Japanese Pink Magazines
C. Ogawa reports
Japan’s sex industry is well-known for its variety, creativity, and sheer size. It has been documented in many books in English, most recently Pink Box.
For those who can read Japanese, there is another window into this slightly hidden but nearly omnipresent world: brothel guides, published as monthly magazines.
These magazines include Manzoku and Naitai, to name but two. They have regional issues and vary in price from about 390 yen ($3) to glossy magazines that sell for as much as 900 yen ($8)
For research purposes, we went out and bought the latest issue of the Kansai issue of Naitai — pictured at right — at a book store near Osaka’s Kyobashi Station.
The adult section of books and magazines was prominently displayed on the shelf facing the entrance of the store. A small sign warned that those 18 and under were not allowed to browse. Much of the harder core material was moreover wrapped in clear plastic.
Naitai (“night time”) costs 390 yen, and the Kansai edition focuses mainly on sex clubs in Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. It combines a sense of playfulness with encyclopedic detail.
Much of the issue is devoted to ads for the clubs, a feature story with a girl of the month, manga clearly aimed at men with no self-esteem, and coupons.
One ad was for the “Kyoto PuruPuru Group,” which took out a full-page spread at the beginning of the magazine. It consists of photos of eight of the working girls, with their names, age, and measurements. The ad is highly pink, the girls all highly “cute.”
At the top of the ad is the following:
“The present society is full of stress. Please work the stress off as soon as possible. Healing is indispensable to people. Do you have any appropriate goods to relieve you?”
To the left of this gem is a notice that June 21-June 25 is “Health Drink Promotion Week” and that all customers will get one drink on the house.
At the bottom is the club’s telephone number, address, a map, and the prices: the early morning course is 10,000 yen for 30 minutes; the “health” course is 11,500 for 30 minutes, 15,000 for 40 minutes; the “sex feelings” course is 18,000 for 30 minutes, 25,000 for an hour. All major credit cards accepted.
In keeping with the times, the club also has a web site: puru-puru.jp.
The next page has a column called “Pure-i” (“i” being a play on the words “I” in English and, in Japanese, “love”). This column, as it states under the heading, is for men who are not popular with women. Conveniently there is also a link to a personals site where these charm-challenged men can try to meet women.
Then you get into the meat of the magazine: the profiles of the commercial sex workers. Page after page of listings for prostitutes with a photo. You can learn where they work, what they “like,” their working hours, rates, and what they will and will not perform. Several paragraphs about each woman accompanies the above information.
“Sakura,” for example, is 19 years old, has blood type A, and loves yogurt. She is “totally positive, totally energetic.” Her day off is Thursdays.
Last are the coupons (pictured). The magazine has 246 coupons for the clubs that paid for advertising. They range in value from a few thousand yen off the regular price to a “free hotel room” (one type of service has the clubs send a woman to meet you at a love hotel, for which the client pays).
All in all an amazing guide, worthy of an academic paper by an associate professor.