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Tokyo’s ban on high school girls working in the controversial JK industry goes into effect this summer

17 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

The lengthy, multi-syllabic nature of Japanese vocabulary means that words used in discussing social phenomena often evolve into abbreviated versions in order to streamline conversations. A prime example is “JK.”

JK is the shortened version of joshikosei, which means “female high school student.” After the schoolgirl pop culture boom picked up speed in the 1990s, JK became a commonly used shorthand in media headlines and online communication starting about a dozen years ago. Recently, it’s been showing up in the term “JK business,” which refers to the burgeoning industry in which businesses offer close, personalized customer service from high school girls to male patrons.

“Close, personalized customer service” might sound like a euphemism for sexual acts, but JK businesses don’t offer such things, at least not officially. Instead, a customer might pay to have a girl sit and talk with him, one-on-one, in a semi-private setting, go for a walk through the city, or give him a massage. However, critics feel that the ostensibly chaste services provided by JK businesses, which are often provided in a manner that facilitates clandestine communication, have the potential to be a jumping-off point to prostitution and other illicit and illegal indecency in exchange for additional fees.

The industry even has its own jargon for such arrangements: ura opu, a truncated version of ura opushon or “secret options.” Concerns about ura opu have led Tokyo to pass a municipal ordinance which will prohibit individuals under the age of 18 from working in JK businesses. The legislation is the first in Japan to target the JK industry by name, although similar provisions can be found elsewhere, such as in Aichi Prefecture’s Ordinance of Juvenile Protection.

Tokyo’s new ordinance describes JK businesses as meeting the following three criteria:

● Offering services in which the worker comes into contact with customers solely of the opposite sex

● Explicitly stating that the services are performed by a minor

● Run the risk of arousing a customer’s sexual interest towards a minor

It’s worth noting that the new law wouldn’t be applicable to massage parlors, hostess bars, and other such enterprises in which women over the age of 18 dress or act like school girls. It’s also unclear where exactly the authorities will be drawing the line on what constitutes a JK business. Maid cafes, for example, in which employees dress in frilly maid costumes and sit with customers, but generally in an open, non-private shared dining area, appear to be a gray area. For organizations which promise a secluded block of time with an actual high school girl, though, time is running out on their business model, as Tokyo’s under-18 JK business ban is set to go into effect on July 1.

Sources: Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Mainichi Shimbun via Niconico News via Jin, Sankei News

Read more stories from SoraNews24

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

-- Osaka’s JK parlours rebranding as cafes with new concept: girls sitting in ‘taiiku-zuwari’

-- New Twitter trend: High school girls posing in noodle restaurants

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
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Why wait until summer? Anyway, someone I know who knows about this says most of the old dudes who are into this are not into it for sex. They are just trying to relive their youth. It is a nostalgia trip.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Gramie

The whole point of identifying people as minors is to decide that they do not have the experience to make informed decisions and accept the consequences.

That whole argument stands or falls on whether you actually believe 17 and 18 year olds to be 'children'. Regardless of what the archaic system here in Japan says, I don't. These young adults - and that's what they are - know only too well the consequences of their actions. Time to stop being apologists for these people. They are as much a part of the problem as those who pimp them and those that use their services.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

EK classification should not apply to anyone outside the ~15-18' age range.

Quiet a few overseas ladies in our kabuki-cho tried underage or massage routine.One(30's) admitted she is married with 3 kids back home but she never could earn what she does here In one month in a few years at.home.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It’s worth noting that the new law wouldn’t be applicable to massage parlors, hostess bars, and other such enterprises (soapland, "health" delivery) in which women over the age of 18 (wink, wink) dress or act like school girls.

Only in Japan: Having to pass a law discouraging minors from working as prostitutes.

Gramie Today  01:42 am JST I disagree. The whole point of identifying people as minors is to decide that they do not have the experience to make informed decisions and accept the consequences. That's what adults do. We say that children are not able to properly decide to offer themselves as objects of sexual attraction, and then try to discourage adults from treating them that way.

No one is arbitrarily "identifying" (I think you meant classifying) children as minors. For every preternaturally mature 15 year-old, particularly in Japan, there are literally tens of thousands whose maturity is consistent with their age and life experiences.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In my experience teens know very well what they are doing and how to get desired results.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Geoff Gillespie

I disagree. The whole point of identifying people as minors is to decide that they do not have the experience to make informed decisions and accept the consequences. That's what adults do. We say that children are not able to properly decide to offer themselves as objects of sexual attraction, and then try to discourage adults from treating them that way.

It's not a perfect system, but it's the one we have and the best one we have found so far.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This law won't change anything for the simple reason that there are far too many young girls willing to do this in order to earn quick cash.

I have absolutely no idea at all why so many have marked this comment down here, this is totally on the money. Please, can we all at least agree here that THESE GIRLS AREN'T VICTIMS.

Good luck to the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt but they really need to be thinking about what they can do to stop men being attracted to 15 year old children, instead of adults their own age.

Also a very good point. The whole Lolita complex thing is never going to go away, though, it is far too ingrained in Japanese society. Everybody involved needs to be punished, punters, johns and girls alike.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If you are an adult and want to dress as a school girl and do some of these "acts" like massages or what have you, go right ahead.

But if you are a minor, you have no business doing that and neither does the other person in the giving/receiving part.

And my girlfriend and I went to a maid cafe... We both love anime but... that was just... awkward... And it was expensive too for two sodas and I think we might of had cookies I can not remember... The hand-heart magic over the drink glasses thing was kind of hard to watch as well... But at least we could cross it off our list of "things to try in Japan" and include in our list of "things never to try again in Japan".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's about time! Bravo to the Tokyo Metro Govt for finally addressing this issue. For those talking about pointing the finger - this isn't a matter of the blame game. The real issue has always been that young girls are being exploited for cash, something that goes on in every society mind you, while the authorities have largely looked the other way. Shining a light on a dark market is often the catalyst needed to change public opinion. I hope they continue to shine the light, and all decent members of this society give their full support for this move so we can realize this much needed change.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Excellent move! Hope it's properly implemented!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, the scale of this is so big that they called it an "industry". Let that sink in.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Alfie Noakes, Right on!!!!!

Once again the government trying to attack innocent people rather than targeting the real offenders.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

May not be very effective but it's a move in the right direction and should be welcomed.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What Alfie said

0 ( +4 / -4 )

● Run the risk of arousing a customer’s sexual interest towards a minor

The sexualisation of children is a huge and vastly profitable business in Japan. Switch on the TV, read a magazine, read a comic and it's there. How are they going to legislate for that? This country is full of men who cannot have normal social or sexual relations with other adults so they focus on children. And the surrounding business developed to cater to such people.

Good luck to the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt but they really need to be thinking about what they can do to stop men being attracted to 15 year old children, instead of adults their own age.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

This law won't change anything for the simple reason that there are far too many young girls willing to do this in order to earn quick cash.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Yeah, with all the businesses not being covered and the vagaries of the law, I'll believe it when I see it -- which means it's likely not to be believed. They are still allowing the services in which adults dress like high school girls or younger, so you're still going to get people who demand and receive the 'real thing'.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

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