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 Popat 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.”
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.
Androniki 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.
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.
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.
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–
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 helltalks like that?
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.
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 themand 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.
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.
One of the most reviled misogynist “pick-up artists” is coming to Japan this month. He may find he is not very welcome. It’s one thing to teach dubious techniques to socially inadequate men on how to bed women; it’s another thing to grab Japanese women and force their face into your crotch.
In Japan, that’s not “aggressive dating” — that’s forcible indecency (kyōsei waisetsu), a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. I wonder if our visiting dating adviser is aware of this. He certainly wasn’t the last time he was in Japan.
Who is this charming fellow? He is, according to his Facebook page, “an executive coach for Real Social Dynamics, the international leader in dating advice.” According to a puff piece in The Daily Mail, “Pick-up artist Julien Blanc charges men $3,000 to learn his secret tricks.” He recently made a meaningless apology for his actions on CNN. Why doesn’t an apology mean anything? Because it’s not enough to exonerate you of criminal charges.
These secret tricks he brags about include grabbing women by the neck and choking them, psychological manipulation, lying and, in Japan, apparently sexually assaulting women while “cutely” saying “Pikachu, Pikachu” again and again to lighten the mood. I don’t think Nintendo would approve. The rest of the article is here in the Japan Times
Among the possible charges you’ll see listed below is one that is not: violations of the Tokyo Public Nuisance Prevention Ordinances (迷惑防止条例). It carries a penalty of less than months in prison or a penalty of 500,000 yen (6月以下の懲役又は50万円以下の罰金に処する。常習の場合、1年以下の懲役又は100万円以下の罰金). In the case of a “regular offender” and Blanc seems like a regular offender (professional offender?) if there ever was one, up to a year in jail or 1,000,000 yen fine. This is the law that the Tokyo police use to arrest gropers on trains, sometimes over zealously as recent cases show. But then again, Blanc has filmed his own damning evidence of himself committing the crimes.
The official police term for guys like Julien Blanc is chikan (痴漢) which translated into English means “molester, sexual pervert.” Julien Chikan Blanc. Try saying “Chikan, Chikan” instead of “Pikachu” next time you talk up the ladies—they’ll know to run away.
A reader of the blog kindly wrote to us and suggested a number of ways that Mr. Blanc’s past actions here (in Japan) could be considered crimes. In an extreme case, he might also be responsible for the sexual harassment or assault done by his followers. I spoke with an ex-prosecutor who agreed that the points made were valid and for you edification and that of Mr. Blanc and his followers I’ve posted them below. Crimes in bold would be the most probable charges. However, keep in mind that many cases of sexual assault require the victim to lodge a complaint (shinkokuzai/親告罪) or they can’t be prosecuted. That may also be the reason when Russian self-proclaimed rapist hasn’t been punished.
From Yoshiaki-san (who has asked not to have his full name used for reasons you can probably surmise).
I already reported this matter to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. It is them who decide which laws apply to this matter, but I think following laws will do the jobs to take him (Julien Blanc) down.
Article 61. (Inducement)
(1) A person who induces another to commit a crime shall be dealt with in sentencing as a principal.
(2) The same shall apply to a person who induces another to induce.
Article 106. (Disturbance)
A person who assembles in a crowd and commits an act of assault or intimidation thereby commits the crime of disturbance and shall be sentenced according to the following distinctions:
(i) A ringleader shall be punished by imprisonment with or without work for not less than 1 year but not more than 10 years;
二 他人を指揮し、又は他人に率先して勢いを助けた者は、六月以上七年以下の懲役又 は禁錮に処する。
(ii) A person who directs others or takes the lead in stirring up others shall be punished by imprisonment with or without work for not less than 6 months but not more than 7 years;
(iii) A person who merely follows others shall be punished by a fine of not more than 100,000 yen.
