One of the growing pangs of gender equality in the workplace was that quite a few male employees didn’t take kindly to being browbeaten by bossy bitches. In fact they found it humiliating.
The club charged 25,000 yen for a 60-minute session in which male customers could dole out “punishment” to M-jo, as females assuming the role of masochist are termed.
With so many stressed-out salarymen sorely needing to work off steam from their workplace, business boomed.
But a problem soon surfaced. Proper SM play requires a certain amount of finesse. To wit, one needs to know just where to draw the line between theatrics and genuine pain.
Unfortunately all too many novices who called on the club were determined to release their pent-up frustrations by doling out vigorous abuse, and occasionally they went overboard. Sometimes, for example, when fastening dog collars to girls’ necks and ordering them to crawl and cringe, they’d strap them on so tightly the girls had difficulty breathing.
Or perhaps a well deserved spanking involved swats delivered so vigorously the gals’ posteriors festered with painful red welts.
A few customers even got so carried away they would mete out kicks to the women’s abdomens or deliver hard slaps to their faces.
Not surprisingly, the management of Itaburi Club found it hard to retain quality human resources under such punishing conditions.
In December 1995, something even worse occurred. A worker at a rival SM shop in Gotanda decided she’d had enough abuse and, grabbing a butterfly knife, she lashed out at her shop’s owner and manager. Their wounds proved fatal.
Reports of the knife killings caused SM clients to think twice before dispensing such abuse, and Itaburi Club found itself bereft of business.
In March 1996, callers to the shop’s telephone were told the number was no longer in service.
“The year we opened, 1995, was a year when all kinds of terrible things happened in Japan, from the Hanshin Earthquake to the gas attack on the Tokyo subways and the SM club murders,” Itaburi Club’s former proprietor recalled to Nikkan Gendai.
“I was unlucky. If I had opened for business a year later, things might have gone differently.” (K.S.)
Source: “Satsujin jiken de kyaku-ashi ga gekigen shita’ Itaburi Kurabu,'” Nikkan Gendai (June 13, page 28)