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Many Japanese men have a thing about schoolgirls in uniforms. Video rental shops offer dozens of pornographic films with teenage girls in school uniforms, popular manga feature rape and torture scenes with them and some hostess bars feature young women dressed up like schoolgirls.

Some sex shops even sell the used panties of school girls, along with crotch shot of the girl, and sometimes even some of their saliva and a cassette recording of their moaning. The saliva, panties and recording are sold in small canisters with girl's picture on it. Some vendors are reportedly even collecting samples of menstrual fluid for their customers. There are also stories of women buying the men’s soiled underwear.

The practice of sellling used schoolgirl panties from vending machines was outlawed in the mid 1990s, around the same time Japan's Ministry of Education made a formal announcement urging schoolgirls to stop selling their panties to fetishists.

Sex Industry in Japan Pink Box, Inside Japan’s Sex Industry ; You Tube Video of Tokyo Sex Club Tour YouTube ; Wikipedia article on Prostitution in Japan Wikipedia ; Brothels in Osaka on 21 or Over,com ; Japan Times article on Osaka Brothels Japan Times Sex Trafficking Video International Labor Organization ; Kabukicho Kabuki-cho (part of Shinjuku) is regarded as Tokyo's largest entertainment district and is the center of Tokyo’s sex industry. Websites: Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Guardian article Guardian ; Books: “ Pink Box, Inside Japan’s Sex Industry “; “Tabloid Tokyo” volumes 1 and 2 (Kodansha International), tales of sex, crime and the bizarre.


Teenage Prostitution in Japan

Under the Penal Code, anyone who performs a sexual act or commits an indecent act with a male or female less than 13 years of age is subject to punishment, whether or not the act is committed by violence or threats. The Child Welfare Law also prohibits enticing a person younger than 18 years of age into obscene acts. [Source: MikiY. Ishikida, Japanese Education in the 21st Century, ; iUniverse, June 2005 ~]

Before the 1999 Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and for Protecting Children, if a man had consensual sex with a girl 13 years old or older, he would not be punished, unless the girl pressed charges. However, since the 1970s, prefectural governments have made their own regulations, which give law enforcement the authority to punish men who solicited a prostitute who was younger than 18 (Oji 1998:168-171). ~

The 1999 law imposes stricter punishments on sex offenders, brokers of child prostitutes, and on dealers of child pornography. Those who bought the services from child prostitutes face imprisonment for up to three years, or a fine of one million yen or less. The brokers of child prostitution could be sentenced to a term of up to three years or a fine of no more than three million yen. Professional brokers could go to prison for five years and be fined up to five million yen. Dealers of child pornography would face prison sentences of three years or less or a fine of three million yen or less. Those who “buy” a child for the purpose of a child prostitution business would face one-year to ten-year prison sentences. Anyone who trafficked in foreign children for the purpose of prostitution would face prison sentences of two years or more. ~

All of these punishments are applied to Japanese people, even if the crime is committed abroad. It will stop child prostitution through the notorious sex tours of South East Asian countries, Japan’s online child pornography industry, and the problematic “dating service” telephone clubs of teenagers. In 2000, 613 suspects were arrested in 985 cases of child prostitution, 164 suspects were arrested in 170 cases of child pornography (U.N. Committee 2003). ~

In 2003, 4,412 youths, including 19 elementary school students, 1,315 middle school students, and 1,882 high school students were taken into custody on prostitution charges. The arrested youths said they prostituted themselves voluntarily (71.4 percent), because they wanted spending money (29.0 percent), because there was a particular man they liked (21.1 percent), because they were curious (12.9 percent), and because they wanted sex (5.5 percent). More than one fourth of arrested youths said that their friends had persuaded them (26.0 percent) (Naikakufu 2004a). ~

In recent years, many girls have begun to use “telephone clubs” to engage in sexual relationships for money. Telephone clubs allow women and men to communicate anonymously to arrange meetings. Women can join without fees. Therefore, it is popular among underage girls. In 1999, there were 3,122 such clubs. If they are caught, the men who bought the girl’s service are usually punished, and the police take the girls into protective custody. More than half of the 836 child prostitution cases from November 1999 to October 2000 were associated with these clubs (AS January 26, 2001). ~

