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Stats on entertainment businesses show accelerating pace of decline

18 Comments

Japan has a well-deserved reputation as a country with stimulating night life. Every major city has at least one "neon-gai" (entertainment zone), and Tokyo has dozens.

But according to J-Cast News (April 2), the varieties of so-called "fuzoku" (adult entertainment) businesses -- with one major exception, which we'll get to in a minute -- are showing signs of rapid decline.

"Fuzoku" businesses can be categorized into three major groups. The first are "settai-fuzoku," places where customers can eat and drink while accompanied by employees of the establishment. These include bars, cabarets, clubs, cabaret-clubs, certain types of restaurants, cafes, and so on.

According to data complied by the National Police Agency at the end of 2016, over the previous five years, the number of this type of business had declined nationwide from 68,558 (in 2012) to 64,599.

"These types of businesses are the easiest to be affected by business conditions," explained a knowledgeable magazine journalist. "Another factor is the aging of society. As the customer base ages, they tend to go out less. Companies have less budget for business entertainment, so use of cabaret-clubs and night clubs is also on the decline."

The second type of "fuzoku" is made up mainly of pachinko and mahjongg parlors and game arcades. Business has also been slumping badly over the past five years. There were 12,149 pachinko shops in 2012; last year, the figure was down by more than 1,000, to 10,986. Likewise for mahjongg establishments (down by more than 2,000) and game arcades (down by 1,600).

A writer for a magazine appealing to those interested in gambling told J-Cast News, "Mahjongg has been affected by electronic games, as young people in particular prefer games. But an even bigger factor in the decline, I suppose, is that the biggest segment of mahjongg players are reaching retirement age.

"Fewer young people are inclined to gamble as well, and that affects both pachinko and game arcade use," he added.

Actually, one of the reasons the numbers of pachinko shops and game arcades have been declining is due to the fact that individual businesses are becoming much bigger. For example, the average number of pachinko machines per shop was 378.0 in 2012; by 2016 the figure had ballooned to 411.9. Likewise, although 2,355 pachinko shops had between 501 to 1,000 machines in 2012 (19.4% of the total), by 2016, the number of shops with 501 to 1,000 machines had risen to 2,585 -- 23.5% of the total. Commensurate increases were also seen in the game centers.

What this means, then, is that the small and medium pachinko shops and game arcades have been losing business and shutting down, as more customers head for the giant-size shops.

Then there's the third spoke on the "fuzoku" wheel: the sex industry. Between 2012 and 2016, this sector posted an increase of over 1,700 new businesses, rising from 30,133 to 31,892. Broken down by four types are businesses that operate from a fixed locale; those which do not depend on a fixed locale; those that transmit video images; and those that specialize in introducing a member of the opposite via telephone. Of the above, only businesses that do not depend on a fixed locale and those that transmit video images showed an increase.

Those operating from a fixed locale include soaplands, erotic massage parlors, motels, love hotels, adult sex aids shops and so on. All of these have declined in number over the past five years. However, those not operating from a fixed locale, such as massage dispatch services, sellers of adult video via mail order and so on, increased by 9.6%, from 18,119 in 2012 to 19,856 in 2016. Adult video businesses also rose by 11.3%, and thanks to adult sites on the internet, companies specializing in transmission of images appealing to adult viewers increased by a whopping 35.0%.

At the beginning of 2017, president and five other staff operating Caribbean.com, said to be the most popular site for uncensored adult films, were arrested by the Tokyo police on suspicion of distributing obscene materials.

"The arrest has put the operators of other adult sites on their guard," a reporter for a men's magazine was quoted as saying. "I think we can expect to see the crackdown shutting down sites offering uncensored contents."

The general consensus of writers covering the trade is that due to Japan's lower birth rate and aging of the population, for better or worse these types of "fuzoku" businesses can't expect much of a future. Trends in the economy and wages might influence matters to some degree, but the main factor is that Japanese don't seem to have the energy, vitality, drive -- or whatever you want to call it -- to cavort as they once did.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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Pretty sure its a good thing this are in decline

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The general consensus of writers covering the trade is that due to Japan’s lower birth rate and aging of the population, for better or worse these types of “fuzoku” businesses can’t expect much of a future.

