“I Know Your Name….” Sex-work and blackmail in Japan

“I know your name.”

photo by ©Jake Adelstein

I shuddered while reading the first line of this email on my mobile, I remember dropping it on my bed in disbelief. This wasn’t the usual time-waster, this wasn’t the usual sex pest abusive messages that escorts usually got.

“I know your name it’s ______ and you’re a student at _____ University”.

My heart stopped. I don’t use my first legal name anywhere online, nor do I tell people it. The only person who would know my entire legal name would be someone with access to official documents about myself. Like a professor.

“If you don’t send me nudes, and whatever the hell else I might want. I’ll expose you. I’ll tell everyone at University about you. I’ll tell your talent agency about you.”

Plenty of people within the entertainment industry moonlight as sex workers, including now famous A-list Hollywood actors. The difference between myself and them was that I was an idol. An idol in Japan is a young person active as a singer, as a dancer and most importantly a talent, whose biggest attribute is Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club-esque squeaky clean nature and hopefully manga-like cute cuddly shining eyes, perpetually open wide.

“If you don’t send me nudes, and whatever the hell else I might want. I’ll expose you. I’ll tell everyone at University about you. I’ll tell your talent agency about you.”

In Japan, I had come to meet a few idols who worked jobs as hostesses, girls bar work, erotic massage and for escort services. I even knew a guy who knew a guy who claimed to be the Papa-San or “sugar daddy” of a lesser known ***48 member. As common as this tends to be, it obviously is a liability for talent agencies.

For lack of more eloquent words, I was scared shitless. Whoever this person was had leverage on me as a student, as a migrant and as someone in the entertainment industry. However, I was more afraid that if I heeded his orders it would quickly elevate to more unscrupulous demands.

So, I ignored it. I ignored it for as long as I could. Until two weeks later he sent information about fan event I would be holding with something threatening along the lines of:  “It would be a shame if I came here and showed everyone your ad. You’re a dirty whore! Muahahahahah” The original email was worded differently, but the meaning was clear.

He was trying to exploit my latent feelings of shame around the sex work I was doing at the time  and the stigma society has around sex workers and migrant sex workers. As dumb as this is, I ended up sending him a few recycled lewd photos. I was too afraid of the repercussions…or maybe I have a humiliation kink I can’t admit yet. Even though I can dryly laugh about the situation now, it was horrifying when it was happening to me.

He predictably took it up a notch. “Go to coordinates _____ and there’s a vending machine. Put ¥20,000 (roughly $180) under it. Don’t look around or ask questions. If you don’t want this option you can give me blowjobs every week but you will remain masked the entire time”

20,000 yen it is, I decided. I kept being urged by friends to report this to the police. Despite what I said in my twitter post in Japanese, I didn’t. Well technically I didn’t. I’ll get back to that. I couldn’t report it to the police because what I was doing to earn money was probably way outside of the kind of work my visa would allow.

Later that day I looked up the coordinates to the vending machine where I was instructed go leave the cash. I wanted to sarcastically reply, “which vending machine” because in Japan there’s a vending machine on every street corner, sometimes on every floor of a building. The coordinates were smack dab deep in Dougenzaka, Shibuya’s red light district, also known as “Love Hotel Hill’.. It’s a bit like all of Roppongi but without drunk expatriate asshole merchant bankers. It’s also a bit like the East side of Ikebukuro but without the old men holding hands with high school girls openly. It’s a bit like Ueno but Dougenzaka doesn’t reek of piss. You get the idea. Dougenzaka is a red light district. It has the neon lights, beat cops, happening bars, love hotels and all the trimmings. But it tends to be a bit quieter than the others. Somewhere nicely in between the gaudiness of Kabukicho in Shinjuku and the tawdry sleaziness of Uguisudani.

He wasn’t the most intimidating guy to bring along, however he had a penis and he was Japanese.

I decided, that I would pay him once but no more after that I told myself. Going with me was a male friend. By friend, I meant a guy who was a part-time host at a host club and part time nursery school teacher who I had friend-zoned. I don’t like host clubs or hosts, both are painfully boring to me. I’ve never understood the appeal to the host system. I’ve had this theory, since most of the women patrons of host clubs are also sex workers, who have to deal with assholes all day, hosts allow them to try their hands at the dynamic themselves. Something like “reverse sexism”. As I said, I don’t like hosts but this guy was different. He was a total geek.

He was a Kaiju (怪獣) and Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー) nerd, totally into the world of Japan’s  superheroes and super monsters, and quite small in stature. He wasn’t the most intimidating guy to bring along, however he had a penis and he was Japanese. If the situation became out of hand, those two important factors would be all that would matter with having an ally on my side.

As we toddled down the dark Dougenzaka alley trying to find the exact location of the vending machine from the email, Kaiju-host told me “I don’t feel so well about this.” Well no shit Sherlock. Neither did I, but in my mind if I gave this guy money he’d lay off for enough time for me to figure something clever out.

“I think this is it!” We walked near a vending machine similar to one I had seen on Google maps. The location was a far cry from the neon lights and drunks bumbling out of Izakayas. The only illumination about was from that vending machine; the neon glow lit the alley like a lighthouse far in the distance. I wish I could say something more meaningful or prolific about that, but I can’t. Just know the place was really damn dark and the only light was from a metal box with drinks inside of it. I would definitely feel more afraid being alone there. I remembered the line from the email: “Don’t look around or hang about too long!” I wondered whether or not this idiot was hiding somewhere in the darkness with a trench coat on and a seventies porn mustache ready to pounce.

I slid the envelope containing the ¥20,000 under the vending machine.

“Man! T–t-this is crazy!!!”

As Kaiju Host whimpered I wondered to myself why I brought him, of all people, as some sort of security. Then I quickly reminded myself he was Japanese with a penis, and the professor harassing me was most likely American or Canadian, based on his writings. In my mind if the police had any questions, providing this idiot actually did pounce in a trench coat, me being a whore was cancelled out by having a Japanese person with me and maybe I would have a fair chance.

I went home that night and emailed the idiot professor who somehow thought 20,000 yen was a lot of money to blackmail someone for.

“I’ve given you the money. Please leave me alone”

I stupidly assumed all was well the next day when he responded,  “Great. I’ve got it. I won’t bother you anymore.”

And then silence. I assumed silence was great in this case, until two weeks later when I was contacted again. I know the readers are probably wondering where this story ends, if it’s fake or if I’m really all that stupid for continuously giving into his demands. I’d say a bit of the latter is true.

“You know…I’m starting to think you should um, come to a love hotel once a week or so and give me a free blow job, while wearing an eye mask so you won’t know who I am.”

And I ignored them. The emails got more and more harassing with every day, with about fifty or so emails sent every single day over a week’s time.At this point, I confided with a few friends about what I should do. Whether Japanese or not they all had a theme

“Go to the police. He will lose his job, everything. It’s illegal!”

“Dude this is how people get killed. You need to tell the police or I will!”