According to the 1996 survey by the Tokyo Government, one out of every four students said they knew someone who joined a “dating service” (enjo ko-sai) telephone club, and four percent of girls among 110 high schools in Tokyo said they participated in this behavior (Oji 1998:150). According to another 1996 survey, 10.2 percent of male students and 17.0 percent of female students in middle school, and 6.6 percent of male students and 27.3 percent of female students in high school had already used telephone clubs. Girls joined telephone clubs because they found it fun, were bored, wanted to tease their dates, found it thrilling, wanted to play, wanted to talk about eroticism, and the telephone bill was free (for women) (So-mucho- 1997:69). ~

Tougher regulations, sanctions, and public education about the dangers of child prostitution would help prevent the increase of child prostitution. The National Police Agency announced in 2001 that it would regard telephone clubs as part of the sex industry, and prohibit anyone under 18 years from using telephone clubs, under the revised Law of the Justification of the Entertainment Industry (fu-zoku eigyo- tekiseikaho-) (AS January 26 2001). ~

Schoolgirl Prostitution and Compensated Dates

listings in a sex magazine
In 1995, police picked up nearly 5,500 girls under the age of 18 for prostitution and related activities, a 40 percent increase from 1993. Many of the girls refered to themselves as "assistants" and their clients as "papas" and described their activities as “enjo kosai”, a euphemism for prostitution that means "compensated meeting."

Some schoolgirls posted their pictures at video arcades with their telephone numbers and messages like "I want money," "I'm looking for a lover," and "I'll give you anything you want." In many cases girls posted messages with cell phones on matchmaking sites and men responded to them. The girls usually took pictures of themselves and post them under false names with contact information.

According to one sociologist, "these men do nothing but work their entire lives. When they have a little money they want to treat themselves. They choose these girls as if they were objects to satisfy their desires and this is symbolic of what Japanese culture is today."

Many girls are simply "companions" who sit in coffee shops and chat with older men for $100 or so on "compensated dates" and sometimes hold their hand. Describing a compensated date, one 19-year-old girl told AFP, "I met him with two of my female friends. The guy was in his late 20s and took us to a restaurant and gave us 10,000 yen each. It's fairly easy to get money from men."

Schoolgirls, Sex, Money and Designer Handbags

Some girls earn as much as $5,000 a month. One 16-year-old girl who told a Japan newspaper that she earned $2,500 a month from her “papa” said: "I thought 'let's think of this as business,'" she said, recalling her first encounter. "I'd never let a man touch me free of charge."

The 17-year-old girl said that she earns between $300 and $1,000 for each sexual tryst. Referring to teenagers who earn much less working at restaurants and convenience stores, she said, "I feel sorry for the girls who spend all their free time slaving away at a normal part time job. Once they finally make enough money to buy anything, they don't have the time to show it off."

Some schoolgirls reportedly prostitute themselves and use the money they make to buy Louis Vuitton bags, Chanel perfume and Prada handbags. Explaining how young Japanese girls could stoop so low, one Japanese journalist told the Los Angeles Times, "During the bubble economy years, "the media spread the idea that earning money was a good thing, no matter how you did it. As a result, these girls have no feeling that what they're doing is bad."

Confessions of a Sexually-Active Japanese Schoolgirl

One girl told Time magazine, "I started doing enjo kosai my second year of high school. On most of my dates I had sex. That’s the weirdest thing I've ever done — meeting someone for the first time and screwing him the same day." [Source: told to Kate Drake, Time, March 19, 2001]

"I was going to school like usual but I was bored and had no money. My boyfriend, the guy I lost my virginity to, had just broken up with me. I wouldn't do enjo kosai if I had a boyfriend. Losing him was really tough...I just left a message about myself on a cyber message board and chose a sex partner from the guys who wrote back...They leave messages like, 'Any girl who will have sex for ¥50,000 send a message here,' and stuff like that...I chose guys based on their age and occupations.”

She met her first date at Kyoto Station after sending e-mail messages back and fort for a week. "I went to school first...Then I went to the station...We must have met around 6pm...I used my cell phone to figure out who he was...a total salaryman."

She said they had dinner at an Italian restaurant and he drove her to a love hotel. "We just kinda carried on a regular conversation in the room. I mean we didn't talk about sex or anything. I took a bath first, alone. While I was in the tub, he took off his clothes. Then we did it. I used a condom so I wouldn't get pregnant." He then drove her back to the station and paid her ¥50,000...All the guys who wanted to screw me were old! Like, in their 30s! One guy gave me a Gucci ring but I didn’t keep it. I sold it and spent the money on snowboarding" and "bought lots of cute accessories."

