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Tax evasion bust sheds light on popularity of Korean clubs in Akasaka

Tokyo police have been cracking down on Korean clubs in Akasaka this year
Tokyo police have been cracking down on Korean clubs in Akasaka this year

According to an indictment filed with the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday, 53-year-old Chang Mi Young, the former manager of club Serenade Akasaka, had evaded roughly 120 million yen in taxes between 2011 and last year.

Until it closed in November of last year, the club featured Korean hostesses, which, according to Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 28), is a sure way to make easy money — but not stay out from under the eye of law enforcement.

At its peak, Serenade Akasaka was an A-list gathering point for Japanese and Korean celebrities and industrialists.

The club had prices to match its high-end clientele. A seating charge required 20,000 yen, while one bottle of booze went for a whopping 30,000 yen. The price for small snacks started at 10,000 yen.

At one point, Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s leader between 1994 to 2011, frequented the club.

“He passed through around 2000, and I have heard he was very gentlemanly,” says a regular.

Serenade Akasaka began more than a decade ago. In previous incarnations it was known by such names as New Serenade and Seranade. It opened in its latest form in August of 2011.

Business boomed. Until it shut, Serenade Akasaka had collected 700 million yen in revenue while employing up to 40 hostesses.

The citation by tax officials is the latest of many moves by authorities against Korean clubs in Akasaka this year. On at least three occasions, officers have arrested employees at two clubs for a number of immigration violations.

According to Nikkan Gendai, the offerings at Serenade Akasaka may have been the best of the bunch.

“It didn’t have karaoke,” says a person with knowledge of the Korean club scene in Akasaka. “Instead it had a lavish electronic organ.”

But instead of music, many regulars came to leave with the girls.

“It had some real beauties, and they weren’t working there as part-timers; they were what you would call ‘professionals,'” says the Korean insider.

The club offered “special entertainment” by these ladies to guests if they paid good money.

“There were a lot of patrons who became addicted,” says the source.

Source: “Datsuzei de kokuhatsu mo kayotta Akasaka kankoku kurabu arakaseki no wake,” Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 28)