As much as I wanted to, as much as I told myself to do so- I couldn’t. I knew the score. Women are stalked in Japan all  of the time and police often do nothing until it’s far too late for the woman. Women have been stalked, beaten and even murdered with the Japanese police and media blaming her post-mortem for “leading him on”. It wasn’t until 2014 that Japan’s stalking laws drastically changed, society will take longer however. So to say I was hesitant on contacting authorities at all in an understatement.

So I did the best next thing.

I impersonated a police officer. This guy seemed like an idiot, so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to fool him. I searched online for Japan’s laws on stalking and internet harassment. “Bingo!” I found a long bill of text and decided to use it. There was a lot of complicated wording in it, but it didn’t matter as long as it looked official to scare him.

I took time to translate the text, because I imagined this guy as one of those Western men in Japan who took zero time to learn anything beyond “Areegatoe” and broken pick up lines to use on obviously resisting Japanese women.

“Haha” it was so funny how official the penal code looked. I even added in Japanese and English: THIS IS AN OPEN POLICE INVESTIGATION. LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE LOOKING INTO YOUR ACTIVITIES AND HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF THIS ACCOUNT.

He responded almost instantaneously, “I’m sorry can we reverse this somehow? I was just kidding.”

Thankfully, I never heard from him ever again. But it still haunts me. My legal name isn’t public knowledge and it isn’t something I even used within university. This was someone with access to my legal documents, my Instagram, my twitter and was most likely a lecturer, as he claimed himself. Everyday at University from that point, I wondered, “Is it him?”

The university I went to wasn’t renowned for having a great administration or anything. There were so many strange people there. I had far too many theories on who it might have  been and far too many unusual suspects.  Maybe you don’t have sympathy for me because you don’t like sex-workers and don’t believe people should have the right to full autonomy of their bodies. But the sin of having consensual sex, for money shouldn’t be one that has so much shame attached that it could lead to someone in authority blackmailing a student.

A part of me laughs a bit though, at the entire experience and wondering if he was scared shitless for a few months worrying if it was the day law enforcement would come question him. Or maybe he didn’t care at all.

At least he left me alone.

 

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Shonen: How A Young Japanese Gigolo Learns To Love Life Via Hard Work (film review)

You’ve heard that foodie movies trigger your appetite. Love stories trigger tear ducts. Documentaries will cause political rants. In that vein, “Shonen,” a film about a male prostitute pleasuring his women clients with relentless energy and single-minded dedication, will…

Okay, well “Shonen” doesn’t exactly have that effect, because as a line in this brilliant film goes, “women are not simpletons.” Still, some segments were evocative.

For Japanese women viewers, the film may be a catalyst for some um, deeply stirred soul searching, if only because most Japanese women are conditioned from birth to cater to the needs of others, specifically men and ignore some basic physical needs of threir own. Confusing women further is the mixed and murky, societal message. Yeah, women are taught to appease and please men but at the same time we’re constantly warned against casual sex, couched in terms to make us feel like either victims (rape! groping! being dumped before marriage!) or sluts (self-explanatory). Men called all the shots and were the enemy but women couldn’t live without them because we’re women. It’s an image that Japan’s male-dominated culture has thrived on. As for sexual pleasure equally enjoyed by both parties? Ahhh, didn’t get the memo on that one.

(C)石田衣良/集英社 
2017映画『娼年』製作委員会  
●公開表記: 4月6日(金)、TOHOシネマズ 新宿 他 全国ロードショー
●公式HP: http://shonen-movie.com/ Twitter @shonen_movie
●企画製作・配給: ファントム・フィルム  ●レイティング: R18+

“Shonen” however, urges women (and by implication, men) to explore their pleasure spots and revel in the fleeting moment because hey, what’s wrong with things being a little transitory sometimes? And to ease any apprehensions, the film proffers a cute young guy, not so much as a seducer but a persuader or a guide, who happens to be unclothed for the majority of the film’s nearly two hour duration. Not surprisingly, the screening room was crammed with women and more were waiting in line on the sidewalk, only to be turned away with promises of additional screenings the following week. Months before “Shonen’s” official release date was announced, online rumors heralded it as the Japanese “Fifty Shades of Gray,” but with a much better cast and specially tailored for a female audience.

Indeed, only the bravest of Japanese men could sit through “Shonen” without feeling massively out of place, unwelcome, inadequate and dismally uncomfortable. The warning is written into the title: the kanji character “sho” means prostitute and the “nen” points to a young male, and in this case he’s played by none other than resident sweet boy-next-door Tohri Matsuzaka whose adorableness is matched by a good-sport, non-threatening vibe. The movie shows us that both traits are assets in the world of male prostitution because the work is One client is a 70 year old lady in a kimono (played by Kyoko Enami, who’s actually 76). Another is an older, wheel-chair bound husband (Tokuma Nishioka) who requests Ryo to rape his young wife (Kokone Sasaki) in an onsen (spa) inn, so he could video-tape the whole thing and watch it later.

In one scene, Matsuzaka’s character Ryo is recruited by the glamorous Shizuka (Sei Matobu) into her “club” of male prostitutes. Ryo assumes he is to have sex with Shizuka, but in fact, he’s ordered to perform with Sakura, a young deaf woman who happens to be Shizuka’s daughter. After it’s over, she quietly places a 5000 yen bill on the bed, telling him matter-of-factly: “your sex was worth 5000 yen.” And then Sakura plonks down another 5000. “She’s taken a liking to you,” says Shizuka, indicating that he passed the test. As far as job interviews go, this is probably more pleasurable than most and the initial pay isn’t bad: 10,000 yen an hour and any tips are Ryo’s to keep.

Just in case you’re shocked, shocked!, like Claude Rains in “Casablanca,” male prostitution in Japan has been around as long as female. Historians have written that the original kabuki actors were homeless gay prostitutes, performing on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River by day and selling sexual favors by night. Currently, the rumor is that there are 30,000 “hosuto (escorts)” working in Tokyo and roughly 40% are into prostitution as side hustles. Tokyo’s male escort industry is ruthless – stories abound about how they will bleed their female clients dry and when the money runs out, sell them off to Chinese sex traffickers.

“Shonen” isn’t a sweat and tears documentary about the underside of Tokyo’s sex industry. It is in fact, a fairy tale that showcases the sexual prowess of Tohri Matsuzaka, who at 29 can play an alluring 20 year old who routinely cuts classes at a posh Tokyo university.

(C)石田衣良/集英社 
2017映画『娼年』製作委員会  
●公開表記: 4月6日(金)、TOHOシネマズ 新宿 他 全国ロードショー
●公式HP: http://shonen-movie.com/ Twitter @shonen_movie
●企画製作・配給: ファントム・フィルム  ●レイティング: R18+

The very first scene shows Ryo hard at it, grunting and gyrating on the splayed body of a young woman moaning with pleasure at appropriate intervals. It’s a one night stand and the girl leaves in the morning after ascertaining that she just did it with a guy from a top-ranking university (“Wait till I tell my girlfriends!”) but Ryo can’t get no satisfaction. Later, when he meets Shizuka for the first time, he describes the sexual act as a “hassling exercise routine with all the moves already mapped out.” But as soon as he’s paid by his first client, Ryo feels more alive than he ever did. By turning his back on the normal world of sex with girlfriends, one door closes but a new one opens, one that inducts Ryo into the business of pleasuring women. It’s to director Daisuke Miura’s eternal credit that none of it is demeaning for any of the characters, even though he defies every taboo in the book of mainstream filmmaking. Audiences may find hard to stomach how Shizuka deploys her daughter to test the sexual abilities of new recruits, as she stands not three feet away, watching impassively with arms folded over her chest like an inspections officer.

