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Foreskin clip joints take unwary males for a ride

61 Comments

More males in Japan are undergoing esthetic surgical procedures to improve their appearance or boost their self esteem. But with these have come a variety of problems, particularly from doctors who pad their estimates tenfold, to the equivalent of what a wage-earner in his early twenties might take home in an entire year.

Yukan Fuji (Sept 9) reports that in June of this year, a group of Osaka attorneys, after setting up a telephone hotline to field complaints, became aware of how widespread the matter -- particularly for "delicate" male problems, for whom the victims feel they have nowhere else to air their concerns -- has become.

"From 10 years ago, we've been receiving a stream of complaints from victimized patients," says Hirohiko Ozaki, a member of the group of Osaka attorneys.

Most of these patients turned to legal help after undergoing circumcisions.

Only in a small number of cases are circumcisions necessary for medical reasons, and such individuals can make use of their national health insurance to have the procedure done inexpensively. But rather than provide such explanations, unethical dealers in the foreskin removal trade might tell them, "Your circulation is being constricted" or "There's a chance you'll develop cancer." And rather than giving them, say, a week's time to think things over or obtain a second opinion, push them to come to an immediate decision to proceed.

The clinics advertise such services for about 100,000 yen in magazine ads or on the Internet. But this is only to get the patient in the door. Once their manhood is about to go under the surgeon's scalpel, the doctors strongly urge them to agree to "optional" procedures, such as injections of collagen. As the doctors pile on the charges while ratcheting up the fear, some patients find themselves swindled to the tune of 1 million yen or more.

"Collagen is absorbed by the body after a brief duration, so such injections don't have any longlasting effect," says attorney Ozaki. "What's more, the doctors will say that before injecting it, they must first perform an allergy test.

"And when they warn a patient that they 'won't appear attractive to women' or 'might develop cancer,' we want these victims to know they're being lied to."

Complaints to the Consumer Affairs Center of Japan regarding esthetic surgery on males have been running at the rate of 240 to 290 cases a year for the past five years. Some 70% to 80% of these claims involve circumcisions, and the center's home page contains advisory warnings about unethical practices.

One individual, while still a minor, saw an ad offering circumcisions for 80,000 to 100,000 yen on the clinic's website, but was caught with his pants down -- literally in this case -- when the doctor warned him of possible complications from procedures that cut corners on costs (so to speak) and wound up getting billed 800,000 yen, to be paid in installments.

When the attorney was shown the credit contract, he arranged for the youth to visit a urologist, who said that the same procedure could have been performed under the national insurance scheme. With the patient paying 30% of total charges, it would have cost him about 6,000 yen.

The center pressured the doctor to accept the 30,000 yen deposit the youth had already paid and waive the remaining balance.

Ozaki says that Japan has adopted stricter professional guidelines regarding such practices, with tougher new penalties to discourage violators.

A worker at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare told Yukan Fuji that they are currently in the process of evaluating the effectiveness of the revised regulations. Meanwhile, to avoid becoming a victim, Ozaki advises anyone in need of medical advice concerning their "delicate" problem to first see a qualified urologist to determine if there a problem really exists, and if there is, whether or not it can be treated at reasonable cost under the health insurance scheme.

© Japan Today

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61 Comments
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Most of these patients turned to legal help after undergoing circumcisions.

Makes me cringe just thinking about it.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

When I first got here, my wife and her Japanese friends used to believe anything and everything a plumber, doctor, lawyer, or even the airhead at the local Autobacs said about anything. That situation has been largely remedied over the years by explaining to and showing them that there are rip-off artists in every country, even here in 'safety' Japan. You have to use common sense and critical thinking.

12 ( +13 / -3 )

These are the ads with the guy in the turtle neck sweater pulled up to his eyes and the two girls standing next to him seductively.

