Revisit the retro glory of Japan’s 1980s no-pan kissa (no-panties cafes)
Some time ago we wrote about the 1990s scandal in which Ministry of Finance bureaucrats were arrested for receiving favors, including trips to shabu shabu restaurants where the female staff wore no panties.
Such “no-pan kissa” (no-panties coffee shops or cafes) or restaurants peaked during the 1980s, especially in Osaka and Tokyo, and had many variations. Some had mirrored floors so diners could see up waitresses’ skirts. Others may have offered “extras” not on the official menu. They might serve drinks or full meals — but there was always a smile on the face of the clientele.
In many ways, the shabu shabu scandal was the last gasp of the industry that has since made way for less extravagant establishments.
We stumbled upon some great images of a no-pan kissa from a 1981 guidebook to such establishments (euphemistically called just “pubs” or “cafes”) in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, published when the movement was at its zenith.
As you can tell, the employees were often topless and there was plenty of glitzy glamor. Subtlety in the style and decor was not part of these establishments’ charms.
It should also be noted that touching, of course, was not on the menu, like at a strip club.