In the end, a certain melancholy hangs in the air like an invisible pinata. Ryo couldn’t enjoy sex when it was free, but as a source of employment and act of labor, he begins to love it, and commits to the job like any dedicated salariman. He couldn’t be bothered to talk or be civil with casual girlfriends but with clients, he’s willing to have meaningful conversations and be kind, considerate and gentlemanly. Is work the all-controlling, always-defining core of Japanese life? One of the questions to ponder, in the midst of all that panting.

Sex, Marshmallows and Cryptocurrency

Something rings a bell here.

Happy Uniquely Japanese Valentine’s Day! What we talk about when we talk about love & sex in Japan

It’s Valentine’s Day again in Japan or it will be soon….And while Valentine’s Day is a mutual exchange of gifts and professions of love in the West, in Japan it’s a holiday where women give expensive fine chocolate to the men they love and crappy obligatory chocolate to the men they work with or work for, known as 義理チョコ (giri-choko) or “obligation chocolates.”

According to Encyclopedia Aramata, Valentine’s Day was first introduced into Japan in February of 1958 by an employee of Mary Chocolate Co. Ltd, who had heard about the European chocolate exchanges between couples from a friend living in Paris He decided it would be a brilliant marketing technique in Japan so he organized a collaboration with Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It was an incredible….failure.  “During one week we sold only about three chocolates worth 170 yen at that time,” an employee recalled.  Yet this employee persisted, later becoming the president of the company, and by the 1980s, he and Japan’s chocolate industry, along with the department stores, had enshrined Valentine’s Day as a holiday that is “the only day of the year a woman confesses her love through presenting chocolate.” The spirit of love.

But of course, as time went by, giving chocolate became something women were expected to do for not only the their “true love” but people at work, their bosses, their friends, and even, their brothers. 義理チョコ  (giri-choko) aka “obligation chocolate” has branched off into “友チョコ (tomo-choko)”  chocolate for friends, 世話チョコ (sewa-choko), chocolate for people who’ve looked after you, 自分チョコ (jibun-choko), a present for yourself, and even the rare 逆チョコ (gyaku-choko) —the rare event when a man gives chocolate to a woman on Valentine’s Day (revolutionary).

When we say “Valentine’s Day” in Japan, it doesn’t quite mean what it means in the West. (We’ll talk about White Day in March). And if you think about it, what do we really mean when we talk about love? Japan has some very specific terms for discussing and classifying love. Although the terms can be expressed in English, the compactness of Japanese words for sex, love, and everything in between is quite charming.

Japan has many words for love and sex. It’s surprisingly rich in words for love such as 友愛 (the love between friends) and 親愛 (love between family members) and of course 恋愛 (passionate love) . Here are some of the words you may find useful as you travel through love hotel island.

The Japanese language is rich in terms for love and sex--which are definitely not the same thing here.
The Japanese language is rich in terms for love and sex–which are definitely not the same thing here.

*出会い(Deai)–“meeting people” Also used to describe dating sites 出会い系サイト and one-night stands.

不倫 (Furin)-“adultery, infidelity.” Has more of a negative connotation than uwaki

慈愛(Jiai)–compassionate love. Much like the love a parent feels for their child–a desire for the happiness and well-being of another. When the Dalai Lama speaks of love in Japanese, this is often the word used to translate his words.

 

*浮気 (Uwaki) –1) to describe someone who can romantically love many people 2) infidelity; an affair 3) being in love with in someone other than your partner 4) (old usage) cheerful and gorgeous

*恋人 (Koibito) “lover”

*熱愛 (Netsu-ai) “passionate love”

*恋愛 (Ren-ai) “romantic love” A word very popular in Japanese woman’s magazines

*恋い (Koi) “love”

*一物 (Ichimotsu) “the one thing”  According to an old joke, the definition of a man is this: a life support system for an ichimotsu (the penis).

*慈悲, 慈悲深い (Jihi) (Jihibukai) “compassionate love/sympathetic joy” This comes from Buddhism and describes a maternal love, originally means to give joy and peace to someone and remove their pain. 慈悲深い人–someone who is compassionate and finds happiness in the happiness of others.

*情熱 (jounetsu) “passion”

*ラブ (rabu) “love” pronounced Japanese style.

ラブラブ (rabu rabu) “love love” used to described a couple deeply in love.

*同性愛 (douseiai) “homosexual love”

*愛 (ai) love. “to love” 愛する (ai suru)

*好き (suki) like. Used often to express love as well. 大好き (Daisuki) “really like” Old school Japanese males never say, “I love you” (愛している) they would say, Daisuki. This line:“君が大好きだ” (Kimi ga daisuki da). “I really like you” is often the profession of love in a Japanese movie or television show on both sides.

純愛 (Jun-ai) “pure love” An almost mystical concept of love as something beyond physical or material reality. I’m still not sure what this means but it sets off lights in the eyes of Japanese women. It’s a television drama buzz word.

*惚れる (horeru) fall in love

*惚れ込む (horekomu) fall deeply in love

*一目惚れ (hitomebore) love at first sight “hitome” first sight. “hore” fall in love (see above)

満足manzoku (satisfied)

*セックス (Sex)—This is “Japanese English.” It means sex.

*前戯 (Zengi)–Foreplay. Mae (前)means before and “戯れ” means “play, goof around”.  Technically this entry should have been before Sex (セックス) on the list but then I wouldn’t be able to make this joking reference here.

*セックスレス (Sexless)—Maybe half of Japanese marriages are sexless. Who knows why? It’s a common complaint for Japanese women and some Japanese men..

アイコンタクト (eye contact)” Important in courting.

*エッチ (etchi) A cute-word for anything sexual, flirty. Usually has a fun connotation.

*男根 (dankon) “male-root” If you can’t figure out what this means, please refer to 一物 (ichimotsu)

*おまんこ (o-manko) The female genitalia, sometimes just the vagina. Also referred to as simply manko. However, we prefer attaching the honorable “o” as in “orgasm”.  Also, it’s never bad to show respect. Even amongst the closest of friends, decorum is necessary. 親しき仲にも礼儀あり

*愛人 (aijin) Lover. The aijin is usually the partner in a forbidden romance. Similar to “koibito” but more of a shady aspect.