There are many arguments pro and con for circumcision. Profit and retail sales should have no business anywhere in any discussion...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

These doctors are probably all avid Japanese AV fans. They want to make sure the AVs that they are going to buy are all 'neat and tidy' in 'ship-shape', and, whenever possible, 'beautiful and gorgeous' through collagen and enhancement procedures, while reaping windfall gains. What a way to kill two 'birds' with one stone!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

These doctors sound like the mechanics at the shop when I go for an oil change!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wow, makes me kinda glad that I was circumcised soon after birth and never remembered any of it. Cultural/religious thing with my family. But having to wait until you're old enough to remember it? Yikes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We had both our sons circumcised right after birth too, for hygienic reasons. These "quacks" won't be able to hold of them !

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The center pressured the doctor to accept the 30,000 yen deposit the youth had already paid and waive the remaining balance.

Honestly this isn't good enough.

The doctor in question should have had his license revoked for unethical practice.

When doctors realise that unethical business models will lose them their licences they'll just refuse to engage in this sort of thing, because a million yen may sound like a lot of money, but actually it is peanuts compared to the cost they paid for their education and license.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Unless medically necessary, keep the baggage.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

In the UK these people would probably be struck off the medical register, and charged with fraud. Here...well, can't say anything bad against a "Sensei"

5 ( +7 / -2 )

But why, if not for medical or religious reasons, would anyone want to chops bits off?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

cleoSep. 18, 2014 - 12:49PM JST But why, if not for medical or religious reasons, would anyone want to chops bits off?

Why do women get their ears pierced? Because it is fashionable.

I agree with you 100% that it shouldn't be done, but sadly there's a lot of pressure on young men to have 6-pack abs, great hair, and no foreskin.

Feminists have been up in arms for decades about the media pushing unrealistic images that damage the confidence and health of young women, but I think it is only fair to note that increasingly the same pressures are weighing on young men.

Sadly progress towards gender equality hasn't resulted in one gender being raised up to the same level as the other, but both genders being pulled down to the same level of objectification. I find the entire phenomenon somewhat depressing.

7 ( +7 / -1 )

It reduces the risk of contracting STDs.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

LarrySep. 18, 2014 - 01:14PM JST It reduces the risk of contracting STDs.

So does using a condom, or getting yourself and your partner STD tested before having sex, or being faithful to one partner... And none of these techniques require genital mutilation in the name of fashion.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

a good shower and some whiteout will keep you safe from stds.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Some people do not have access to comdoms or regular testing. So yes maybe in developed countries you have a point. I said nothing about fashion.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Why do women get their ears pierced? Because it is fashionable.

I got mine done because I was fed up of my ears hurting from having too-tight clip-ons, and of losing not-tight-enough ones. But in terms of fashion, people can see my ears, there is some (slight) point to decorating them.... surely by the time a man gets to the point of someone viewing the shape of his apparatus, the deal has already been done? And if the girl backs out at the sight of a foreskin, better to find out how shallow she is sooner rather than later....

Or is the kind of party Prince Harry goes to more popular than I imagine?

2 ( +9 / -7 )

papigiulio- Didn't know you could shower off AIDS.

Male circumcision for HIV prevention: current research and programmatic issues HA Weiss, KE Dickson, K Agot, CA Hankins - Aids, 2010 - journals.lww.com

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Doctors should be taking one look and saying, "No, you do not need this operation, it is a meaningless and pointless risk, and I will not risk your life with anaesthesia and surgery simply so you can follow some fashion trend.".

LarrySep. 18, 2014 - 01:47PM JST Some people do not have access to comdoms or regular testing. So yes maybe in developed countries you have a point. I said nothing about fashion.

Last time I checked Japan had plenty of access to condoms and regular testing, and so your line of reasoning is just plain illogical.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Doctors should be taking one look and saying, "No, you do not need this operation, it is a meaningless and pointless risk, and I will not risk your life with anaesthesia and surgery simply so you can follow some fashion trend.".