第百七十六条(強制わいせつ) Article 176. (Forcible Indecency) 十三歳以上の男女に対し,暴行又は脅迫を用いてわいせつな行為をした者は,六月以上 十年以下の懲役に処する。十三歳未満の男女に対し,わいせつな行為をした者も,同様と する。 A person who, through assault or intimidation, forcibly commits an indecent act upon a male or female of not less than thirteen years of age shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 6 months but not more than 10 years. The same shall apply to a person who commits an indecent act upon a male or female under thirteen years of age.
第二百八条(暴行) Article 208. (Assault) 暴行を加えた者が人を傷害するに至らなかったときは,二年以下の懲役若しくは三十万 円以下の罰金又は拘留若しくは科料に処する。 When a person assaults another without injuring the other person, the person shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than 2 years, a fine of not more than 300,000 yen, misdemeanor imprisonment without work or a petty fine.
Mr. Blanc’s unwanted advances on the poor woman working at the convenience store, fall into another category of crime as well.
He is attacking a girl on duty. So this one can also apply to this matter. I think I will contact the convenience store’s main office to send a report of damage to the police. He and his group members are too stupid. All stores have 24-hours-365-days-recording security video cameras. Only Japanese word they can read was pikachu so they did not notice that.
Chapter XXXV. Crimes against Credit and Business
Article 234. (Forcible Obstruction of Business)
A person who obstructs the business of another by force shall be dealt with in the same manner as proscribed under the preceding Article.
“Oddly, her anger, tears, helplessness, and fears turned me on. I would let her recover and relax for a day only to suddenly demand anal sex. I know how the system works and how difficult it is to build a rape case. So far, no one has been able to put me away.”
A not-so-bright Russian postdoctoral researcher in Japan may have outed himself as a sexual predator. A series of postings uncovered by our Japan Subculture Research Center reporter, Rila Kunina*, raises concerns that one Russian man in Hokkaido has been engaging in criminal behavior. We hope that by posting the details here, we are encouraging possible victims to come forward.
Prostitutka-Ket is a popular Russian blog run by a former sex worker who writes under pen name Callgirl Kat or Yekaterina Bezimyannaya (from nameless in Russian). Known for its frank discussions of sexuality, the website draws up to 150,000 visitors daily. On October 9th, one of them – a longtime resident of Sapporo who hails from the Russian city of Vladivostok – may have outed himself as a sexual predator.
Yekaterina Bezimyannaya’s October 9th post was the latest in a series dealing with date rape. Ms. Bezimyannaya, while refusing to identify as a feminist, subscribes to a staunchly feminist notion of consent – namely, that women (or men) never owe sex to anyone, and that consent can be withdrawn at any point before or during intercourse. A user who goes by the handle of “Lennikov” took to the comment section to gloat about repeatedly getting away with what would easily be classsifed as date rape, and in Japan as not only rape (強姦罪) but probably also監禁罪* (Unlawful Capture and Confinement). *A person who unlawfully captures or confines another shall be punished by imprisonment with hard labor for not less than 3 months but not more than 7 years.
The following is a translation of a series of comments Lennikov made before Yakaterina Bezimyannaya banned him from the blog. Be advised that the comments are extremely graphic and may prove trigger flashbacks in survivors of sexual violence.
“I’ve talked about this on my blog. I am fine with women who like being picked up in expensive cars and taken to nice hotels to make love.  What I can’t tolerate are women who, after being treated to a nice dinner and accepting an expensive gift, tell me that they really like me as a friend, that they don’t feel like having sex, and that they will call me later.  When I kick them out of the car in a deserted area outside of the city limits in the middle of the night, they act surprised. If we are in a foreign country, I threaten to cancel the woman’s return ticket. At that point, many women become docile and agree to make the dinner worth my while. They go back to my expensive car,  dutifully suck me off  and spread their legs. It is not until later that they accuse me of rape. The stupidest ones go to the police and try to report me.
I know how the system works and how difficult it is to build a rape case. So far, no one has been able to put me away.”
