Pink Japan Books II

Japan Pink Books II

More Japan Pink Books

Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs


by Joan Sinclair

Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

ISBN: 0810992590
192 pp

Feminist, journalist, lawyer, photographer, and former English teacher Joan Sinclair has produced a fascinating work on Japan’s ubiquitous adult entertainment industry. Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs takes the reader places most of us will never get to.

In Tokyo’s Shinjuku, Osaka’s Umeda, Kyoto’s Kiyamachi, and throughout the country, women dress up like “nurses, policewomen, and commuting secretaries to provide men with fantasy services acted out in elaborately decorated playrooms.”

Sinclair starts in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho, ground zero of the Japanese sex industry, where the fun comes in almost any shape and size and fantasy. Amazingly, Sinclair – a foreign woman – managed after being away from Japan for ten years to return and talk her way into the clubs, camera in hand.

In 2005, she spent a year deep in the demi-monde of the Japanese sex industry, “befriending the women, customers, and managers who work in Japan’s entertainment industry” – and ultimately was granted complete access.

She was if not exactly in the trenches then right next to them, snapping away. The photos in
“Pink Box” depict the working conditions for the women, the feeling of the brothels, the sheer variety; more than that, though, they portray as individuals the women who choose to work there.

The book is divided into chapters based on the different choices available to the consumer: hostess clubs, host clubs, nude theaters, touch pubs and pink salons, soaplands, peeping rooms, fashion health, image clubs, happening bars and couples’ clubs, and a final chapter on “still more pink businesses.”

This is a fascinating look at a world few are privy to.

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Sandakan Brothel No. 8: An Episode in the History of Lower-Class Japanese Women

Sandakan Brothel No. 8

by Tomoko Yamazaki, Karen Colligan-Taylor (Translator)

ISBN: 0765603543
256 pp

This is the story of Osaki, who, at the age of ten was sold to a procurer and shipped off to Sandakan, North Borneo, where a scant three years later she began to serve customers as a prostitute.

She was one of thousands of young Japanese women who left the impoverished countryside of Meiji Japan to work in Japanese brothels throughout Asia, and known by the name Karayuki-san.

In her own words, Osaki relates the story of her life from her childhood in a Kyushu village, to Borneo and her life as a prostitute, becoming a concubine to an Englishman, her return to Japan and subsequent move to Manchuria, and finally her return to her village after the war.

The author’s own story runs parallel to Osaki’s, from her drive to record the history of lower-class Japanese women, her journeys to Kyushu to try and contact ex-Karayukisan, her befriending of Osaki, and their ongoing relationship. She also adds to Osaki’s story with research from other sources.

Bracketing the main text are a hefty introduction and afterword by the translator, who puts the story of the Karayukisan into a socio-political context, drawing a connection from Japan’s licensed prostitution system in the Edo Period to the Karayukisan and on to the comfort women of World War II right up to the Japayukisan who now come to Japan to work in the sex industry from countries throughout Asia.

This book has been popular in Japan since its first publication 30 years ago, and was even made into a movie that was nominated for an Oscar.

A good book for exploring beyond the overly romanticized view of Japan’s historical sex industry as portrayed in books like Memoirs Of A Geisha.

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Sex and the Japanese: The Sensual Side of Japan

Sex and the Japanese
by Boye Lafayette De Mente


ISBN: 0-8048-3826-7
191 pp

This is a very general and a very light book, and as such might suit someone who is coming to the subject for the first time and needed a quick introduction. The author covers most aspects of Japanese sexuality and Japanese attitudes towards sex, historically and up to more recent times. Pornography and the sex-trade are also touched upon.

One gets the feeling that the book is based on the authors own experiences and that he has enjoyed his relationships with Japanese women very much, but one also gets the feeling that this may have been some time ago as there is a dated feel to the book.
Almost half the book is taken up with a final chapter, “Lovers language” which is like a phrase book for sexual and romantic matters.

It is interesting to learn the background to the language and the euphemisms used gives insights into Japanese attitudes about sex and gender, but I wonder how useful it really is as a phrasebook as sexual slang tends to change very quickly, and also has regional variations.

Jake Davies

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Love Hotels: An inside look at Japan’s sexual playgrounds

Love Hotels.

by Ed Jacob

Lulu Press

ISBN: 1-4357-4186-2
177 pp

The adjective “unique” applied to describe things Japanese is so overused as to render the word almost meaningless, but there are some Japanese things that truly are unique, and Love Hotels must be one of them.
Of course, the idea of renting a space for a short time to engage in a sexual liaison, either romantic or professional, is not a Japanese idea, and has probably been around for as long as the concept of rent, but in Japan the idea is taken to a logical conclusion, and with a complete industry built around it. From Hello Kitty S&M to European palaces, love hotels are more than anything else sites for fantasy and pleasure, more akin to theme parks than anything else, offering possibilities for every kind of fetish, including some I’m sure you have never heard of, and increasingly nowadays for romance.

The author has done his fieldwork, visiting many of the establishments in the book. Most of the numerous photos are his. Incidentally, in the print version of the book the photos are only black & white, but full color in the downloadable version, another reason to choose the PDF. He has also done his homework, drawing from all the available literature on the subject, most of which is in Japanese. The book covers just about every aspect of love hotels, from design and designers, the staff who work behind the scenes, trends and changes, etc but goes much further and explores many areas of sexuality and attitudes towards sex in Japan.

In this regard a particular enlightening section are the excerpts from the hotel guest books, messages, mostly from women it seems, either to the management, their partners, or to no-one in particular. There is more informative and relevant information on sex in Japan than many books on the subject.
The book is also a complete guide to love hotels, ranking them according to kinkiness, romance, style, and whether reservations are needed. The book ends with an area guide to love hotels in the major cities with telephone numbers and prices.

Love hotels have changed, and while the overtly sexual and kinky still exist, many are more like regular hotels except that the facilities are usually better, the rooms, beds, baths, and TVs bigger, yet most guide books on Japan or local tourist information centers never mention them as an inexpensive accommodation option.

This book is destined to become a classic on Japanese sexuality.

Jake Davies

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Amorous Woman

Amorous Woman
by Donna Storey

Orion Publishing

ISBN: 1905619170
352 pp

Amorous Woman is the story of a free-spirited American woman with a taste for things Japanese.

Author Donna George Storey clearly knows whereof she writes. In addition to holding a PhD in Japanese literature, she has also published widely in the field of erotic literature.

The story begins with the protagonist having recently left Japan, and, after an apparently bawdy time there, vowing to renounce her bawdiness.

The courtesan-turned-nun plot. When however will her eyebrows begin to itch (a sign a woman was about to visit her lover in 17th century Japan) again?

The “problem” is setting: she is now back in the US teaching at a university where such behavior is frowned upon.

Another problem is the protagonist herself, for whom cum tastes “like a bowl of ceremonial green tea.” Only when she is turned on, of course.

She tells her tale to two young male students, on a night out in San Francisco, working from the beginning. They have come for the “truth” about Japan.

And what a tale it is. Marriage, adultury, bicuriousness, vegetables, all sprinkled with culture.

Storey writes well, and her observations on life in Kyoto and Osaka ring true, if hyper-sexed.

But that’s the point of the book: well written erotica in an exotic setting by someone who knows the territory.

And Storey does.

C. Ogawa

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