Absolutely. I'm amazed that they aren't legally obliged to do so. Even vets these days (the reputable ones, anyway) are refusing to crop dogs' ears on the grounds that it isn't necessary and unnecessary anaesthesia should be avoided.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Frungy- There are other countries in the world. I am simply stating the merits of circumcision on a global scale. And those merits have nothing to do with vanity. Think out of the box. Even if you are in a country with condoms available why not improve your chances of not contracting an STD, condoms can break.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

We evolved the foreskin to protect the head... why chop it off?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Yoshiki:

" There are many arguments pro and con for circumcision. Profit and retail sales should have no business anywhere in any discussion... "

No. Except for some very cases, there is no "pro" for circumcision. Ask a competent doctor, not a quack.

Both male and female circumcision are performed only either to please some god or to make someone rich.

2 ( +7 / -4 )

The whole HIV prevention argument for circumcision is pretty tenuous. Even if it were true, a slightly reduced chance of contracting HIV is hardly enough to sway me.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

It's male genital mutilation

2 ( +6 / -4 )

'Unless medically necessary, keep the baggage.'

Exactly, and don't hack bits off babies who obviously have no say in the matter.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Phimosis maybe? But it's not really that common. And it is a medical problem, but without complications I don't know if there's national healthcare coverage for it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"We evolved the foreskin to protect the head..."

And as a place to keep chewing gum don't forget.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Prospective parents considering having their newborn sons circumcised ought to have a look at a site called circumstitions.com. The photos are accompanied by some very useful explanations, and they are an important (and in some cases, YHBW, horrific) reminder that circumcisions are by no means always performed correctly. There is very little (if any) checking back once the procedure has been done: success is basically assumed. As we live in a world of tender sensitivities where sex is concerned, many parents are completely unaware what a correctly circumcised penis should look like - though they were certain in their minds that circumcision was necessary. Unsurprisingly, many children don't find out until adulthood that something is wrong.

The whole field seems to thrive on and to breed ignorance.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I got mine done because I was fed up of my ears hurting from having too-tight clip-ons, and of losing not-tight-enough ones.

...and the reason you felt the need to wear clip-ons? Because it was fashionable.

My foreskin was removed right after birth for hygienic rather than religious reasons. I never saw it. Everything "works" so as far as I know the circumcision was done correctly. It wasn't until I entered middle school (with the mandatory after-PE showers) that I realized anybody might be any different than me in that aspect. Even though I never got to know mine, I cannot contemplate deciding as a teenager or young adult to have it removed unless there was a serious problem with it. I'm a firm believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Complications from surgery can happen even when performed by the most reputable surgeons.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Didn't know you could shower off AIDS.

Male circumcision for HIV prevention: current research and programmatic issues HA Weiss, KE Dickson, K Agot, CA Hankins - Aids, 2010 - journals.lww.com

Even those who believe that circumcision helps prevent HIV are forced to concede that there is absolutely no evidence that circumcision has any protective effect against HIV in the developed world. All studies on the issue, from the US Navy to medical clinics, reveal no correlation between HIV status and circumcision status.

Even in Africa, the epidemiological studies on HIV status and circumcision revealed that in half of African countries, circumcised men are MORE likely to be HIV positive than uncircumcised men, in the other half of countries, it's the other way around. There just isn't any epidemiological proof of evidence of circumcision being effective against HIV. The only evidence are an handful of clinical studies which have been criticized for flawed methodology (losing contact with more people than were infected by HIV, people reporting no sexual activity being tested as HIV positive, offering sex ed to circumcised men and not to the control group, etc...).

In Zimbabwe, after a big circumcision drive, people realized that the rate of HIV infection in circumcised men was higher than in uncircumcised men. HIV is also rising in the Middle-East, where almost all men are circumcised.

As far as I am concerned, the idea that circumcision helps against HIV is bad science and completely unproven, but some people push it for cultural reasons only.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I'm surprised that (as far as I can see) no-one has yet said the obvious:

"A fool and his money are soon parted."