Lest there be any confusion, this is rape. A woman who finds herself stranded in a deserted, remote area late at night can reasonably fear for her life. Especially in the winter, when temperatures in Sapporo and Vladivostok alike dip well below zero. Especially if she is alone with a much larger man (according to his blog, Anto L. weighs 110 kg and stands 190 cm tall) who just demonstrated utter contempt for her humanity by driving her into the woods and demanding sex. Under these circumstances, any interaction a woman has with her assailant is nothing but a desperate plea for her life.
“Lennikov” is so sure of his impunity that he makes no attempt to conceal his identity, even using a close-up photo of his face as his profile picture. A cursory Internet search reveals that he is none other than Anto L, a chief researcher at a Medical University in Sapporo who has resided in Japan for the last 6 years. At least some of his alleged crimes have been committed on Japanese territory and against Japanese citizens; in one of his comments he characterizes Japanese women as “grateful” and more willing to “work” for the money he spent wooing them.
In perhaps the most chilling of his comments, Lennikov describes systematically raping a woman after inviting her to spend a vacation in Japan. Lennikov writes:
“Back in Russia, when I was 20, I dated a 16-year-old, let’s call her Masha… I reconnected with Masha through social networks. She is destitute and lives with her cancer-stricken, controlling mother.”
Masha accepted Lennikov’s invitation to visit Japan, all expenses paid. On her first night in the country, she agreed to sleep in the same bed with her host, but when he attempted to initiate intercourse, decisively rejected him, saying that she was not attracted to him physically. Several days later, Lennikov again began pressuring the woman to have sex with him, presumably threatening to cancel her return ticket. This time, she acquiesced.
“When everything was over, Masha became hysterical, accusing me of rape and threatening to call the police . When she reached for the phone, I put her into a chokehold and said that here [in Japan], I could dispose of her in anyway I pleased and with absolute impunity . I told her that for the rest of her stay, she would have sex with me when and however I wanted. 
The next morning Masha went to the bathroom and texted her friend that she had been kidnapped, raped, and would probably be killed. 
Oddly, her anger, tears, helplessness, and fears turned me on. It was amusing to comfort her, to say that we would simply spend time together and that I was ashamed of my behavior. I would let her recover and relax for a day only to suddenly demand anal sex.”
The woman’s ordeal lasted until, several days later, she received a return ticket from her relatives in Russia. Lennikov agreed to drive Masha to the airport, but not before forcing her to pose for sexually explicit pictures that he then threatened to e-mail to her coworkers.
According to the Lennikov, upon Masha’s return to Russia, he offered her money. Instead, she reported him to local law enforcement. However, no charges were filed. To put this fact in perspective, only 3% of reported rape cases in Russia reach court; all-too-often, survivors of sex crime have to deal with flagrant incompetence and even further abuse at the hands of the law enforcement.
After his comments drew widespread outrage (along with a hefty dose of garden-variety victim-blaming), Anto L hastily scrubbed his blog. He now claims that the stories he recounted on Bezimyannaya’s blog were fabricated. Simply put, Ant L claims to be a troll. And maybe he is. But here is the thing: over two months ago, someone – most likely Anto L himself – recounted identical events in a psychology self-help forum. That post now has been deleted. In the title, the poster asks, “am I a rapist?”
Japan Subculture Research Center is trying to reach Mr. L but has not heard back from him at this time. We are passing on a translation of his writings to the Sapporo Police and have reached out to the Russian police as well. Perhaps, Anto L is just a troll as he claims after redacting previous statements, but if he a sex offender, he should be brought to justice. At the very least, he should be ashamed of himself. You would think if he learned anything in his 6 years in Japan, it would be that at least.
If you are in Hokkaido and have any information on this individual, please send it to JSRC. We will translate it and pass it on to the authorities in both countries.
Rila Kunina is a pseudonym for JSRC’s Russia/Japan beat reporter. She is fearless and breaks fingers like pretzels. So we’ve heard.
Michiel Brandtdied from complications of leukemia in July of 2012, at age 30. Today, August 29th, 2013, she would have been 32. This was the essay she submitted to the Monterey Institute of International Studies on why she wanted to attend the school. It’s a heartfelt and concise piece on what “human trafficking” really means.