"No one but me knew what I was doing...My parents definitely didn't know...I stopped doing enjo kosai after a while...At the time I didn't think I was doing anything bad, but now I think it was bad...Now I have a part-time job in a Japanese inn serving breakfast and stuff...I manage to save a little money. Very little."

Dating Cafes in Japan

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Dating cafes are places where men chose among the female clientele and try to get dates with them. Men and women enter different rooms in the café with the men checking out the women in the women’s room from behind a two-way mirror. If a man sees a woman he likes he can ask to talk to her. The talk usually last for 10 minutes or less. If the women decides to leave with the man he pays her “transportation money” plus a fee to the café.

A typical dating café has a sign outside that says “Coffee Shop with manga library — no entrance fee for women — and another sign that says “girls aged 16 and older welcome.” The room for the men is about 50 centimeters lower than the women’s room. Female customers can not see the men. A man who gets a date typically pays the café ¥8,000 for the admission fee, naming fee and date fee. Women do not have to pay anything.

Young woman are lured with offers of free drinks and snacks and manicures. Some have signs that say minors under 18 are prohibited but does not ask for any identification when the people enter. A raid of one dating café in Osaka found 13 girls between the ages of 13 and 17.

The owner of one café visited by the Yomiuri Shimbun said the café makes an average of ¥10,000 from each male customer. Males pay a membership fee plus ¥2,000 to the café every time they chose a female to speak to. If the woman or girl agrees to leave the café with the man he pays the café an additional ¥3,000 to ¥5,000.

At a typical café young women sit around reading manga waiting for male customers to choose them. Some, post messages like “I’m 18, Wanna go to karaoke?” on a bulletin board. One told the Yomiuri Shimbun, “I recently quit my job. I feel comfortable here, and I can kill time when I have nothing to do.”

According to police dating cafes began appearing in large numbers in 2006. At the end of 2008 there were a total of 88 such places in Tokyo and 14 in other prefectures, with 27 in Tokyo, 11 in Aichi Prefecture and none in Osaka.

Dating Cafes and Prostitution in Japan

Some dating cafes have become fronts for prostitution and child prostitution with the girl selected demanding large “transportation fees” in return for sex, and men sometimes selecting middle school girls. Critics of the café want them ban girls under 18 from entering and have police on the scene to enforce the ban.

As of early 2009, 33 cases of child prostitution associated with the cases were reported, including one in which a 41-year-old company work was arrested for performing lewd acts with a 14-year-old girl whom the man met at a dating café.

A 15-year-old middle school told the Yomiuri Shimbun she entered a dating café with a friend and was supplied with alcohol outside the café and sexually abused by a male customer. “I treated it all very lightly as I thought I’d be able to dine for free,” she said. “I never thought I’d be taken to a hotel. I regret it now.” For the most part police can do nothing because there are no laws restricting dating cafés or the people that enter them.

In March 2009, the National Police Agency announced that would begin regulating dating-service cafes by banning people under the age of 18 from entering them.

Japanese Telephone Clubs

Telephone Clubs are a unique Japanese institution in which men pay up to $18 an hour to sit in a tiny booth and wait for calls from women girls who call to decide if they interested in meeting the man. [Source: Michael Stroh, Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1996]

The first telephone clubs opened in 1985. In survey by the national PTA of Japan in the mid-1990s, 25 percent of the 2,200 high schoolgirls questioned said they called a telephone club at least once. Many of the girls said they call the telephone clubs out of boredom and a desire to make some quick spending money.

The girls who use telephone clubs call toll-free numbers advertised in public phone booth and on packets of tissues given out on street corners. An advertisement on one packet of tissues read, "the men at Valentine Call have solid identities. You can feel safe. As soon as your call is connected to the front desk, please feel free to ask for any advise regarding the type or age of man you're seeking. We're waiting for your call."

The majority of the girls meet older men in the 1990s did do through "telephone clubs." In 1995, more than 1,500 men were arrested for having sex with teenage girls they met through the telephone clubs, up from 500 in 1992.

The entrances of telephone clubs often had pictures of schoolgirls outside them. Some are located near schools. One pretty 17-year-old girl, who told the Los Angeles Times she regularly meets with 10 different men she met through the telephone clubs, said, "They look old enough to be my father. In fact, many are married and have kids who are around my age." She doesn't enjoy the sex. "It's business," she said.