Cleo - nice to see you posting again. You can always be relied on to bring logic, sense & rationality to any discussion on these pages!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Why are these doctors still allowed to practise?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As an uncircumcised man, and proud of it, frankly, I'd be very tempted to kill anyone that did this to me. Circumcision is mutilation, plain and simple. The world raises hell about female genital mutilation, but thinks it's just fine and dandy to mutilate men.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Circumcision would not be an effective public health measure in Japan because of the very low prevalence of HIV here. It also has been shown to be ineffective for transmission by gay men, which is the main reservoir of infection in Japan. As for its efficacy in other settings, by citing a particular situation in Zimbabwe kchoze obscures the fact that when it is done properly and men abstain for at least 6 weeks afterward, it is very effective in reducing heterosexual transmission. One issue is that circumcised men are more likely to engage in risky sex, and in some countries HIV has been transmitted through blood during the operation.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

this is a painful topic,,,

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's barbaric, not based in science or medical sense and for those who talk 'hygiene', well, there's a marvellous thing called washing. Incredibly it keeps you clean. It is a fallacy, no not that kind but the false kind, a poorly reasoned conceptual approach to hygiene in the US, nonsense! I am carrying mine, love it. No cold cream needed. Anytime. Anyplace. Any... ah, well. Maybe not.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

circumcisions. has proven medical bennifits , mostly the reduction of urine tract infections, if youve still got a hood then its best to wash under it properly each night.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

circumcisions. has proven medical bennifits , mostly the reduction of urine tract infections, if youve still got a hood then its best to wash under it properly each night.

The majority of humanity's males have done just fine without circumcision since time began. If it aint broke, don't fix it. Overall, I find this story of guys here paying to be mutilated bizarrely amusing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

100.000 yen for the surgery .........plus tip I would assume.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

'Glad I had it done at birth'

I find that expression very strange. Babies who are circumcised have something done to them rather than have something done. What percentage of adults choose to undergo this procedure? Surely this is a decision that should be made by adults. As for 'fashionable', I don't know too many men who stroll through Harajuku with their members out and I'm not too bothered about looking fashionable in the changing rooms in the swimming baths.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I remember seeing a really funny, but interesting video about circumcision in America fairly recently. Basically it was saying that the reason you were circumcised is because your dad was, his dad was, his dad was and then in the early part of the 20th century puritanical rhetoric was "in" and the reason for circumcision was to prevent masturbation. It hasn't worked very well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's barbaric, not based in science or medical sense and for those who talk 'hygiene', well, there's a marvellous thing called washing.

There's also a marvellous thing called a skin bridge. These are caused by circumcision - if we're being critical, by incorrect circumcision. By their very nature, they do not improve hygiene. At absolute best they create a situation similar to a foreskin - an area that needs to be washed. In many cases, they form in a way that makes thorough washing pretty difficult. They are one, but only one, of the ways that circumcisions can and do go wrong.

http://community.babycenter.com/post/a6842545/my_son_has_a_skin_bridge_from_his_circumcision?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Over the millennia foreskin removal was an almost fail-safe method for Cossacks, Nazis and their ilk to identify male members of a certain religious/ethnic group and single them out for extermination. And even then those people persisted in the practice....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Didn't this practice come from ancient Egyptian superstitions regarding snakes? I've always found throwing a goat off the roof of my apartment prevents STDs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Apart from Jewish beliefs, circumcision as we know it today became popular during the Victorian era in Britain. There were absolutely no medical reasons. It was proposed as a method to prevent masturbation. It obviously didn't work but it became common practice. There are NO health benefits to circumcision. At least not if a man cares for himself with decent hygiene. And, in fact, the foreskin is necessary for the proper functioning of the penis, it helps to prevent infections, and contains a very large number of sexual receptor nerve cells. As far as a cut penis looking better than uncut, well, that's an aesthetic opinion, not a fact, and it really depends on point of view. I've never had a woman complain about it. But really, no woman cares about how a penis looks, she cares about the man it's attached to and his ability to use it properly. I'm very grateful to have been born a Native American. We don't mutilate our children.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've seen a phimosis... that would be enough to make me want to have a circumcision...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I've seen a phimosis... that would be enough to make me want to have a circumcision...