She graduated posthumously on December 8th, 2012. The Monterey Institute of International Studies thanks to her Professor Tsuneo Akaha and her friend Maria Pacana, has set up a fund in her honor. If you’d like to keep her dream and her memory alive, donations are always welcome. The essay was written while she was being treated for her third bout with leukemia.
Even as I lay like a pincushion with numerous intravenous lines running into my arms and legs, overwhelmed by the unbearable side effects of irradiation and chemotherapy, there was no doubt in my mind that I would overcome this damned cancer and live to do two things: travel the world, and pursue my ultimate passion to combat human trafficking.I was diagnosed with adult T-cell leukemia in the spring of 2005, a type of leukemia usually found in adults over forty years of age. As I was only twenty-three at the time, I was told upfront that I would most likely not live to see the next year. Even so, with a mere three percent survival rate, oddly, I never once doubted that I would survive. In August I was blessed with a bone marrow stem cell transplant from my brother who tested as a perfect match for me—a rarity even among siblings—and by fall I was discharged from the hospital, a miracle speedy recovery.
I want to pursue postgraduate studies because I aspire for a career at an international organization such as the IOM (International Organization for Migration), where I can fight for my all-time passion to combat human trafficking. [Not only do I find it personally abhorrent, but intellectually, it] is a terrible exploit of labor that robs women, men and children of their freedom and dignity. In fact, human trafficking is too polite of a term. “Modern slavery” is a more apt expression. Perhaps if portrayed by this term, more people would share my vehemence to combat it.
There are many approaches to combat this internationally organized crime. In the two years since I have earned by bachelor’s degree, I pursued several paths toward this goal. I did fieldwork with a nongovernmental organization called The Asia Foundation, assisting rescued victims of human trafficking in Japan by guiding them to shelters, getting in touch with their families, and arranging flights home if they desired it. I have also taken the approach of public awareness. In order to decrease the demand in Japan, I helped organize seminars with the Foundation to make the current situation public. The majority of Japanese do not have the faintest idea that they live in the largest destination country for victims of trafficking. Worse, most look down upon these foreigners with menial jobs, having no idea that they were tricked into coming to Japan, their passports taken away upon arrival, forced into debt, not paid for their services, and threatened with the death of their families if they were to run away.
I also contributed to an international study to record the situation of human trafficking across borders in order to combat it more effectively. I conducted research for a U.S. State Department-funded study of human trafficking, where I investigated the situation in Japan. During this time I participated in many international conferences on counter-trafficking, where I had the pleasure of working with embassies and international organizations such as the IOM.
I still wish to try to tackle human trafficking from other angles, such as awareness-raising in countries of origin at the grassroots level to inform potential victims of the dangers of trafficking. A legal approach also interests me, such as securing a visa for trafficked victims in Japan so that they can work legally, and making the T1 Visa in the U.S. more attainable to victims, as it is not. I aspire to work at the IOM or an organization like it, as it takes on many of these projects, and has the flexibility and resources to combat human trafficking using many different approaches.
I would like to attend a master’s program to realize my goals, to become a part of something greater and more influential, and to learn how to make my ideas really make a difference to help stop Modern Slavery.
Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Fund (Monterey Institute of International Studies) — Please help us keep Michiel’s dream alive:
Here is how to give to this Fund:
1) Go to:http://www.miis.edu/giving<http://lists.middlebury.edu/t/684068/711859/1372/0/>;
2) Click on “Giving Now”; and,
3) Complete the giving form: under “2. Gift Information” “Direct Your Gift”, please select “Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Fund.”
