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Threats, forced prostitution, confinement: Tokyo host club busted

Manabu Fukushima
Manabu Fukushima

Unpaid debts, forced prostitution and a yakuza-like threat to remove a finger.

Indeed, the details of the crimes that lead to last week’s bust of a host club in Ikebukuro were like a something from the popular manga “Ushijima the Loan Shark,” says Nikkan Gendai (Feb. 28).

Officers took Manabu Fukushima, the 30-year-old manager of club A Member, his 31-year-old brother, his mother, 51-year-old Yukie Tsuchino, and six other suspects into custody for forcing approximately 90 women with unpaid bills into prostitution.

In one case, a 20-year-old woman provided sexual services to four male customers at love hotels in the Tokyo metropolitan area over a two-month period last year in order to pay back a debt of 1.25 million yen.

An investigator tells Nikkan Gendai that Fukushima referred the woman to a friend who runs an operation known by the term hotetoru, an old-school system that advertises with leaflets in public places, such as phone booths, and dispatches prostitutes to hotels.

“She worked for a month,” says the source. “But Fukushima claimed the amount she earned was merely enough to cover the interest on her debt. He apparently then spent her money.”

Unable to bear the situation any longer, the woman fled the dormitory furnished by the hotetoru establishment.

But Fukushima tracked her down, whereupon he kicked and beat her. “We’ll have to remove one of your fingers,” the suspect is alleged to have threatened.

To prevent further headaches, Fukushima considered selling the woman off to an onsen resort, where she could work as a companion. Attempts in this regard, however, fell through with an resort in Yamanashi Prefecture.

In the end, he turned to his mother, Yukie Tsuchino, who then held the woman captive at her home.

“Yukie conveyed the art of persuasion to the woman in how to get customers by cold calling,” says aforementioned investigator. “However, the woman was able to get a hold of a mobile phone and call her mother, who then alerted police about the confinement of her daughter.”

Cold calling? An onsen companion? Hotetoru? Certainly, the devilish behavior of Fukushima is schocking, says Nikkan Gendai, but what is perhaps equally surprising is that many of the hallmarks of the Showa Era (1926–1989) still remain today. (K.N.)

Source: “Haha oya to guru de hotetoru-jo wo kankin ikemen oni hosuto no gokuaku buri,” Nikkan Gendai (Feb. 28)