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For corporate bribery, the soapland bubble is bursting

Hideyuki Tominaga
Hideyuki Tominaga

Earlier this month, Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Yusuku Saegusa, a 47-year-old manager at electronics company Kanaden, on charges of bribery.

Saegusa is alleged to have paid for visits to soapland bathhouses in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture on behalf of Hideyuki Tominaga, the 45-year-old head of the development division of Japan Freight Railway, who was also arrested.

Police contend that Kanaden was greasing Tominaga’s palm in order to more easily obtain construction work from Japan Freight Railway, whose corporate law requires employees to adhere to protocol similar to that of government workers.

However, reports Nikkan Gendai (April 17), the case is rarity as visits to soapland bathhouses as a means of corporate bribery are on the decline.

“For real estate agents entertaining top clients, there are a lot of cases in which the soapland is used,” says Eri Shiroi, a former awa hime, or foam princess.

The system goes like this: A 20,000-yen fee is paid to the bathhouse, and then another 40,000 yen goes to the masseuse as a tip.

“For that,” she adds, “the customer gets full sex — but using a soapland for business entertainment has been declining year by year.”

Without citing a specific reason, the paper says that honban-nashi establishments (in which the sexual activities are non-coital) are now popular.

According to erotic masseuse Ai Raburin, business entertainment revolves around the issuance of the ryoshusho, or stamped receipt that will dispel any suspicions on the part of tax authorities.

She says that standard practice is for the manager of, say, a “snack” hostess club to make a forged ryoshusho in the name of another business, perhaps a sweets or flower shop, in which he or she is well acquainted.

In Raburin’s experience, customers tend to have one trait in common: “Whether they be government workers or employees at construction companies, they are all stingy perverts,” she says, adding that some will ask for a blow-job on the house.

The masseuse has been shocked in the past to see ryoshusho receipts addressed for big-name government agencies in Tokyo.

“We’ll get more than 30 government workers in a month,” she says.

A soapland association in Kawasaki
A soapland association in Kawasaki

For the “delivery health” out-call trade, the manager of one such establishment tells the paper that pharmaceutical employees will frequently entertain clinicians with his girls.

Taizo Ebina, a writer covering the fuzoku (sex-related) trade, concurs with Raburin, saying that small-time companies short on cash are doing their entertaining at blow-job joints, like “pink salons.”

He adds that fear of contracting a venereal disease is another factor in the decline of the soapland.

“However, Europeans and Americans still enjoy visits to the bathhouses,” claims Ebina. “DVDs showing the skilful, full-sex services administered by Japan’s masseuses are popular souvenirs.” (A.T.)

Source: “Soopu shotai de shuwai taiho… geneki fuzoku-jo ga akasu nikuyoku settai jittai,” Nikkan Gendai (April 17)