On the evening of April 4, 2012, officers from the Osaka Prefectural Police raided club Noon and arrested eight staff members.
The infraction? Dancing.
According to the nationwide Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses, clubs must have licenses to permit any hip shaking beneath a glitter ball. This can be complicated since the granting of a license requires clubs to adhere to a number of requirements related to the interior of the establishment and hours of operation.
Over the few years, crackdowns on clubs have intensified. In most cases, operators will simply pay a fine and move on.
But not Masatoshi Kanemitsu, the proprietor of Noon, which violated an interior requirement regarding open space for a dance floor. He has decided to fight the matter in court, and the proceedings have been quite amusing, reports Weekly Playboy (Dec. 9).
The first hearing began on October 1 at the Osaka District Court. Thus far, Kanemitsu, customers, staff members and police officers — all of whom were present at the time of the raid — have been among those offering testimony.
During a cross examination, Kanemitsu was asked to describe the conditions in the club when the police entered.
Prosecutor: “What was happening inside?”
Kanemitsu: “(Customers were) drinking alcohol and dancing to the music.”
Prosecutor: “They were moving their feet?”
Kanemitsu: “Yes, their feet.”
Prosecutor: “As to arm movements, was the origin (of motion) at the wrists, shoulders or elbows?”
Kanemitsu: “The elbows.”
Prosecutor: “What about jumping?”
Kanemitsu: “Yes, a little upward movement from the floor.”
Weekly Playboy says that a collective giggle then leaked out of the 100 seats in the court’s visitor’s gallery.
According to the magazine, law enforcement defines “dancing” as follows: “A building atmosphere of pleasure between men and women in which the sexual mores in society can be affected.”
In an attempt to offer elucidation on how such an activity can be a detriment, a police officer took the stand. After outlining a number of dance movements, including foot stepping within a width of one meter, arm and head shaking, lower back bending and overall body shaking in an up-and-down motion, the officer said, “One’s self control becomes unrestrained and, with this sense of freedom, problems related to one’s sexuality could result.”
The adult-entertainment law dates back to 1948, a time in the Occupation era when an encounter between a man and woman in a dance hall could very well have lead to prostitution.
Times have changed. A lawyer for club Noon, Kenichi Nishikawa, says that the view of the police is outdated. “In the end, the interpretation by the police that dancing disturbs sexual mores is anachronistic,” he says.
If men and women were typically embracing each other while naked on the dance floor, “then it (the police’s view) is understandable,” says the lawyer. “As it is now, their vague arguments about pleasure-seeking scenarios are only humorous from beginning to end.”
The documentary film “Save the Club Noon” chronicles a gathering in July of last year of more than 90 musicians who voiced their support of the club.
The court is expected to release its judgment on Noon in March of next year. (K.N.)
Source: “Ima, aratamete kangaietai soboku na gimon dansu te nanda?” Weekly Playboy (Dec. 9, pages 46-48)