That would be a reasonable choice for you to make if you suffered from the condition. You're not an infant. Circumcision is (more accurately, can be, as the condition exists in varying degrees of severity) an appropriate medical solution for phimosis. Commonly, post-puberty, as for males in general, full retractability of the foreskin is normally expected to develop during puberty.

However, the potential for phimosis in males is not a valid reason for performing circumcision in the first weeks of a baby's life. It's simply a justification for a procedure that is still common and performed for a whole range of incoherent reasons - with poor monitoring, feedback, and followup.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Barbaric practice!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I remember once when celebrity Jenny McCarthy said, she wanted her sone to be circumcised because she thought her decision to circumcise her son was the right choice and I hate when women think, they know what is the best for men.

She said the following:

“If you don’t know what an uncircumcised penis looks like, you will once you baby boy is born. When I saw my son’s for the first time, I thought it looked kind of like a wrinkled french fry. I had the hardest time knowing that I would have to be the one to tell the doc, “Go ahead.” How could I do anything to cause him pain? But I did, and my main reason was that I wanted him to have a pretty penis.”

WT.....

Personally for me, I think it's there for a reason and just leave the child alone, if you practice good hygiene, who cares? With the exception of people that are religious, I feel that when the boy is an adult, he can make the decisions for himself as far as what he wants to do. But that's just my opinion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Circumcision being called "genital mutilation" makes me laugh my ass off. It's a freaking flap of skin. First world problems much?

I enjoy sex more than I should already, and am glad my parents made the healthy decision for me when I was young. It's not even just std protection; it lowers chances of contracting anything from stds to even just bladder infections. Would absolutely make the same decision for my children.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The US CDC (Center for Disease Control) does have this web page claiming circumcision significantly reduces AIDS and STD transmission:

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/prevention/research/malecircumcision/

If I hadn't been cc'd at birth I certainly wouldn't do it later. I can certainly see why men who aren't cc'd feel jumpy about someone getting near their thing with a pair of scissors.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Craigs yeah which is why I'm glad they did it for me before I was old enough to understand where those scissors were going or even remember it haha

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'Personally for me, I think it's there for a reason and just leave the child alone, if you practice good hygiene, who cares? With the exception of people that are religious, I feel that when the boy is an adult, he can make the decisions for himself as far as what he wants to do. But that's just my opinion.'

Surely the boy should be left until he old enough to choose to have a circumcision for religious or any other reasons. I don't understand your use of 'with the exception' here when it comes to religion. Why is religion an exception to your idea? A baby has no concept of religion.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Circumcision being called "genital mutilation" makes me laugh my ass off. It's a freaking flap of skin.

It's a foreskin. It's not a flap - and it isn't valid to cut living tissue from babies on the grounds that it's probably trivial and can be dispensed with. Nor is removing it a simple matter of giving it a snip, despite the word being widely used as shorthand for circumcision.

Circumcision at birth is a tradition - your own justifications for it and spurious backward reasoning rather underline that. But it isn't the job of doctors and hospitals to uphold tradition - and frankly, in a more rational world, no one else would be given permission to perform this procedure. That would confine it to medical necessity, which should be the only reason for removing parts from babies.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@wipeout there's nothing traditional about it for me, if you think i get nostalgic about an extra flap of of skin or the lack thereof you're quite mistaken. It's merely an informed medical decision. Anyone who decides to keep or leave it based off of aesthetic/ nostalgic or sexy time reasons rather than what's simply and objectively the healthiest thing to do are the ones to be questioned here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

does a baby give you permission to give it vaccines? Such immaturity and failed attempts to low blow. I do enjoy these "mutilation" comments though, keep them coming.. I'm always up for a chuckle.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Does a vaccination involve the removal of a living tissue?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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