*オーガズム (ougasumu) orgasm

オルガスムス (orugasumusu) orgasm in Japanese taken from German Orgasmus

絶頂 (zettcho) climax, orgasm in Japanese language

*失楽園 (Shitsurakuen) A very popular novel and movie about a passionate modern day affair that ends in double suicide, with the lovers found dead in each others arms in mortal post coitus bless. Yes, you wouldn’t think this would encourage people to have affairs but it did! Women’s magazines had multiple features on the books and movies.

潮吹き (shiofuki): female ejaculation. Some Japanese women release a squirt or excess lubrication on orgasm. There appears to be some science suggesting that this does happen.

鼻血 (hanaji): bloody nose. There is a strange folk-belief that when a Japanese man is sexually excited he gets a nosebleed. Go figure.

Note:

In Japan, when man or women reaches orgasm, they don’t come (来る) they go (行く/iku). Likewise, to make a man or woman reach orgasm, is to 行かす (Ikasu) “make go.”

 

楽園 (rakuen) mean paradise. 失(shitsu) means “loss” or as a verb 失う(ushinau) to lose.

 

If I was running a campaign aimed at women for Japan’s favorite 浮気(uwaki) dating site for married people, I might make a pun on this along the lines of “恋愛の楽園を失いましたか。Ashleymadison.jpで禁断の楽園を再発見しよう“ (Did you lose your lover’s paradise?Rediscover the forbidden paradise on Ashleymadison.jp) BTW, the site already had a 1,000,000 members within 8 months.

*恋い焦がれる (koikogareru)=”burningly in love” to be in love so deeply that it’s painful, to yearn for the other 恋い (love) + 焦げる (burn).

Not a negative word, but a way of expressing a deep passionate consuming love. Many men and women seem to be seeking

*ベッド (bed)—usually a roundabout way of discussing sex in Japanese female magazines

–プレイ”—(play) This is usually added to various types of sexual fetishes.

性愛 (sei-ai) Erotic love, eros (sex/gender 性 +  love 愛)

For example, 赤ちゃんプレイ (Aka-chan purei)—When the guy likes to be diapered like a baby, possible shaved completely nude, and nurse, sometimes with a woman who’s actually lactating. I could tell you a really strange story about a police raid on a place specializing in this type of service but I’ll skip it.

 

*遊び (Asobi) “Play”—this can refer to sex, an affair, a one-night stand. It has a wide usage in Japan and adults “play” just as much as children. Hence the costume fetish in Japan—

コスプレー (cosupurei—“costume play”)

 

密事 (mitsuji)—An old word but a literary one for discrete affairs.

*禁断の愛 (kindan no ai) Forbidden love

*密会 (mikkai) secret meeting

*ばれない (barenai) to not be discovered, to get away with something

*絶対ばれない (zettai barenai) “absolutely no one will find out”

REVISED: February 14th, 2018

The x-rated happenings in Japan’s “Happening Bars”

Editor’s note: the following article contains graphic descriptions of sexual activity. If you’re easily offended or under 18, please cease reading this article and read this one instead

Have you ever wondered what is happening in Tokyo at night? And what is the meaning of “Happening Bar”?  Have you ever been curious what all the fun is about? Why do people from all over the world come to Tokyo for the supposedly funky  and fetish sort of fun and some the other ‘f’ words?

The things that happen at happening bars in Japan have been happening here for centuries.

Well, I have… This would come as a shock to people other than close friends to see me saying this. People are always quick to judge. They could never see it from my outer appearances. What can I say? Don’t judge a book by its cover,…unless it’s Fifty Shades of Grey. And as many people say, I am one of the most hard working, self-improving, disciplined person you may ever know. But I am also very active, out-going, and I value experience, any kind of experience. This is the one I felt I lacked, even after so many years in Japan.

This year’s golden week, instead of the usual grand plans to travel to international locations, I decided to stay in Tokyo and relax. And of course, convince my partner to visit one of Tokyo’s happening bars to satisfy one of my many curiosities. Happening bars (ハプニングバー。。。。or the other  カップル喫茶 (couple coffeeshops)。。。)

I am not one for swinging; loyalty is my strong suit in a relationship but I have to admit that the idea of having kinky sex in front of a crowd turns me on.

It was around 10:07pm at night when we left our place. We hailed the first cab we saw and told the driver the address of one of the bars we found online. It took around 15 minutes to get there. I felt a little uncomfortable as we were reaching the destination, since the driver started to get so perplexed about where we wanted to go in the midst of love hotels.

We walked to the door of the club. There were security cameras and the door was securely shut. Not a sound came out of the door. If I didn’t know it, I would never have guessed that there would be any action going on inside. There was an inter-phone by the door. I rang it. A male voice answered, ‘Are you a member?’

I said no. He then asked if we had IDs, and as soon as we confirmed that we did, the door opened into a small reception area where we were then asked to fill in our information with a proven photo ID. The male receptionist first checked that both of us can speak Japanese as the club does not allow any foreigner in who do not understand the language. We paid the registration fee and entrance fee in cash (as it was cash only). As a couple, a man pays 7,000 yen and a woman pays 2,000 yen registration fee. The entrance fee for both of us together was 8,000 yen. After some explanation of rules such as members are forbidden from asking for contact information of other members and couple members are not allowed to leave with anyone else or interact with single females in the club, he then gave us green wristbands. Green represents couple members, blue represents single males, and pink represents single females. Once all this was done, the other door opened.

A girl in a short blond wig greeted us. She was wearing some kimono-like robe and had distinctive orange eyelashes. She wasn’t a kind of girl I had imagined would be working as a happening bar’s staff. She had a kind face and seemed like a very helpful person. I could imagine her working as a barista in a quiet cafe even with her blond wig and orange lashes. She asked us to take our shoes off and put them in lockers. We were then asked to put away our stuff in another locker including all our phones and valuables. In the same floor, there were rest areas for people to just take a break, drink some water, or call work or home. I started seeing a few men in female’s night gowns, some with their penises hanging out. I looked at my partner and smiled as I knew that this would probably not be anywhere near my imagination.

The staff took us to the next floor. This floor was very dark with some fluorescent lights they use in clubs so we could see our wristbands glowing and my white dress shining in the dark. There was a small reception table where a pantless male staff in a single blue shirt and red tie asked us to show our wristbands to a flashlight machine. The first thing I heard was some sounds of something similar to…cats in heat. Then, as I turned to the left and saw at least four pair of male and females sitting together in a corner, I realized that that was where the sound came from — not the 4am kittens on the roof, but it was the moaning of females in pleasure and some males getting blowjobs. Most people were in costumes such as high school girls with their breasts showing, or as what seemed to be a common attire in this place, men were mostly in tight onesies.

Then, there was a caged corner, a kinbaku (緊縛)or shibari (縛り)corner — which supposedly is the Japanese art of rope tying, originally practiced in order to prevent prisoners from escaping, but now part of BDSM fetish sex. Nowadays, artists create art forms of rope tying, making it look either erotic or beautiful with complex geometrical patterns. This is also the world I was introduced to a year ago from witnessing my partner’s shibari artist friend tying a model up for a very interesting eye-opening photoshoot. There were many patterns already tied on several mannequins with instructions and many whips and chains hanging in the same caged area. At this moment, the staff stressed another important rule of “no drinking and roping’” even if you do know how to properly tie people up, since you can seriously injure someone if you’re not focussed. Sex friends don’t let sex friends tie up friends drunk. There was also a single board on the wall, where you could tie one person to it, by handcuffing their wrists and ankles. The area was as kinky as I wanted it to be.