Ms. Igarashi had sent the data to over 30 people around the country who had donated to a crowd-funding project she started last year to build what she called the “pussy boat”–a kayak in the shape of her genitals. She will also be giving a press conference today, July 24th, at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan, in which various foreign media outlets are expected to be in attendance. After her detainment, the lawyers for Ms. Igarashi protested to the court that the prosecution’s request to hold her for ten days was unwarranted, and in an unusual decision, a panel of judges agreed. Typically, once someone is arrested in Japan, release from custody is rare. The working assumption is presumed guilty until proven guilty
Takashi Yamaguchi, one of the lawyer’s for Igarashi said, “We were delighted by the court’s decision which would also seem to be a rebuke to the police for arresting her in the first place. There was no need to put her in detention. ” At the press conference, the demure Igarashi, also known as and prefers to go by Rokudenashiko (ろくでなし子・good-for-nothing child), said that she had received no warning from the police that her activities and artwork were considered obscene and was taken aback when the police stormed her residence unannounced Saturday morning (July 12th) and arrested her on “obscene electromagnetic record distribution charges.” Ms. Igarashi has not denied distributing data that would allow people to make a 3D printing of her vagina; however, she does deny that the images are obscene.
“My pussy (マンコ) is not obscene.”
For many in Japan, it is puzzling that Ms. Igarashi was arrested at all, when you consider that events such as the Kanamara Festival (かなまら祭り), which celebrates fertility and penis worship, is held every year. The festival centers around penises, which are carried as sacred objects and appear as candy, hats, and trinkets. Phallic-shaped objects or anything that has to do with sex are sold all around the shrine. As part of this year’s festivities, men and women carried a gigantic pink penis shrine with testicles attached while visitors, including children, watched on. For a detailed description, please see this year’s earlier photo essay.
Ms. Igarashi in response to JSRC’s question as to why penises are not considered obscene under Japan’s obscenity laws but her vagina images were, bemusedly responded, “It baffles me, too. I think it’s a kind of sexual discrimination. For instance, on television, (you can say the word for penis but) you can’t say manko (Japanese slang for vagina)—they’ll bleep it out. In my artwork, which celebrates female genitalia, I try to challenge this concept of women’s sexual organs themselves being obscene. They’re just another part of the body.” Well, apparently as far as the police are concerned that’s not the case. And obviously, the penis must not be obscene because otherwise the Kanamara Festival would result in more arrests than a raid on a club where people dance illegally past midnight. What is even more surprising about here arrest is that in sex shops across Japan you can buy replicas of famous porn star vaginas that are far more graphic than a 3D printer and made of surgical silicone. The purpose of these artificial vaginas are obviously not just to display on the mantle.
As has been pointed out before, Japan is a country which only banned possession of child pornography last month—with a one year grace period for possessors of the material (estimated to be 1 in 10 Japanese men by a government study) to get rid of their contraband. The portrayal of child pornography in manga was left out of the law due to protest from the publishing industry—so it seems surprising that distributing images of an adult woman’s vagina to those who request it would lead to an arrest. It’s even more ironic when you consider that most sexual services are in Japan are legal, so if a man wants to see a real vagina or play with one, he just has to pay for it. Yet, as long as he does this behind closed doors—it’s not obscene or illegal. On the other hand, under Japanese law, genitals have to be blurred out in pornography, though restrictions have loosened in recent years.
When asked why the word for vagina can’t be mentioned on television, Ms. Igarashi was stumped for an answer. So were her lawyers. Maybe that’s because like so many things in Japan, men get to decide what’s obscene and what’s not. The lawyers for Igarashi, and Ms. Igarashi herself stated they intend to fight the charges of obscenity and plead innocent. They believe that she was arrested and detained by the police primarily in the hope that she would “confess” to the charges, thus making the case a slam-dunk; she did not cooperate. They will argue that the data does not constitute obscenity as defined in the Supreme Court verdict in 1957 that found DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover to be salacious and in violation of the law. In that case, The Supreme Court concluded, “the description of the sex acts contained therein at twelve passages, as pointed out by the prosecutor, is all too bold, detailed, and realistic”.
Rokudenashiko is a slightly eccentric artist—this is certainly true. She has written an entire comic book about her obsession with her genitalia 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 in the near future.
