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Soaplands booming, thanks to pensioners and Chinese tourists

32 Comments

Part of the economic stimulus provided by "Abenomics" has resulted in stimulation of the lower anatomy of certain consumer segments, and as one result, the soaplands (erotic bathhouses) in Tokyo's Yoshiwara district are enjoying revived demand.

Shukan Shincho (Aug 1) has coined the word "Awanomics" to describe the boom. "Awa" is Japanese for suds, which the district's masseuses apply to the torsos of male customers as a prelude to dispensing various sexual services.

"Men who have made a killing in the stock market might opt to visit a super deluxe shop that charges 60,000 yen or more for two hours," says Akira Ikoma, editor of the "pink" information magazine, "Ore no Tabi," who adds that at the opposite end of the spectrum are more affordable places where a customer can enjoy himself for between 10,000 to 20,000 yen, with shops for customers on a shoestring budget that charge as little as 10,000 yen for a half-hour romp.

"'Nenkin' (national pension) disbursements are made on the 15th of every other month," Ikoma relates, "and around those days you can see nattily dressed seniors marching in. While some places in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku don't admit older men, Yoshiwara's more broadminded -- you don't see them treated that way."

These spry seniors, who've been designated the "Yoshiwara pensioners' tribe," appear determined to put their remaining time in the world to good use.

"A lot of them fortify themselves beforehand with ED medication, which sells for about 2,000 yen a pop," relates a skeptical-sounding manager at one Yoshiwara establishment. "One customer in his 80s boasted to me, 'I do it twice a month, once here and once with my wife.'"

Meanwhile, the number of Chinese customers visiting Yoshiwara is definitely on the increase, according to a member of a Asakusa district neighborhood watch committee.

"I get the feeling that the popularity of the nearby Tokyo Sky Tree has something to do with promoting our district," he says. "Looking down from above, you get a full view of Yoshiwara. When the guides tell them, 'That's a place to have fun at night' male tourists tend to react enthusiastically."

Hiroki Fukushima, president of Toshima Ward-based Toho International, and a person who makes it his business to know about affluent Chinese consumers, tells the magazine, "Two years ago the restrictions on tourist visas to Japan were relaxed, and since then word has been circulated that Yoshiwara is the place to go for 'the ultimate in service.'"

"I've been told that China also has soaplands, but Chinese say 'They're not the least bit interesting,'" an unnamed "critic" of the sex industry is quoted as saying.

"When they come to Japan, they are specially moved by the heartfelt service provided by the masseuses, which make them feel they're receiving the ministrations of a lover. Not merely sex, these run the gamut of free cigarettes or juice (paid for by the girls out of their own pockets), or even an offer to iron out the wrinkles on their slacks."

That said, some Chinese customers are a bit on the unrefined side. "Once there was an incident where three men used the same commode simultaneously, leaving the floor sopping with urine," the critic relates. "There have also been numerous cases when customers claimed that the masseuse they had picked from a photo was not the same girl, and they refused to pay. They apparently don't realize that in some shops the photos of the girls are intentionally retouched to make them appear slightly different. But Chinese are somewhat vain and interpret this as a malicious attempt to cheat them."

Some older Chinese also appear to have trouble restraining themselves from provoking a debate with the girls on the subject of the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands territorial dispute, he adds.

"But in traditional Yoshiwara fashion, the girls avoid confrontations by dispensing an extra measure of energetic 'service' that leaves such customers in no shape to complain about anything," the critic grins.

© Japan Today

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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Gotta love the seniors!!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The poor ol' Chinese probably think they are going to find Aoi Sora in there....

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Yes, I'm sure the non Japanese speaking Chinese men and non Chinese speaking women debate about the islands...

12 ( +18 / -7 )

I was under the impression that such places generally forbid foreigners from entering soaplands. Are Chinese an exception, or are big, hairy foreigners finally allowed to get soapy with the girls?

14 ( +16 / -2 )

"Soaplands booming, thanks to pensioners and Chinese tourists"

And Viagra.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Must be disappointing for the tourists when they are expecting a Japanese girl and get Mei-Mei!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Apparently it's illegal? Must be kickbacks going to someone.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Apparently it's illegal? No, it is not illegal as far as I know. Only coitus for money is prostitution and illegal, everything else is massage.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Apparently it's illegal?