As I turned to the other corner, I saw the ‘play rooms’. According to the staff, there are some couple only rooms where one or more couples could enter and have sex.

Couples are also allowed to watch or touch other couples but only with permission. Some are mixed rooms for either couples or single males or females members. But we were warned that as a couple, we are to stick together at all times except when we go to the bathroom and we are not allowed to communicate with other single females. “That’s great,” I thought. I am very devoted and supportive as a partner but also can be a jealous, possessive and an unforgiving one. I have always been and I doubt I’ll change much. The staff continued to explain that the closed curtain meant there is ‘a happening’ but we were allowed to peak as much as we’d like without being afraid we’d sustain a serious case of eye stye.

Then, we were led to the last floor. This one was a bar full of people. The staff asked what we wanted for drinks as it was an ‘all you can drink’ system. My partner ordered Malibu coke. I asked for the same thing saying ‘同じでお願いします’ (onaji de onegaishimasu) but apparently she misheard ‘onaji’ for ‘orenji’ (オレンジ = orange). So I got a glass of orange juice—orange juice just as orange as her eyelashes which was…just the right drink for a sex club. As soon as we sat down, the staff left us alone.

There room was full of people dressing in night gowns, a lot of men, again, in female lingerie with some of their brownish avocado like private parts showing. A few guys raised their glasses to me when they thought my partner wasn’t looking. A few winked but stopped after seeing my green wristband. A few simply stared, probably wondering who I was as I was the only one in an office appropriate white dress with a very foreign looking partner next to me. I closed my eyes for a moment and imagined whether I would ever come alone and consider having sex with one of the guys there. My thoughts, even if I died twice and was holding on to my last dearest life, it would probably still be a no.

A few minutes after, the master of the place, a tough but sharp and reliable looking guy in his mid 50s came in. Beside him was a beautifully pregnant staff member in her underwear with see-through lingerie covering her body. They announced a Bingo game. Everyone started to gather around from every floor. We were probably the only foreigners I could see that night. I sat next to a bare chested guy in leopard printed satin robe who kept leaning on me. The Bingo game started. They called the numbers out one by one and I punched in a lot of numbers on my bingo board. I had only one more to punch to win or in Japanese, ’リーチ’ (ree-chi) twice. A few had already won and were called to the front stage to draw a lottery containing their prize. They were asked about their names, their favorite sexual position, and one lady was asked to flash her boobs after about 10 seconds of ‘oppai oppai…’ (breast) roar. Apparently, she happily did so, but only to find out that she didn’t actually win after all. I felt the urge to escape the bingo area as I do not want to go up on stage and being asked questions at or having to come up with a good fake name on the spot. So I nudged my partner and we went straight for the playrooms.

We were the only ones in that floor besides the pant-less counter staff. We asked to use one of the couple only rooms and he gave us condoms–as using condoms is also one of the important rules of this club. The room we went in was very big, decorated by white sofa-liked materials all over the place. It was very clean with many boxes of tissue paper lying around. The staff closed the curtain and left us alone. Everyone was still at the Bingo game but we were ready to Bingo Bongo. Apparently, he was already as hard as freshly cooled lava rock and I was as wet as we could have asked for. We started having intense sex, trying a few different positions. As I was on the floor being penetrated from behind, I heard some noises from people who were probably peaking into the room or opening the curtain. That was certainly a huge arousal there. Soon, I turned and licked his balls and butthole while he was standing and we finished the whole ‘happening’ session in a beautiful manner. We were in a state of absolute bliss, our hormones pumping, an orgasmic glow on our faces. That was the highlight  of the night and we were ready to go.

Now, I know what you probably are thinking. No weird orgy, no threesome, no chains, whips or blindfolds? In happening bars, all the aforementioned do not necessarily happen. Nobody is forced to do anything they do not want to do accept abiding by the club’s rules. We were curious, we explored, and we had fun in our own way. And in my not very humble eyes, I am proud to announce that we were the hottest couple in the entire club that night. We were sexy and we knew it (LOL). This night’s experience, for us, was the fun of not knowing what something is about and trying something new together, even in a fetish-y atmosphere–that was the appeal.

I checked the clock and it was 11:40pm. We got dressed, got our stuff from the locker room ,and rang the door bell from the inside. The same reception guy opened the automatic door and waved us goodbye as we were walking out the door.

So would I ever come back? The club has different events each night and I’d like to try a few more things in there, so…yes. But one thing for sure, next time, I would have to be a lot more drunk than a girl who just had a glass of orange juice in a sex club.  My curiosity is partially satiated but I’m still thirsty for knowledge. Knowledge is power—or at least a powerful orgasm.

To be continued…?

The Realities and “Legal Slavery” of Japan’s Porn Industry

Japan’s pornography industry has come under greater scrutiny after Tokyo Metro Police arrested executives of a well-known talent agency for allegedly coercing an actress to engage in sex on camera.  Human rights groups had been calling for action for months.

Police announced Monday that they had arrested the president of Marks Japan Group and two others on suspicion that they forced a woman into appearing in adult films by threatening to punish her financially. They also threatened to force her parents to pay for “contract violations” if necessary, police said…..For the full article, please see this article written by Jake Adelstein, Mari Yamamoto, and Louis Krauss for the Los Angeles Times. 

JSRC is pleased to publish the full commentary from Shihoko Fujiwara, founder of Japan’s Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims, in regards to the darker side of Japan’s multibillion dollar pornography industry.

Executives of this firm were arrested for illegally dispatching women to work in pornographic films, allegedly coercing them to do so as well.
Executives of this firm were arrested for illegally dispatching women to work in pornographic films, allegedly coercing them to do so as well.

 

Shihoko Fujiwara, Founder of Lighthouse-

Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims have received over 100 complaints regarding forced participation in porn. 10% of these complaints are from young men around 20 years old, (some coerced into gay porn as well).

In the porn industry, the production side holds all power while the agencies and scouts who cater to them by supplying the talent often deceive the so-called talents into doing the shoots. The producers cannot get away with claiming that they did not know. It is possible that the entire industry play a part in creating a system of forcing people into porn acting in a similar manner as human trafficking.

The reality is that there are too many young men and women who are forced into porn, for the industry to dismiss it as something they were unaware of.

Victims are talked into signing a fashion modeling contract, however when they turn up on set they are given a porn script and informed that it is a porn shoot. They beg to quit or go to home but are threatened to be charged millions of yen for penalties and often end up giving in. They are used and disposed with long lasting consequences on their schooling, careers and marriages.

The time has come for the government and the society to face the issue head on. There are currently no laws or ministries who oversee the porn industry but there is a dire need for such authorities to take control of the situation.