Ms. Igarashi, at the press conference, was generally in good spirits, laughing and chatting with the press but when asked how far she was willing to fight, she said with resolve, “I’ll take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. I refuse to accept that part of me is obscene just because certain people looking at it choose to see it that way.”
Japan has a unique way of celebrating western holidays. On Christmas Eve, men and women check into Japan’s ubiquitous, pay by the hour, slightly kinky boutique hotels, also known as “love hotels” and celebrate the event with raucous but tasteful intercourse.
On Valentine’s Day, the women buy chocolates for men. The men reciprocate a month later on White Day, a candy industry invented holiday, by saying thanks for their expensive chocolate gifts with cheap white chocolates.
The whole holiday is a huge headache for many Japanese women who not only buy chocolates for the most important lover in their life, which may not necessarily be their boyfriend, or husband, or even a man at all–but they also have to buy and give chocolates to work acquaintances and close male friends. The chocolates that you give to your lover are called 本命チョコ (true love chocolates). Those you give out of obligation (義理) are called giri-choco (義理チョコ).
Obviously, some of this self-reporting is dubious and simply black humor but it’s not altogether an unknown practice and reports of it date back at least to 2011.
There seems to be a primitive belief in Japan that one’s blood or parts of the body have magical powers of attraction and that by having your true love consume it, that they will become a part of you or inseparable. In other words, if you are the one in love but not your partner (片思い）, having him drink your blood is believed to make you fall in love with each other equally. (両思い).
The insertion of bodily fluids into chocolates is considered to be a sort of black magic (黒魔術) or a spell/majinai（呪い). Or perhaps, women just do it because a popular website reported it as new trend. In Japan, what is reported to be a trend, often becomes a trend based on that report. The news makes the news. Of course, one respondent to JSRC explained her reasons for putting her blood in the chocolate as simply, “I thought it would make the chocolate taste better.” (血液を入れたら美味しくなるかと思ったから)
Ideally, says the blogosphere, if you are going to lace your true love’s chocolates with blood, menstrual blood is the most powerful. For those women to be having their period during Valentine’s Day is an auspicious sign. Women are advised that if they don’t have blood to give, to try fingernails, skin, or other materials from their own body.
We agree that the “bloody valentines” are not a trend, and probably only made only by a fringe element in Japan but there you go. Japan apparently isn’t the only place where the magical attractive powers of a woman’s blood in the food of her man are supposed to to make him a love slave. This is allegedly a common voodoo belief as well. However, in Japan they seem to be more methodical in how to do it, including recipe suggestions—even if some of that is in jest.
It goes without saying that consuming the blood of another person is probably not healthy. And the jury is out on the efficacy of chocolate’s sterilization of harmful viruses in the red elixir of life. So for you lucky guys in Japan getting a box of chocolates from your “true love” or would be “true love” ; be sure to get vaccinated first and consume carefully. If you suddenly find yourself feeling strongly for your lover in what was once a one-sided relationship, well then you’ll know something magical is happening.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Note: This article was originally written without one tasteless pop-culture reference to horror/slasher film “My Blood Valentine.” Angela Kubo, food writer, gracefully contributed to this report.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police (TMPD) announced last week that they re-arrested a 28 year old man, Mr. S, with no fixed abode on theft charges; he is accused of stealing of over 450 pairs of high-heel shoes and other women’s objects from high-end hostess clubs in Ginza and the greater Tokyo area. According to police and other sources, he went on a high-heel shoes stealing rampage from early last year. The most recent charges are as follows: On November 1st (2013), just around lunchtime, Mr. S snuck into a Ginza hostess club that was closed and stole 16 pairs of shoes and numerous vials of lipstick from the lockers in the changing rooms. The lipstick and shoes had an assessed value of 550,000 yen (roughly $5,000).
Mr. S reportedly told the police that, “I have no interest in new high heeled shoes. It was fun to steal old ones.” He kept the stolen pairs in a rental room in Suginami-ward, where he also slept. Eventually the rental room became so full of shoes and ladies garments that he had no space to sleep and would spend his night in internet cafes.
