Police raid popular Shinjuku happening bar, arrest six
The crackdown on happening bars and clubs in Tokyo sadly continues. Even, as in this case, if they have been around for years.
Such venues are places for swinging and tend to be members-only, though this is usually bypassed by making people members when they pay a fee at the entrance.
The legal issue comes with public indecency, since people are engaged in sexual activities in a place accessible to the public like a bar or club. A way to circumvent the law against indecent exposure is to have private playrooms.
The happening bar was 9259 in Shinjuku, which made a nominal claim at being a “secret” venue. Alright, it had a website (currently offline), social media accounts, and visible street signage, but we guess the secrecy lay in how you might not know what it is unless you opened the door.
9259, whose tagline was “wakuwaku bar” (exciting bar), had been operating for several years, but that pedigree counts for nothing to the boys in blue.
On October 28, Tokyo Metropolitan Police swooped and arrested six people, including the 45-year-old manager and other members of staff. The charge is public indecency, specifically providing the venue for a 34-year-old man to have sex before members of the public on the night of October 28. The manager has admitted the charges.
Inside the bar, which was accessible only by using the intercom and giving your name, customers were not allowed to use their phones, and were asked not to tell others what takes places at the venue.
Which begs the question, why were they rumbled? It isn’t clear why the police had decided to target the bar now, instead of any other time since the venue opened.
The 34-year-old man was among the five arrested (the others were employers or the manager) because he was walking around the bar area naked. The other customers present during the raid were able to put their clothes on and claim not to be exposed in public. The arrested customer has already been released, since the police were really only after the staff.
9259 had used social media to recruit customers and brought in sales of around ¥137 million since December 2020 (though the bar was already longer). It would attract around 20 customers at a time at weekends, and sometimes as many as 50 people. Men would pay ¥15,000 and women a mere ¥1,000. It cost ¥10,000 for couples. Discounts were offered for visiting during the daytime (it was open from one in the afternoon).
Customers were not supposed to have sex in the public bar area, only in the two private playrooms. Various costume and kinky play items were available for customers to borrow (Incidentally, some media reports have named the bar as Bar Eden 9259, but this seems to be inaccurate based on the bar’s web presence.)
Police paid a visit in September, but found nothing illegal going on in the bar area, so the manager could ostensibly claim with a straight face that it was just a place for drinking.
The days when it was relatively easy to visit a happening club in the 2000s, but there has been a marked crackdown in recent years, including a raid on the largest club in Japan last year.