This is Lighthouse’s statement in Japanese.
人身取引被害者サポートセンターライトハウス(Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims) には、この18ヶ月の間にも100件以上のポルノ強要相談が来ています。1割弱と少ないが20歳前後の男性からの相談もあります。
 ポルノ製作をする制作会社は業界内でも権力がある側にいるのではないか。我々の経験では、そこに俳優を供給するプロダクション(agent)やスカウトは、若い女性を騙したり、脅して無理やり連れてくる場合がほとんどだ。制作会社は「知らない」では済まされない。業界全体でポルノ俳優の供給に人身売買と言えるような強要が使われているのではないか。

業界全体が知らなかったでは済まされないほど、若い女性や男性が無理やりポルノに出演させられている現状を支援団体は目の当たりにしている。ファッションモデル契約と聞いて契約に同意したのに、当日に突然ポルノ出演と聞かされ台本を渡され、帰りたいやめたいと懇願しても数百万円の違約金を払えと脅され屈する、若干10代の若者たち。使い捨てにされ、インターネットや販売店に拡散された「商品」によってその後の進学・就職や結婚にも大きな影響が出ています。

 • これを見逃していた国や社会全体が問題を直視する時期に来ています。現在ポルノ産業を管理所轄する法律も官庁もないが、早急に整備が必要だと考えています。

 

What’s really obscene in Japan? It shouldn’t be the vagina.

What is “obscene” in Japan?
Legally and morally it has different meanings in the Japanese language, just as it does in the west. In the legal sense, the Japanese word for it, waists (猥褻), refers to something that maliciously stimulates sexual desire in an inappropriate and immoral manner.
There are a lot of things that would qualify for that: widely sold manga depicting incest, gang rape, and sexual abuse of children. Magazines and newspapers with illustrated stories or photo shoots on the same themes. Some people might be offended by the fact that sexual services are fully legal in Japan and advertised. You don’t have to look hard to find ads with the current rate for fellatio or anal sex—which is legal as opposed to actual intercourse, which is only legal in some cases—and that seems obscene. Child pornography is still legal under the grace period.

This is the vagina boat made by conceptual artist Megumi Igarashi, also known as Rokudenashiko—the good for nothing girl.

Is the vagina boat so obscene that that creator should go to jail for two years? Is a plaster cast of a vagina art or obscenity?
Is the vagina boat so obscene that that creator should go to jail for two years? Is a plaster cast of a vagina art or obscenity?

 

She made it to illustrate the absurdity of Japan’s obscenity laws & promote healthy body awareness.

Rokudenashiko is a slightly eccentric artist. She has written an entire comic book about her obsession with her genitalia, replete with wild surrealistic drawings. In the book, she even explains why she had cosmetic surgery on her womanhood to make it more attractive. A literary agency is currently considering putting out an English translation of it.

Take a look at the boat again.

Is it more obscene than these replicas of porn star vaginas known as 女ホール (women  holes)  sold on Amazon Japan, and made of silicone? They are openly displayed on the internet and in adult good stores.

This replica of a porn star's vagina sold openly on Amazon Japan and in sex stores: not obscene.
This replica of a porn star’s vagina sold openly on Amazon Japan and in sex stores: not obscene.
The adult movie star vagina and lower body replication 'toy' not obscene. But a plaster cast of a vagina--obscene if you're an artist.
The adult movie star vagina and lower body replication ‘toy’ not obscene. But a plaster cast of a vagina–obscene if you’re an artist.

 

Of course, the penis worshiping festival is not obscene. Because penises are okay, right?

This annual penis festival in Kawasaki City. Not obscene. Huge penis replicas are family fun in Japan.
This annual penis festival in Kawasaki City. Not obscene. Huge penis replicas are family fun in Japan.

If you want a better illustration of the double standards of obscenity in Japan, read and watch the film, What’s Japan’s Problems With Vaginas?  a short documentary made for The Daily Beast. 

What is obscene?

As far as the Tokyo Police are concerned: a plaster cast of a woman’s vagina.
On Wednesday, police arrested conceptual artist Megumi Igarashi, also known as Rokudenashi-ko (reprobate child) and sex toy shop manager Minori Watanabe—who is also a well-known essayist and writer for “displaying obscene goods” from around October 2013. It was the second arrest for Igarashi who taken into police custody in July for distributing data that would allow people to make a 3D printing of her vagina.
The first arrest of Rokudenashiko aroused international outcry over what was seen as discriminatory and hypocritical enforcement of the law.
Why did the police arrest her again?
Nikkan Gendai, in their December 4th paper, suggests the real target this time was Igarashi’s supporter, Ms, Kihatara, author of best-selling Poison Lady, and a vocal and acerbic critic of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They imply that it may have been a warning to others questioning the validity of the coming ‘snap’ elections. The timing is interesting.
It’s not as whacky as it sounds.
The article headline: Suppression of Free Speech? The arrested author was the vanguard of Abe criticism.

I can see why Abe and his cronies would dislike her. Here are a few of her barbs.
“The man is a child.”
“I want to say to Abe, ‘Eat a strawberry in one bite (without a fork). Conduct politics like an adult.’”
“Since the Abe regime started we had the State Secrets Law passed, the collective self-defense (decision). It all appears to be linked together. We live in a world where things like hate speech flourish, and (Japanese) going to other countries to kill people seems close to being a reality. I feel like rational criticism of the state isn’t allowed. It’s scary.”

If you think the Japanese powers that be would never stoop to using minor crimes to arrest opposition and suppress dissent, you don’t know Japan very well. The former head of the public security department at the Osaka High Court Prosecutor’s Office, Tamaki Mitsui was arrested on April 22nd 2002 on corruption charges—the same day he was going to appear on TV and expose prosecutor use of investigative funds to wine and dine themselves.
It’s not a secret that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hates criticism and the Asahi, Japan’s liberal paper. When the Asahi Shimbun corrected past reporting this year, he publicly accused them of “shaming Japan”. That’s a dangerous thing to say in light of the 1987 fatal shooting of an Asahi reporter, Tomohiro Kojiri, by a nationalist group. Currently, a former Asahi reporter is now facing death threats and will likely be fired from his current job as a result of that fiery backlash.
There has been no apology for Abe for starting that fire.

Could it be possible for someone in the Abe administration to put pressure on the Tokyo Police to silence Kitahara? Theoretically, yes. Abe himself gets to appoint the head of the Public Safety Commission that oversees the National Police Agency.
Technically speaking, even if someone in the Abe administration did say, “hey could you do something about that noisy bitch?” to the right person in the National Police Agency, it wouldn’t be illegal. If there is a crime, however minor, and a case can be made, an arrest can be made.

I don’t believe Abe would ever make that suggestion himself. But his loyal posse? Maybe.

Did someone actually do it? After December 10th, when the State Secrets Act went into place—we’ll never know. Anything like that, will be of course, a state secret. It would upset things.
And under the new law, even asking about a state secret, whether you know it’s not a secret or not, is a felony, punishable with up to five years in jail. It’s “instigating leaks.”

