tourism industry. “They’d receive a blow-job or full sex right there in front of strangers. In some cases, swapping would take place. One guy might playfully demand to another: ‘Rape my wife.'”
Male participants were dubbed “wani,” meaning crocodile, a reference to how they targeted the female bathers.
“Much as a crocodile pursues his prey by gliding on the top of a river with only his eyes at the surface, these guys would seek out peeks at the naked women,” says the same source.
A member of the Shiobara Hot Springs Resort Association, Fudo no Yu afforded an impressive view of a wooded near the Hoki River. On a typical weekend, up to 60 hot springs enthusiasts arrived to enjoy the baths.
The entry fee of 200 yen was paid on an honor system, and the hot springs generally operated without managerial supervision. Such a lax policy may have contributed to its downfall.
“The number of families becoming shocked after viewing such debauchery really escalated,” says the tourism employee.
Other issues included the shooting of adult videos and the taking of tosatsu (voyeur) photographs of other bathers. Compounding the matter was that some of the illicit footage wound up on the Internet. According to Nikkan Gendai, the fun went on for 10 years.
Such problems have not been limited to Fudo no Yu. A foot bath on the same site was also shut down. As well, use of the onsen Momiji no Yu is now restricted to the daytime.
Taizo Ebina, a writer who covers the fuzoku (sex-related) trade, says he knows of erotic antics also occurring at a hot springs in Saitama Prefecture. He tells the paper perverted guys will shave the pubic hair of their wives and pleasure them with sex toys.
But it appears to be all in the name of good, clean fun.
“At one point, a wani may conceal his nether area to his wife, who will in turn express feigned shock,” says Ebina. “Then upon the careful unveiling, much as if it were a religious ceremony, she’ll show tremendous excitement.”
In addition to its lascivious side, such an onsen trip could also prove to be fairly lucrative.
“On the Internet, traders buy nude shots of a girlfriend taken at an open-air bath at a rate of 50 for 2,000 yen,” assures Ebina. (A.T.)
Source: “Heisa no konyoku roten mo… onsen-gai ni manen suru ero koi ‘wani’ tte?” Nikkan Gendai (June 2)