Modern telephone clubs offer "message allow," in which women can leave voice mail messages for selling used panties and stockings; and "image dial," which allows female callers to pretend they are someone else's wife or sado-masochist. A recorded message for the Tokyo-based Imelura Daiaru club used to go: "This is the special line of the queen. Please push the 'pound' button whenever you want to change your slave." When an AFP reporter pushed the 'pound' button a male vice came on the line saying, "I'm alone in the room now. How will you treat me tonight."

Japanese Dato Clubs

schoolgirl fantasy at a sex club
Dato clubs, or dating or meeting clubs, are similar to telephone clubs, except women are paid about $15 an hour to sit in rooms behind one-way mirrors while males clients look at them. Girls that are selected by the men receive a bonus. There are also telephone clubs that pay girls about the same amount of money to sit in a room and talk to men on the phone.

At drive in tele-dating services guys drive in to a stall and put a phone in their car. A woman calls and the men try to pick up the phone the quickest to talk to her. Some tele-dating services have registered as non-profit-organization that claims to be helping the earth.

Girls selling sex use can find customers with dating websites they can access with their cell phones. A number of crimes, including some murders, have been linked to web-dating. Most of the crimes were sexually related and many of the victims were teenage girls. One of the murders involved teenage boys killing a woman they met through the Internet.

In 2001 the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment tighten restrictions on telephone clubs, require service operators to check the age of customers.In an efforts to clamp down on school girl sex, local governments considered other laws to restrict the telephone clubs, newspapers ran articles calling for the need for moral education, and church groups printed pamphlets entitled "True Love Waits" and ran ads in comic books that urge girls to "Just Say No." The National Police Association (NPA) studied ways to punish children who posted messages soliciting sex on their cell phones.

JK Rifure Japanese Schoolgirl Sex Services

Describing a new kind of schoolgirl sex service that appeared in the early 2010s Sho Mizuno and Yayoi Kawatoko wrote in the Yomiuri Shimbun, “The practice is known as JK rifure, in which JK stands for joshi kosei, or high school girl, and rifure is an abbreviation of reflexology, a type of massage. The term is used to describe businesses that employ girls of high school age to massage or lie down beside male customers. According to the Metropolitan Police Department, the number of facilities that provide the JK rifure service began to increase from about a year ago, reaching 80. [Source: Sho Mizuno and Yayoi Kawatoko, Yomiuri Shimbun, May 9, 2013 ^*^]

“On one evening in mid-April, a 17-year-old girl wearing a high school uniform handed out fliers saying, "JK, 30 minutes 4,000 yen, 1 hour 7 yen,000" to businessmen in suits and other men on the crowded streets of the Akihabara electronics district in Tokyo. The girl is an employee of the kind of storeless JK rifure businesses that have grown in number recently. "Do you want to go out with me? We can go to a maid cafe, have something to eat, go shopping," she said after handing one of the writers a flier. ^*^

“She agreed to be interviewed, and told of how she had dropped out of a prefectural high school in Chiba Prefecture two years ago. A friend recommended the job to her and she started work eight months ago. She commutes to the area almost every weekday by train, soliciting men on the street from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. She said she goes on two or three "dates" per day, mostly with company employees in their 30s and 40s. Some men want to go to video game arcades, others take her shopping and some just want to walk together. A few proposition her for sex, but she said with a laugh, "If I have to, I just run away. It's not scary at all." ^*^

“Her employer has an office in a nearby building, and she splits all of her earnings with the company, making about 100,000 yen per month, she said. "I work with about 10 other girls. It's not the sex industry and we're not doing anything bad," she said. "I can make money this way. There's no way I'd switch to other part-time jobs." "Quite a few girls still visit us seeking part-time jobs, and our sales have not dropped. Even if the police strengthen their control, similar businesses that feature high school girls will carry on," said a man in his 40s who runs another JK rifure service at a building in Akihabara. The man had offered services inside his shop before, but now he runs a storeless service. The contents of the services have also changed. Where high school-age girls used to provide massages and lie down beside customers, they now offer conversation outside the shop, the man said. He posted information about his business on a part-time job-search website. ^*^

Cracking Down on JK Rifure Japanese Schoolgirl Sex Services

Sho Mizuno and Yayoi Kawatoko wrote in the Yomiuri Shimbun, “Police have begun cracking down on businesses that employ girls of high school age to provide massage and other services to male customers after the labor ministry called the practice a harmful job, though many companies have simply turned to a "storeless" business model that attracts less notice. [Source: Sho Mizuno and Yayoi Kawatoko, Yomiuri Shimbun, May 9, 2013 ^*^]

