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Cops bust Osaka gay theater owner, male strippers

Umeda Rose Theater
“Been there, done that” is a handy way of expressing that one has already experienced the topic under discussion.

Not too many individuals are wont to openly admit they have ever been to the now-defunct Umeda Rose Theater in Osaka’s Kita Ward. And it’s easy to see why.

In addition to its regular showings of gay films, Umeda Rose featured male strippers. And it apparently packed ’em in, with a full house of about 70 patrons, at the time its 77-year-old owner, Tatsuro Komada, and seven others, including several male strippers, were cuffed and read their rights by the local constabulary.

As reported in Nikkan Gendai (Oct. 17), the theater had a two-decade long history of specializing in gay films. But for four days out of every month it deviated from its usual entertainment, and instead of the 1,700-yen charge to view movies, it featured live strip performances for which it charged admission of 2,600 yen.

These four days of strip performances apparently brought in quite a bit of revenues.

“The dancers wore ultra-thin tights that highlighted their crotches,” a local journalist tells the tabloid. “The dancers would come on stage for three 40-minute-long gigs between the movie showings. They’d masturbate before the audience or one would perform oral sex on the other. It attracted gay fans all the way from Tokyo.”

Performers’ remuneration was a miserly 100,000 yen for the four days, the reporter tells Nikkan Gendai.

“Umeda Rose is famous as a pick-up spot for gays,” he added. “They would pair off in alleyways behind the theater or in dark corners to kiss or fondle each other.

“Some customers would go there once or twice a week.”

With its operator and performers facing public obscenity charges, Umeda Rose is currently hors de combat. Which, for many of Osaka’s aging queens, may mean many more long, lonely nights.

Source: “Osaka no homo sutorippu gekijo tekihatsu,” Nikkan Gendai (Oct. 17, 2008, page 7)