The gentrification and renaissance of Yoshiwara, the former licensed red-light district (and today, an unlicensed red-light district), continues. After a designer souvenir shop we saw earlier in the year now comes a new book shop, Kasutori Shobo. The store opened on September 3rd in the heart of Yoshiwara, selling books reprinting valuable resources and history about Yoshiwara and the adult side to the Showa era. Alongside other publishers' titles, the shop also publishes its own books. The owner, Goh Watanabe, raised money via a crowdfunding service to do this, achieving his target ...

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The Japan Times recently published a long and sympathetic article about the sex industry in Japan. It superbly shows how the women who ply their "trade" in the sex industry often do so because of economic hardship. For the past six years, 47-year-old single mother Kasumi Endo has lived a double life. On weekdays, she works all day as a temp-staff office worker to raise her teenage daughter. But with wages hardly sufficient to keep the household afloat, Endo (not her real name) takes a surreptitious trip to Tokyo’s downtown Ikebukuro district on weekends to earn extra money. As ...

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A new exhibition in Tokyo focuses on the controversial issue of underage enjo kosai, or compensated dating. The "We Were Bought" exhibition runs from August 11th to August 21st, featuring the photography, text and diaries of junior high or high school students (JK, joshi kousei) who have engaged in enjo kosai, a euphemism for prostitution The exhibition is organized by 24 students and Colabo, a support group for female high school students. The students and other girls are aged between 14 and 26, and live all over Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu. There are around 100 exhibits on ...

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A Yokohama court has ordered a transsexual parlor to leave a residential complex in the city after a group of residents got together to sue it on grounds of violating the terms of usage. Locals were annoyed about the large numbers of employees and customers coming and going in the elevator. Police were unable to do anything about Hanatsuki Yokohama because it was a classed as a gay service. In Japan, paying for penetrative sex is illegal, so prostitution services get around this by officially not offering "full service", though this is frequently a mere camouflage maintained to ...

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Vice seems to have a bee in its bonnet over Japan's so-called "JK industry" of schoolgirl prostitution. After its provocative and criticized article and video last year, now it reports on a police crackdown on "businesses that exploit underage girls". The article is written by Tokyo Vice (no relation) author Jake Adelstein, who has made a career out of presenting himself as the gaijin expert on all things Yakuza. Recently he has tried to talk a lot about teenager prostitution too and linking it to AKB48, getting a lot of flak for it. When a UN investigator visiting Japan ...

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Ever hired a lady of the night and then changed your mind? Tried to cancel and had trouble with the girl or her handlers? One man had such a problem in Kabukicho but ended up on top, legally speaking. Yukie Shimoyachi, a 30-year-old prostitute, was arrested earlier this week for extortion. She had forced a man to pay her a "cancellation fee" of ¥50,000 ($410) in the early hours of September 27th. The man had been lured by a street tout in Kabukicho (lesson of the day: DON'T trust those guys) with the promise of a lady who could provide full penetrative sex services (technically ...

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Takaya Muto has already been forced to resign over a money scandal. Now he might have to contend with a sex scandal too. The 36-year-old Lower House member of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party already made a lot of enemies when he took to Twitter to brand activists protesting against the government's immensely controversial state security bills as "selfish" and "fooled" by "propaganda and false information". That was late July. Fast-forward a few weeks and Muto is not looking so smug now. He has been forced to quit his party after tabloid Shukan Bunshun exposed ...

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Hardly is the ink dry on one article about Akihabara schoolgirl osanpo walking dates, than along comes another western report about "human trafficking" in Japan. Vice News has made Schoolgirls for Sale in Japan, a 17-minute "exposé" about JK schoolgirl prostitution at cafes and other venues in Tokyo. The presenter travels to Japan to interview schoolgirl prostitutes and investigate "JK culture". Much of this is innocent enough, from fortune-telling to music idol groups. But as a near scuffle with a minor gangster on the streets of Akihabara shows, with some of these services ...

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We all like to compare numbers, especially when it comes to the number of people you've slept with. But we accept defeat when it comes to Yuhei Takashima, who has apparently admitted to sex with over 12,000 women. That's not a typo: more than twelve thousand! The former Yokohama school principal was not just into the sex itself. He also catalogued his incredible feat. Over 27 years he allegedly archived almost 150,000 photographs of his sexual exploits with prostitutes in 400 neatly filed red albums. Takashima is aged 64 but his "career" goes back to 1988 when he went to work at a ...

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The Japan Times has run an interesting story about "JK Industry" sex workers. It focuses around two teenagers who are schoolgirls working in Akihabara in services ambiguously close to being full-on prostitution but often allowed by the letter of the law. Seventeen-year-old Momo knows that her customers are keen on doing more with her than the official things she offers. Momo is among the schoolgirls whom experts warn are prone to gravitate toward the notorious “JK” business — JK being short for “joshi kosei” (high school girls) — rampant in Akihabara and other parts ...

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