“The National Police Agency had been unable to move against the practice since it does not fall under the Adult Entertainment Businesses Law and therefore companies do not need to obtain permission for operation with the Public Safety Commission. But police were freed to act after the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said it considered JK rifure to be a harmful job, placing it in a category of work forbidden for people under 18 years old by the Labor Standards Law. ^*^

“However, observers said the situation has not changed much, as more companies have merely moved their young female employees to the street to directly solicit men for paid "dates." The NPA also categorizes this practice as JK rifure. When examining how to crack down on the industry, the MPD found that it would be difficult to use the Adult Entertainment Businesses Law, as the new industry claimed its services merely consisted of lying down and massaging.^*^

“The MPD then examined use of the Labor Standards Law, under which JK rifure could be labeled a harmful business, meaning such companies would not be allowed to employ workers under 18 years old. The MPD sent an inquiry to the Central Labor Standards Inspection Office of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on the matter, and received an answer that JK rifure "constitutes a harmful business, as it aims to offer its clients sexual consolation and entertainment." ^*^

“The MPD in January raided 17 shops in Akihabara and other locations for alleged violation of the Labor Standards Law and arrested owners and managers of four shops. The MPD also changed its handling of the issue in April to acknowledge a certain responsibility on the side of teenagers engaged in the service. It now treats such incidences as correctional guidance cases rather than juvenile protection cases. The number of shops providing JK rifure services is decreasing, the MPD said. Now the MPD is discussing ways to regulate those that offer storeless operations, as well as those that changed the contents of their services to avoid being cracked down on by police. ^*^

Hiroshi Kainuma, a specially appointed researcher at Fukushima University who is well versed in youth culture, said the industry "has the same structure as enjo kosai [patronage dating], which became a social phenomenon during 1990s." "While it offers a lucrative part-time job for girls, they often find it difficult to break away from the business after being cajoled by male adults, and eventually become dependent on the situation," Kainuma said. "It's a problem that should be addressed by society as a whole," Kainuma said. Mieko Miyata, director of the Japan Research Institute of Safer Child Education, said, "Children should be informed at schools of the possible danger of becoming a victim of a sexual offense [if they become involved in such services]." ^*^

Smartphone Apps Used by Tokyo Underage Prostitution Ring Bust

In June 2013, the Japan News reported: “Two men were arrested for allegedly arranging for two minors to sell sex by misusing toll-free smartphone applications, the Metropolitan Police Department announced Monday. Kenichi Sekiguchi, 51, an unemployed man from Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, and Eiji Kato, 37, also unemployed and from Koto Ward, Tokyo, were arrested on suspicion of violating the Antiprostitution Law. [Source: Japan News, ANN, June 4, 2013 +]

“Two male customers were arrested on suspicion of violating the law prohibiting child prostitution and child pornography, the police said. According to an MPD senior official, Sekiguchi and Kato were suspected to have posted a message May 18 on a dating service site for smartphones stating that they would introduce young women. The message contained an ID for a toll-free application. The two customers who have been arrested were suspected to have performed indecent acts on a 15-year-old unemployed girl and 16-year-old high school second-year student, respectively, and to have paid them 20,000 yen (S$252) to 30,000 yen each at a Tokyo hotel. +\

“The free applications that Sekiguchi and Kato misused, such as Line and Kakao Talk, enable users to talk and exchange messages without giving such personal information as name and telephone number. Only a simple ID code is required. Sekiguchi and Kato introduced the girls to customers after telling the customers where to meet and how much to pay using the application's message function, according to police. +\

“Sekiguchi used a smartphone registered under another person's name. He was quoted by the police as saying, "I thought I wouldn't have to reveal my identity to customers if I used a toll-free application, and that it would be impossible for the police to identify me even if they investigated the case." Sekiguchi and Kato invited girls on a message board of an online dating site with messages saying "good side work is available." They arranged for 12 girls aged between 15 and 17 who applied for the job to sell sex, and received about 40 per cent of the money, according to police. The MPD suspects Sekiguchi and Kato earned about 15 million yen between November and May. +\

Image Sources: 1) Japan Visitors 2) and 3) xorsyst blog 4) Joan Sinclair's book Pink Boxes

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Daily Yomiuri, Times of London, Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO), National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated March 2014

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