So what is obscene?

What’s obscene is that the Abe regime pushed into law the most oppressive state secrets bill in Japan’s history and stifled all last minute debate on its enactment by making sure that the press are occupied with election coverage.
It’s offensive that Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga can say at a press conference on November 19th, “We shouldn’t question the details of the secrecy laws one by one. The ruling party decides what the vote of confidence is all about. This election is about Abenomics”

That’s freedom of the press in the LDP mind. We tell you what the election is about, don’t raise other issues.

Right before her arrest Kitahara tweeted the following: “Sayonara Abe Government” and then a link recommending 100 LDP politicians who should be defeated in the next election.

Bad move?

Perhaps Kitahara’s real mistake was questioning the reasons for the elections in the first place.
Those of us not in jail can still ask—until the 10th. After that asking the question itself may be a crime. Or we may simply get the answer we can expect on every controversial subject for years to come:
“We won’t answer; it’s a secret.”

In a free and democratic society, that’s real obscenity.*

 

*a modified version of this article appeared in the Japan Times last year 

Tokyo Pop: See it, believe it, breathe it. (Especially if you’re human sculpture)

Updated on December 1st.
Talk a walk on the wild side…of Tokyo.

Androniki Christodoulou has spent a decade shooting the photos of Japan’s subculture and its quirky side, with many fine prints of them assembled at the exhibit Tokyo Pop  at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan in Hibiya. They are part of a visual diary formed as she walked the city streets and met Tokyo’s people, through work-related assignments or in the course of doing street photography.

Japan’s unique and colorful popular culture was one of the reasons that brought her to Tokyo in 2004, although she originally hails from Greece. She notes: “Tokyo is a place where tradition and new trends exist side by side. There are zones in the city that have specific character and others where everything is possible. From the surface uniformity of salarymen, the mania of Otaku, to the extremes of fetish culture, there is space for everything. Popular culture in Tokyo isn’t something fixed that can be described in one set of photos. It flows and changes all the time.”

RUBBER BRAIN party (in club Mandala). Tokyo. RUBBER BRAIN party is more about the fashion of dressing up in rubber (with a very strict dress code! you don't get in unless you are dressed up as something) and watching the shows which are quite artistic. In this party, there was Butoh dancing, a comedy show and in the end there were sheets of rubber and a rubber chamber where people would go in wearing a mask to breath with when the air between their bodies and the rubber was extracted. They would stay there for a few seconds until they had their picture taken as a live sculpture, and then an other person would take their place.
RUBBER BRAIN party (in club Mandala). Tokyo.
RUBBER BRAIN party is more about the fashion of dressing up in rubber–with a very strict dress code! you don’t get in unless you are dressed up as something–and watching the shows which are quite artistic. In this party, there was Butoh dancing, a comedy show and in the end there were sheets of rubber and a rubber chamber where people would go in wearing a mask to breath with when the air between their bodies and the rubber was extracted. They would stay there for a few seconds until they had their picture taken as a live sculpture, and then an other person would take their place.

In her photos currently on display at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan, she captures the mood and atmosphere of places and venues that many native Tokyoites never have experienced. She isn’t as entranced by the bondage, fetish and sleazy side of Tokyo as she once was but this exhibition captures some mind-blowing moments of revels past in the murky metropolis. The show ends November 5th. The photos are scattered throughout the club, in the bar, the hall and the sushi restaurant as well. It’s worth the trek–if you’re feeling inspired after the show,, you can even go to Bic Camera when you’re done and get your own camera. The road to Street Photography is just a street away.

HARADAAndroniki Christodoulou freelances for international media and corporate client as a photographer expanding more into the world of video and multi-media. She has worked with Patrick Galbraith on the counter-culture classic, Otaku Spaces and self-published Underworld about the 2011 tsunami.

Harada Mariru (原田まりる),24, at the time of the picture was named race queen of the year in 2006, but in her room you won’t find fashion makeup and designer shoes. In their place are over 13,000 manga, enough to earn her the title “manga sommelier,” 1,000 limited edition anime DVDs and 7,000 videogames, including dating simulator games.”  (from the book OTAKU SPACES, text by Patric Galbraith.) The original photo used for the cover is on display at the exhibition.
Harada Mariru (原田まりる),24, at the time of the picture was named race queen of the year in 2006, but in her room you won’t find fashion makeup and designer shoes. In their place are over 13,000 manga, enough to earn her the title “manga sommelier,” 1,000 limited edition anime DVDs and 7,000 videogames, including dating simulator games.” (from the book OTAKU SPACES, text by Patrick Galbraith.) The original photo used for the cover is on display at the exhibition.

 

 

Why I Stood Up To A Sexual Predator “Pick-Up Artist” and How We Took Him Down

Editor’s Note:* On November 1st (Saturday) at 1 am, Jennifer Li saw a video on-line of the so-called “dating expert” Julien Blanc that left her so horrified, that she had to take action. Working with a group of activists and journalists who later became friends and with on-line allies, within less than a week Jennifer had gotten Julien Blanc kicked out of Australia and brought world attention to a misogynous business community of so-called “pick-up artists” selling hatred and exploitation of women as dating techniques. 
In her own, sometimes slightly vulgar words, this self-proclaimed, “angry asian girl” tells why and how she took action—and why she now is going to step back a little and let others continue the good work.  
Please note: to readers, media and other bloggers, you are welcome to repost this anywhere, in good faith, if you like, but please link to the original post on Japan Subculture Research Center, especially if you are using just part of the essay. Thank you. 
Jennifer Li standing up for the rights of women and taking a stand against sexual predators--in action, in words, and often very acerbic funny words.
Jennifer Li standing up for the rights of women and taking a stand against sexual predators–in action, in words, and often very acerbic funny words.

 

                One who is present at a wrongdoing and does not lift a hand to prevent it, is as guilty as the wrongdoers

—a native American proverb

 

I started the campaign at around 1am on Saturday, after I saw the video on Tumblr. I was scrolling through  and saw the first video I’ve ever come across on Julien Blanc. It was the Japanese one.

This was the post.

Watching it, each second was more horrifying than the next. I’ve had no experience taking anyone down, so I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I had so much anger in me that I needed to channel it somewhere. I started the #takedownjulienblanc hashtag and @Jennli123 twitter account without knowing if it would ever pick up.

When I watched this video–

Julien Blanc, "dating expert", brag how easy it is to force Japanese women to put their mouths on your dick.  街で女の頭つかんで顔にチンコを当てまくった。
Julien Blanc, “dating expert”, brag how easy it is to force Japanese women to put their mouths on a man’s dick. 街で女の頭つかんで顔にチンコを当てまくった。

there were a million things going through my mind; how he was abusing his white privilege, how he was abusing his male privilege, how he is dehumanizing Japanese women, how he is committing sexual assault, how he is teaching this to other men, and how this will affect all women, everywhere. And when I looked at the company employing him, Real Social Dynamics (RSD) and their hub Real Social Dynamics Nation, and I did not like what I found.

