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lifestyle

Adult entertainment guidance center appears in Akihabara; some worry neighborhood is changing

16 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

While it’s best known as a place to shop for anime merchandise, video games, and electronics, Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood is a pretty good place to eat too. Since the district is a mecca for all-day shopping trips, it boasts a number of casual restaurants offering tasty, hearty fare that’ll fill your stomach without emptying your wallet.

So many regular denizens of Akihabara were saddened at the end of September when beloved restaurant Kitchen Jiro closed down. Then they became sad again this month when something else opened up in the same building.

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With its hot pink sign and gigantic font, the storefront does a remarkable job of standing out, yet at the same time doesn’t seem to want anyone to be able to see inside from the street. The reason for this “HEY COME ON IN (but no one will see you)” dichotomy has to do with the service being offered. The new tenant of the Kitchen Jiro building is a muryo annaijo, which translates to “free guidance center.” However, muryo annaijo don’t specialize in general tourism info like sightseeing recommendations or maps of the subway system; those kinds of places are called kanko annaijo/“tourism guidance centers.” Instead, muryo annaijo are where people go to get info on local hostess bars, erotic massage parlors, and other business in the fuzoku (adult entertainment) industry.

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Being Tokyo’s otaku culture mecca, a walk around Akihabara will yield plenty of posters and signs featuring popular anime characters with beckoning smiles or smoldering eyes, and if you venture up to the higher-level floors of its dojinshi shops, you’ll see plenty of those characters’ other body parts as well. And yes, the neighborhood is where the whole maid cafe craze got started. However, full-on fuzoku businesses haven’t really made inroads into Akihabara as they have in other parts of downtown such as certain sections of Shinjuku, Roppongi, or Ikebukuro. A muryo annaijo in Akihabara is a startling sight (the sign claims it’s Akihabara’s first ever), and many online commenters aren’t happy to see that one has sprung up.

Reactions on Twitter have included:

“Whoa, now that’s disappointing.”

“Fuzoku? Well, that’s it for Akihabara.”

“Is this the look the local chamber of commerce wants for the neighborhood?”

“I guess you could say the maid cafes were like fuzoku-light, but this is a whole other level.”

“Sad. Just so sad.”

“Give us back Kitchen Jiro!”

“Akihabara doesn’t need this.”

“In 20 years, will Akihabara have transformed from ‘Electric Town’ to ‘Fuzoku Town?’”

Part of the shock likely comes from the fact that in most cases, a neighborhood fills up with fuzoku businesses first, then a muryo annaijo comes in to promote them and help would-be customers choose which one to visit. Right now, though, there aren’t that many fuzoku establishments in the Akihabara area, so dropping a muryo annaijo on one of its most popular shopping streets is sort of putting the horse in front of the cart.

However, muryo annaijo tend to target curious but inexperienced individuals, and as such, there’s a chance that its presence could contribute to a gradual change in the neighborhood atmosphere. Several local shops and entertainment centers have closed during the pandemic-related economic downturn and tourism drop (Akihabara was a major draw for both international and domestic Japanese travelers), and there’s a chance that this is a sign that some of those vacancies are going to be filled by fuzoku or fuzoku-like businesses.

Sources: Twitter via Jin, Akiba Keizai Shimbun

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Akihabara saying goodbye to landmark as giant Sega arcade announces it’s closing for good

-- Despite having so many maids, officials say Akihabara really needs cleaning up

-- Akihabara then and now: Photos show how Tokyo neighborhood has changed over the past 10 years

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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dichotomy has to do with the service being offered...

Yeah, that's putting it very PC. Talk about an area business change that's the equivalent of a cultural groin-pull.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Adult entertainment"? Gimme a break. Just call it what it is- "the sex industry"

I'm an adult, and "entertainment" for me means Netflix, meeting friends at British pubs, playing the guitar and tennis on the weekends.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Techies also have needs.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Instead, muryo annaijo are where people go to get info on local hostess bars, erotic massage parlors, and other business in the fuzoku (adult entertainment) industry.

There is so much hypocrisy, double standards and unwritten rules in Japan's vast sex industry (including the host and hostess clubs) that such guidance is needed to navigate it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Rather that this particular industry stayed in Kabukicho, thanks...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The article touches on this somewhat, but porn/AV has always been very prevalent in Akihabara. Let's not make it out to be some spoiled paradise here.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

The perv-curious probably need aome sort of "how to" assistance, it's a byproduct of the learned helplessness inculcated by the system, And it's not like you're exactly starved for choice when it comes to perversions and peccadiloes in Japan. The local folk are into some pretty wack stuff...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Akihabara is always changing. I remember when it was the site of a large fruit and vegetable market, shops electronic parts, etc., no anime, no maid cafes

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Maid cafes everywhere in Akihabara, with what look like 16 years olds, the next step is full on sex industry followup. No real surprise, is it?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Porn looks to deepen its already great influence on Japanese people and foreigners, with ever greater consequences and repercussions as a result.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I must say I was really underwhelmed the first time I visited Akiba, I thought it would be something different to other Tokyo neighbourhoods. I think I've only been there 2 or 3 times in 15 years!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Maid cafes everywhere in Akihabara, with what look like 16 years olds, the next step is full on sex industry followup. No real surprise, is it?

Connoisseurs say 16 is the best vintage

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tokyo is always changing.. I love it !!..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Don’t the Japanese need more sex?

However, sex just as a commodity won’t expand the population.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lostrune2Dec. 29 11:23 pm JST

Maid cafes everywhere in Akihabara, with what look like 16 years olds, the next step is full on sex industry followup. No real surprise, is it?

Connoisseurs say 16 is the best vintage

I'm sorry, but are you advocating for the rape of teenage girls? I use that word because that is what it is when a man pays a pimp to have sex with a 16-year old girl.

Mod, again - why do you continue to allow such comments to proliferate? You aren't doing your job.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Maid cafes everywhere in Akihabara, with what look like 16 years olds, the next step is full on sex industry followup. No real surprise, is it?

Connoisseurs say 16 is the best vintage

I'm sorry, but are you advocating for the rape of teenage girls? I use that word because that is what it is when a man pays a pimp to have sex with a 16-year old girl.

Mod, again - why do you continue to allow such comments to proliferate? You aren't doing your job.

Maybe they allow it so it is brought to everyone’s attention.  Whatever may be generally bad in the public’s view won’t change if people don’t know about it. Not to be aware of something won’t make it go away.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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