They are quasi-legal. It's the last vestige of commercialized prostitution (in the conventional sense of the word) in Japan. One way they get around the law is that officially the girls who work there are treated on the books as "free agents" who rent rooms from the "landlord," who also supplies them with clean towels, soap and various paraphernalia, which the girls "buy" from the shop. Areas where soaplands do business are restricted and no new business licenses are issued, so when one goes out of business, the total number drops by one.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“I get the feeling that the popularity of the nearby Tokyo Sky Tree has something to do with promoting our district,” he says."

So Tokyo Sky Tree is paying those anticipated dividends.

"...heartfelt service provided by the masseuses..." "...even an offer to iron out the wrinkles on their slacks.”

Hey, I've got plenty of wrinkled slacks (and shirts)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Pretty soon Japan will export this know-how to China and make money. Japanese establishments will attract plenty so customers as they are so well run.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There are plenty of places that cater for foreigners but you will generally pay a premium and/ or be left with the dregs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Cringing at the mental image of what kind of clientele those poor girls have to deal with on an hourly basis...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

... customers on a shoestring budget that charge as little as 10,000 yen for a half-hour romp.

Whatever the price, that's an expensive 2 minutes. I guess the other 28 are for the soap/wash.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Trickle down economics....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I was under the impression that such places generally forbid foreigners from entering soaplands. Are Chinese an exception, or are big, hairy foreigners finally allowed to get soapy with the girls?

You have to know where to go and it helps a lot if you speak some Japanese and don't act like an arsehole too.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

It was reported that Kim Jong Nam, oldest son of North Korea's Kim Jong Il, was a big fan of Yoshiwara and used to visit his favorite masseuse there when entering Japan on a forged Dominican Republic passport. He was eventually recognized, detained and deported.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“I’ve been told that China also has soaplands, but Chinese say ‘They’re not the least bit interesting,’” an unnamed “critic” of the sex industry is quoted as saying.

Imagine a country the size of a continent where sex is not interesting...........I guess that explains why China is the most most populous nation in the world?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Maybe they should include these "heartfelt service" soaplandos in their "cool Japan" export drive. Would probably bring in more money than all the anime and manga stuff combined.:)

7 ( +8 / -1 )

...an incident where three men used the same commode simultaneously...

Considering the limited size of most toilets in Japan, I fear that sentence will forever stain my perceptions of Chinese men, tourist or not.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

“I get the feeling that the popularity of the nearby Tokyo Sky Tree has something to do with promoting our district

Obviously ! Like "La Tour Eiffel" it's phallic in shape !

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Cringing at the mental image of what kind of clientele those poor girls have to deal with on an hourly basis...

"Those poor girls"?! For goodness sake, it's not as if they're in some dirt-poor country selling their bodies to pay for basic sustenance or medicines! This is Japan! They consciously choose to become prostitutes because they don't want to work in 7/11 or an office etc....They know damn well it only takes about a tenth of the time to save up for that Louis Vuitton bag by turning tricks!

11 ( +13 / -3 )

Oh come on, just because it's Japan doesn't mean there aren't women who are selling their bodies for sustenance. Do you think everyone in a developed country just magically has everything they need and that there are no poor? On the other hand, yes there are women who do it because they enjoy it or do find it the best way to make a living and all the power to them.

1 ( +5 / -3 )

"...some Chinese customers are a bit on the unrefined side..."

To say the least. Those poor girls.

My general impression is that when it comes to sexuality many of the Chinese are clueless if not just gross, often mixing good and bad like it is supposed to be some ultimate in "kink" and more hardcore than anyone else. To describe this concretely, I one day found a video in a store and saw on its cover a title that was the epitome of my general impression of China's sexuality in the local region. So, I took a picture for reference, and the title literally reads, "The most horrible and bloody cruel metamorphosis erotic murder movie." Three guys going to the bathroom together and leaving urine all over the ground seems about par for the course in China. They must have been proud. Dragon culture anyone?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Landmark is the best and most gaijin friendly soapy in Yoshi. As for Chinese tourists, they are just awful.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Some older Chinese also appear to have trouble restraining themselves from provoking a debate with the girls on the subject of the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands territorial dispute, he adds.

i truly doubt that. this must be journalism at its best. total bs. if it costs me 6man for 2hours and i would allocate my time more wisely.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

who doesn't want to be washed in a tub by a hot jp chick?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

who doesn't want to be washed in a tub by a hot jp chick?

Me...

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

More women that do this type of thing, make it harder for normal girls to act like bit#hes to normal men.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think that's wonderful-Nothing like a Happy Ending,Folks!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This article is funny, keep it up Japantoday! Thanks!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Awanomics"

Har!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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