I was outraged, with him especially. How dare he violate these Japanese women’s’ spaces! How dare he pass on his disgusting views and methods onto other men! This guy was in essence, assaulting women and getting away with it. And not just getting away with it— he was REWARDED for it. I could not believe that he could go about doing this without consequences.

He is perpetuating the idea that Asian women basically mean a “free for all” for predators. He emboldens men to approach Asian women and harass them. Men like him create problems for women like me because I am an Asian woman, and I don’t need men getting horrible ideas from watching videos like this to sexually harass me and invade my personal space. I am Chinese, but the type of people who will perpetuate this type of behavior won’t care what type of Asian I am. There are repercussions to Asian women everywhere; this guy is saying that it’s ok to have yellow fever, and to enact out sick power fantasies on Asian women. But not just Asian women—all women. He’s an equal opportunity predator.

When I first started researching him, I found little toxic gems on his website, PimpingMyGame.com, that were ludicrous. : “DEVELOP PANTY-DROPPING MASCULINITY WITH THIS ROCK-SOLID STRUCTURE TO SELF-GENERATE THE POWERFUL EMOTIONS GIRLS CRAVE.” Who the hell talks like that?

PIMPING it dude.
PIMPING it dude.  DEVELOP PANTY-DROPPING MASCULINITY. Yep.

But a part of me wasn’t laughing. This is an organized group of men who band together and teach other men how to assault women. There will be no accountability through RSD. Julien has too many fanboys in his community.

When I first started this, I had almost no strategy; I just threw things and hoped they stuck. I knew he was going to Tokyo. I called the Japanese Embassy, reported him, wrote to the press, did the hashtag thing, started a change.org petition.

I’m not a  journalist but I did my best to investigate him. I looked through this Twitter feed @RSDJulien, retweeted some of his tweets to expose him, including the Domestic Violence wheel and choking one. (His Twitter account has since been removed).

I caught the eye of Anonymous and Jake Adelstein around that time (November 2nd). I was already organizing with a bunch of folks, including some people in Australia, and I decided to drop that video into the Global Asians group that my (Japanese-American) friend Mandy is part of too. The ladies there started organizing right away; writing press releases on their own. They also lurked in the forums and started saving a lot of RSD stuff—before they could take it down.

Thanks to someone in Australia, we found out that he was hosting his seminar in the Como Melbourne, which is how I started the first petition. It worked.

The Como Melbourne was the first hotel to cancel a Julien Blanc/RSD seminar after Jennifer Li and friends started their #takedownjulienblanc campaign.
The Como Melbourne was the first hotel to cancel a Julien Blanc/RSD seminar after Jennifer Li and friends started their #takedownjulienblanc campaign.

Anonymous helped find his Eventbrite page, so I tacked on the Hilton Garden Inn and the Courtyard Seattle onto there. The Hilton Garden Inn Austin cancelled pretty quickly. The Courtyard Marriott did not have a large social media presence, so I had to personally call them five times before they got the idea and cancelled his event. Eventbrite pulled after that, and so did AWeber. After Eventbrite pulled, though, it was very hard to find the next venue location. The Mercure Brisbane victory was all Aussies; I didn’t even know he was being hosted there.

I disseminated the information, and the same applied to the St. Kilda location. The protest was organized by Aussies. I forwarded people to that Facebook page, but they did all of the work.

While I didn’t have a set strategy when I first started, I gained my footing once the movement started growing organically. I would target private venues that were hosting him, and try to cut off the hosting for their online propaganda.

I got people  in touch with one another; I realized that people were passionate about this and were prepared to do what they had to do to take RSD down, and my job was to de-duplicate their work and get folks who were dong similar things in touch with each other. I publicized relevant information that I had without jeopardizing whoever was organizing so people could build on the momentum. I made sure to only promote information that I thought was accurate; I did not want to discredit all our hard work by sending people to fake RSD accounts or waste their time on wild good chases.

There were people who had known about Julien Blanc before, and already had messages he had sent them and I promoted their stuff without disclosing their identities. By Saturday Nov. 8, I was pretty burned out and had no sleep (thanks to the Australia/ Washington DC/Japan time difference) and Julien Blanc was deported. Japan is already organizing on its own ban, as is Canada, London, the UK, and Brazil. This has become bigger than me; it’s become a global movement.

There’s always the argument that you shouldn’t feed the trolls—that by giving them attention you make the problem worse. That’s bullshit. You can’t solve problems by ignoring them.

The only way to take someone like him down is public shame. It’s to show that anyone associated with such a person and their organization like this is tarnishing their own name. I know this is giving him more publicity. Hopefully it’s the type of publicity that will shut down sadistic, hurtful and deceptive sociopaths like Julien Blanc and poisonous organizations like RSD down. This Asian girl is tired of this type of crap.

I’m not tired of it because I’m “Asian” either. I’m tired of it because I’m a woman. I can’t stand by and watch women being hurt by men like this.

RSD and Julien are on the defense; many of the videos I have watched are now taken down and made private, and RSD has had to shift servers to Liquid Web, who we are also petitioning. Something has obviously stuck. We have been able to shut down RSD’s events in Melbourne, Brisbane, Austin, and Seattle, and gotten Eventbrite to stop hosting their events, and had AWeber and Rackspace to stop hosting their content.

There isn’t any fight, even for a just cause, without some collateral damage. There are fans of Julien who have dug into my personal life, pulled up my writings, my on-line profile, and taken things I’ve said out of context. I’ve been accused of being a racist and hating white people, especially men.  They try to troll me.

I understand how that works. When people don’t like the message, they attack the messenger.

This shouldn’t be about me—it should be about whether it’s okay for men to deceive, harass, hurt and/or physically assault women for their amusement.

It’s not.

I don’t hate anyone because of their gender or race. I do strongly dislike men who hurt women for their own amusement and spread that message of schadenfreude to other men. And I do strongly dislike white people who think it’s ok to treat someone of a different race in a derogatory manner because they think they will get away with it. It’s a toxic cycle and I hope that I’ve helped raise awareness of it.

I don’t think the entire PUA (Pick Up Artist) community are bad guys. I think it’s sad that they seem to only be interested for women as targets for their sexual conquest and not in achieving any kind of real, caring and lasting relationship.

This isn’t my life work, but I wanted to stand up for what was right and for the rights of women to be free from harassment and violence.

I will still be active in the social justice movement  but I may no longer be leading the fight against Julien Blanc, RSD, and their ilk. It’s time for me to step back a bit; I’ve already done my part. People have gotten my message on RSD and Julien Blanc. The people of Brazil, the UK, Japan, and Canada know best how to handle the RSD situation in their countries. This movement has very capable people. I will continue cheering the people who continue what I’ve started.  I’m not planning to lead the movement globally anymore.  I’m tempted to leave everything in the hands of the community but people are saying I should petition Nevada Secretary of State about the RSD business license and I do live in the United States. Duty calls. I want to say thank you to everyone who took up the cause, everyone who supported me so far.

We made a difference. We are making a difference.