Mr. S was caught on the 6th of this year rummaging through a hostess club in Ikebukuro, detained by staff, and turned over to the police and arrested on theft charges. Further investigations led to him confessing his past crimes. He reportedly referred to the dressing rooms he raided as “treasure chests.” Speaking of chests, he apparently had no interests in bras but was more of a shoe guy. However, hard work by Tokyo’s gumshoes ended his shoe stealing days–for now.
If you are a Ginza hostess and missing some very nice high heels, try asking the Ikebukuro Police Department to located your loved ones. It’s possible they may be under protective custody.
This week Jiyu Kokumin Shupansha known for publishing the beloved Japanese language lexicon Basic Knowledge Of Modern Lingo (現代用語の基礎用語), in celebration of their 30th year of awarding the annual The New and Trendy Words Of The Year (新語・流行語大賞）announced the most enduring top ten trendy words for the last three decades. The company surveyed three hundred people and had them rank the words in order of importance and impact. It’s a nice window into social change and social consciousness in Japan. It also shows that Japan’s love for flirty attractive women who pour drinks at a bar remains solid no matter how much time passes. (When Japanese men learn to pour their own drinks, it’ll practically be a revolution.)
① Cabaret Club/キャバクラ (1985)
② It’s best to have a healthy husband, who is rarely home/亭主元気で留守がいい (1986)
③Sexual Harassment/セクシュアル・ハラスメント 同義語 セクハラ (1988)
④Old guy girl/オヤジギャル (1990)
⑥If you really sympathise, give me money/同情するならカネをくれ (1994)
⑦The Safety Myth/安全神話 (1995)
⑧Good luck, Kobe! がんばろうＫＯＢＥ (1995)
⑨I want to praise myself/自分で自分を褒めたい (1996)
⑩Unequal society/格差社会 (2006)
The trendy words fit together oddly in a way. The healthy husband is never home because he’s at the Cabaret Club sexually harassing the hostesses―not that they complain because Japan is an unequal society and part of the paycheck includes putting up with these guys. The nice guy healthy husbands dragged to the bar by their bosses may even express their support for the Cabaret Club girls who have to put up with them, at which point, the smarter girls will use the line from the hit TV series about a homeless little girl (家無き子）and say, “If you really sympathize, give me money.”
If the man can not afford to pay the money, he may be able to hang out with the old guy girl who plays golf, drinks a lot, and is just like one of the guys except she’s a woman. Maybe she can be his supporter, even if he isn’t a sportsman.
In the worst case scenario, if his wife doesn’t want him around and all the available woman in his life ignore him, he can always praise himself.
The Safety Myth vanished with rising crime in Japan and the terrible Kobe earthquake―which showed how poorly Japan dealt with disaster. Of course, the myth of safety, is a word that may never really go out of style as the triple meltdown at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant showed us all. However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apparently isn’t a a fan of trendy words because he’s pushing the safety myth envelope as he tries to export Japan’s nuclear technology and convince the Nuclear Regulatory Authority to start up Japan’s decrepit nuclear power plants once again.
Originally posted as Fuzoku Friday: Finding a Job That’s Right For You on November 20th, 2009
Last week we talked about magazines and websites for fuzoku job hunters, but for those looking to dive into the industry and start their career in high-paying part-time work (高収入アルバイト), the variety of work available must be daunting. How is a girl to know what kind of job best suits her personality?
LunLun Work is once again here to help, with a handy work guide that simply and clearly lays out a description, demands and money-making potential for sex industry jobs from “lingerie cabarets” to soaplands. For example:
Good for idiots: 3
No nudity required: 4
Work when you want: 4
Easy stand-by: 4
Calorie burner: 4
Payment: 4-stars (At a shop) 3-stars (Delivery-style)
Here girls dress in various types of costumes, such as a schoolgirl, nurse or maid, and roleplay with customers. Playing pretend can be fun!