Like it or not, sex sells, and will continue to sell for now and forever. Maybe instead of quantity, the quality will improve with less competition.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm sure the perviness of some oyajis here will help them buck the aging trend.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There were 12,149 pachinko shops in 2012; last year, the figure was down by more than 1,000, to 10,986.

Woohooo. Hurray for this trend.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Agree, fewer places and shorter queues here.

Myself never been in one(noise) and won't miss them.

Also see fewer Maj Jong places here, most who had gambling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Although I do support pachinko decline , simply because gambling enterprises ran by North Korean proxies cant be good neither for country or for citizens... the rest is alarming ,adult entertainment face to face replaced by video streaming is bad for society in many ways.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Mahjongg has been affected by electronic games, as young people in particular prefer games." Yet electronic gaming is also in decline in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Never realized pachinko and mahjong parlors were considered fuzoku (I always thought it mean the sex-industry). Glad to see they are on the decline though!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I don't understand why the police are wasting time to arrest distributors of uncensored pornography. A few choice search terms in Google will get all of that you want.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gokai_wo_maneku : low hanging fruit... need to get arrest numbers up, just allow this to happen for a while then grab them all at once.

Same thing happens with bike parking at the station.... they allow all the bikes for weeks then one day come down and pick them all up so they can get maximum money.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Myself never been in one(noise) and won't miss them.

One of my favorite past times, rainy afternoon, can't cut the lawn, put in some ear plugs and play pachinko!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Of the three categories, I never knew hostess bars (type 1) or pachinko (type 2) qualified as "fuuzoku". I thought fuuzoku referred only to the sex industry, here given as type 3.

Hostess bars are normally referred to as "mizushobai". I doubt people working in arcades with medal games would say they worked in "fuuzoku" either. At a guess a "ge-sen" (game center) would be a "gouraku shisetsu".

As for the actual story, the big picture looks like it's everything going downmarket, e.g., soaplands closing down and being replaced by lower cost alternatives where the ladies are dispatched. I don't suppose this is a good development for their safety, which should be priority number one in that line of work.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So all of this is not because the population is in a steady decline?

Anyhow, there is definitely a thirst for J-porn worldwide, so it should help these "non-fixed locale" sex businesses to flourish. The country's reputation will be helped as well. There's that TV show that asks foreigners at the airport why they came to Japan. If half the guys were being honest, they would say it's for the women.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Gokai,

You say: "I don't understand why the police are wasting time to arrest distributors of uncensored pornography. A few choice search terms in Google will get all of that you want."

I've seen 2-3 police at a scene just giving a ticket to an older man on a bicycle. They're bored. Nothing to do but pick on these guys. 2? 3? How do you explain this? Control? Abuse? Waste? Harassment? Don't know.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I love love hotels. Much cheaper and classier than regular hotels. Plus I like renting the cute outfits.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

police arresting for uncensored pornography in a country facing one of the most severe population crash problems ever seen in a developed country

it's so ridiculous i don't know whether to cry to to laugh like a hysteric

not to mention that pornography is one of the only things keeping the economy from imploding - seriously, look up how valuable the industry is. porn alone probably saves this country from sinking further on the world economic power scale

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There were 12,149 pachinko shops in 2012; last year, the figure was down by more than 1,000, to 10,986.

I'm sure the average pachinko parlor is getting bigger with more machines as older shops are replaced by newer facilities. So there might be more pachinko machines with more customers these days than previously but no data is given on these points. The only relevant number is the income of the pachinko industry compared to the last 5 years. But this number isn't quoted in the article.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh yes, during my visit to Sendai (1 million inhabitants) street blocks were bustling around the establishments with this kind of entertainment. When I asked at the main tourist information office whether I could attend a concert or a musical play during my weekly stay, they told me that I should go to Tokyo. I thought that there was some misunderstanding and even went back and said that I did not care what kind of concert or play this were, classical music or rock. They said there was no misunderstanding - still my best option was to take a train to Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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