Fuzoku Friday: "Prostitution" vs Prostitution
The Japanese law draws the line between legal and illegal sexual services by whether or not the ball makes it into the goal, so to speak. And while some businesses, namely soaplands, manage to work their way around these rules, law enforcement chooses to “focus their efforts” on places that are plainly and evidently illegal.
The first clip is from “The Zokufu 24 Hours,” a program on a local Chiba TV station. We find ex-pro wind surfer and host, Saito Ryotsu, here to learn along with viewers “How to Hotel Health.”
We find Saito in front of “Kiken na Baito Ikebukuro East Exit,” a “hotel health” shop near Ikebukuro station (notice the hours of operation.. could it really close this early?). He heads to the reception desk of the shop and meets the owner, who explains that after choosing a girl a customer heads to a particular room in a particular love hotel, after which the girl arrives. The two then have a “little bit of pervy play.” The owner whispers to Saito the specifics, and he laughs in excited disbelief. The girls are aged 18-23 to appeal to customers with a Lolita complex.
Saito chooses then heads to the hotel, and is soon met by 21-year-old “Mei-chan.” Speaking in simple, childish Japanese, Mei says her favorite kind of customers are the really perverted ones who make her to exhibitionistic things like flash out the window. She says she originally wanted to be an “idol” (model and singer), but now found out about “fudols” (fuzoku idol) and is content with becoming that.
Mei explains that when customers come they become her boyfriend. She then takes a school uniform out of her bag and changes for Saito. He then supposedly tries out Mei’s services, which appear to be pretty satisfactory as he declares, “Hotel health is the best!!!” The segment ends with Saito asking the manager for a discount.
Despite how comically the “delivery health” service is to many, on the flip side of the coin we have illegal brothels that provide more traditional services. Here is a news clip about a police bust on a brothel in Kawasaki earlier this year:
In the clip we see police interrogating several women inside a small building, and the narrator explains that all the women in the brothel were Koreans who are suspected of having come to Japan to become prostitutes. An officer asks one woman her name, and although she doesn’t understand Japanese she tells him she arrived in Japan on vacation. We see small rooms lit with pink lights, containing nothing but futons, electric fans and other personal goods.
Customers were charged 10,000 yen for the deed, and investigators find cash inside one woman’s purse. They ask one woman how many customers she’s had today and she insists the bills are her own personal funds. The girls lived in the brothel and advertised services themselves.
The report says that the area in Kawasaki where the bust occurred is full of illegal prostitution. They show a video taken in May of women standing in windows calling out at men. When a man asks one of the women how much, she tells him 20,000 yen. In order to hide activities from the police the brothels have a lookout, who the camera catches nearby. Police catch him on patrol while they bust the brothel, and ask him about wireless radios and a list of license plate numbers found inside. The lookout had the numbers of 70 police cars, allowing him to spot undercover cops then radio back to the brothel and tell the girls to run.
In all they arrested four lookouts and 18 Korean women. This is apparently not an unusual occurance in Kawasaki, and police had busted another brothel in the same area earlier in the year, arresting the Korean who ran the operation and seven Korean and Columbian prostitutes.