The Japan Subculture web site continues to be my go to source for the “real” street level news and opinions here in Japan. Check out this story about the latest perversion trend.
Fuzoku lite: “Aquarium of girls” offers thrills for herbivore men
By Sarah Noorbakhsh | 24 May 2011
Girls in uniform, some as young as 15, sit sprawled out on the floor of a small room, chatting or reading books. Skirts are rolled high, some have their legs folded up against their chest, and none the girls give much notice to the fact that their colorful panties are on display–to the paying customers in the next room.
Welcome to a joshi-kousei kengaku club.
As an evolution of the deai cafe and other fuzoku phenomenon, “high school girl viewing clubs” began appearing at the end of last year. The number of establishments has rapidly increased in Kanagawa and Tokyo prefectures, with many opening in locations such as Akihabara and Suidobashi.
Authorities investigated a club in Yokohama late last month under suspected violation of the Labor Standards Act. The venue, located amongst the restaurants and bars of the city’s Naka ward, has no sign, and those looking to visit must call ahead and get the location of the building.
Inside a club, bubbly Jpop music is piped into dark rooms and corridors. “You can relax and enjoy your time here because it’s not a brothel and it’s not illegal,” says a woman at the reception. Five small booths await paying customers with waiting times reaching far beyond an hour during busy periods.
Visitors choose between 3,000 yen for 30 minutes or 5,000 yen for 50. Upon paying, customers enter their booth, which is divided by a curtain, and look through a one-way mirror into the room full of young girls. For an extra 2,000 yen, a customer can select a girl to have sit directly in front of his booth for 10 minutes.
Because the booths are separated by curtains, customers are conscious of the men next to them. Inside the rooms there is nothing; no box of tissues, no garbage bin. A sign on the wall prohibits photos and videos.
Girls’ voices can be heard from outside. “After this let’s go get something to eat.” “I’m knackered today..” Dribs and drabs of daily life. Some chat, others read manga, but none show any sign of embarrassment at revealing their goods to the men on the other side. Some girls come in wearing normal clothing, and grab uniforms that the venue provides for them. They change, showing little sign they even know men are watching.
As the Sankei put it, “It’s like an aquarium with high school girls on display.”
The girls who populate the clubs see it less as a sexual service than just an easy way to make money. According to police, the girls get paid between 800 and 1,000 yen per hour at the club, and no sexual services are involved. About 40 girls in Kanagawa alone have registered for the job, and some girls reap up to 10,000 yen per day.
The shop advertises itself as offering enticing glimpses of real schoolgirls, and requires all potential “employees” to show their school ID to prove they’re in high school. Middle school students and girls over 18 aren’t allowed.
Police point out that, while the room is walled in one-way mirrors, the girls can still partially see the men, and have some idea of what they’re doing.
According to fuzoku journalist Yukio Murakami, the popularity of “high school girl viewing clubs” comes from how well they target a specific clientele. “Men are becoming more herbivorous,” he says. “I think ‘lite fuzoku’ that provides no actual sexual service kind of matches the generation.” Although herbivores are interested in girls, Murakami says, they’re also afraid of what might happen if they get caught looking on the street or in a train. Clubs give them a space to peep without fear.
Fuzoku writer Chuya Nakao says, “While there’s a lot of regular sex shops that have closed down because of the economy, ‘lite fuzoku’ has definitely taken off.” He predicts that fuzoku itself is certainly not going anywhere, as women learn they can have fun and make easy money through this kind of shop.
Police are attempting to target the clubs to curtail this new expansion into the fuzoku industry. Club “Yokohama Mambo” was investigated by police last month in an attempt to press child welfare laws against the venue, but because the girls are free to come and go as they please, the law wasn’t applicable. Authorities finally landed upon the Labor Standards Act, as it stipulates youth may not work in places that are hazardous from a hygienic or social welfare standpoint. They hope to investigate similar premises under the same law.