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Tough streets of Manchester to the sex trade of Tokyo and the vagueness of law

Tough streets of Manchester to the sex trade of Tokyo and the vagueness of law

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


Manchester – innovation and criminality

Manchester is located in north-west England and this vibrant city is where the Industrial Revolution came alive and Manchester was deemed the first modern industrial city in the world.  At its height the city claimed many notable firsts and this applies to the site of the first railway station in the world; where scientists first split the atom; the development of the first programmable computer; and where the first Trade Union Congress took place.

Not only this, Manchester was internationalist in outlook and Marxism and free trade were theories that run through the veins of the city despite the competing thought patterns of both theories.  Friedrich Engels spent much of his life in Manchester and the surrounding region and Karl Marx visited.  

Alternatively, the Manchester School was focused on economics from the angle of limited government and anti imperialistic in nature.  The Manchester School focused on free trade and laissez faire and the 19th century witnessed many revolutionary changes.

The majority of the 20th century would witness the decline of Manchester but by the end of this century the phoenix was gradually rising from the ashes.  Despite this, the city will never reach the heights of the middle 18th century to the late 19th century but a new spirit began to emerge in the last few decades of the 20th century. 

Yet just like the era of power Manchester was always blighted by areas of poverty and today social deprivation and powerful subcultures have emerged.  Therefore, gangs have fought over the drug trade and other areas of crime in Manchester. 

This notably applies to Cheetham Hill (I went to school in Cheetham Hill), Longsight, Moss Side and Salford gangs.  In recent times new ethnic gangs have moved in and Pakistani gangs have a clear advantage because of the links to heroin in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Gangs in Moss Side came from the Afro-Caribbean community or were mixed blood but Salford gangs were mainly white.  However, ethnicity was not an issue but protecting areas was and in Salford famous families were also instrumental and the set up was different.

Crime statistics in Manchester are well above the national average and areas like Ardwick, Ancoats, Benchill, Collyhurst, Harpurhey, Moston, Wythenshawe, and others; all have social deprivation issues alongside the areas of high gang activity which have already been mentioned.

Tokyo and the sex trade

Therefore, when I moved to Tokyo it was a welcome change to reside in a city which was free from high crime rates.  Of course the Japanese yakuza is based in many areas of Tokyo and you have Chinese gangs and others but overall the gang culture is structured.

Also, other factors behind crime or criminality in Manchester appear to be missing in Tokyo and most violence in Manchester takes place outside gang issues.  Petty violence and random attacks is the real cause for concern and the same applies to muggings or people breaking into your property. 

Tokyo was a million miles away in this area and despite having several cultural mishaps during my first stay in Tokyo I soon adapted to the changed environment. 

I remember walking around Harajuku and Shinjuku at night and not batting an eyelid about worrying about crime and being attacked.  I watched in amazement when so many young adults could go home at night without any fears and the same applied to when people accidently walked into each other.

Yes, you have pockets of deprivation in Tokyo and this applies to parts of Minami Senju, Sanya, and other areas; however, crime figures in Tokyo are very low and the fear of being mugged or a random attack of violence does not enter the radar.

However, one area which is different is the sex trade because the sex trade is very big in Tokyo and the choices available are vast.  More worrying, you have places where young girls, some aged 15, and I dare say sometimes younger; enter places whereby Japanese men watch them getting changed or they flash their panties and so forth.

The one reality of Tokyo is that amongst the neon lights and highly developed areas you have a budding sex trade which caters for chican (groping), normal prostitution, and a plethora of other options which are all connected to the sex trade.

In Manchester the sex trade also exists but not to the extent of Tokyo and the perverse nature of elements of the sex trade in Tokyo would not be tolerated in Manchester or throughout the United Kingdom in general because of legal factors.

Indeed, the sex trade in Manchester is often linked with drug addiction and it is a dangerous game to play.  I often walked home along Cheetham Hill Road at night and you have a red-light area close to the city centre and along this road until the shopping areas starts in full.

Ladies of the night in Cheetham Hill are involved in a dangerous trade and pimps control them.  This form of prostitution will exist to an extent in Tokyo but this is the main way in Manchester and ladies will be picked up and paid in cars and this clearly leaves them vulnerable and in danger.

This does not apply to Tokyo because the sex trade can be found in many parts of Tokyo and it is set amongst high quality buildings, wealthy areas and located within shopping districts and entertainment areas. 

In my article called Tokyo and the booming sex trade: the mirage of reality; I comment that It is reported that the sex trade generates $15 billion dollars a year in Japan but it is not just the enormous money that it generates which is astonishing; it is the diversity on offer.  This applies to brothels which come under so many different names and this applies to image rooms, soaplands, pink salons, delivery health, and a vast number of names and services are provided.”

“Therefore, you can easily visit a fake train carriage and grope ladies in your “chikan heaven” or you can buy used panties at vending machines or visit a place and pick married women and so much more.”

Also, it is clear that young females are in demand and once more Tokyo caters for young girls who range from being around 15 or a little younger and they will be paid to sit or talk amongst themselves while flashing their panties to the paying adult males.

This type of vice would not be tolerated in Manchester but the nature of Tokyo, and Japan, appears to be “anything goes” providing the money is not visibly being given for sexual favors openly. 

Anti-prostitution laws are vague in Japan and the same applies to the sex trade because while distribution of child pornography is a criminal offence the same does not apply to watching videos of children being abused in the comfort of your own home. 

The seedy side of Tokyo is one issue but when it involves minors then you would think that the police would be pro-active.  However, while the police may want to do more the legal system ties their hands and it is the political leadership and the legal system which is to be blamed for allowing this in Japan.

Sarah Noorbakhsh states that Girls in uniform, some as young as 15, sit sprawled out on the floor of a small room, chatting or reading books. Skirts are rolled high, some have their legs folded up against their chest, and none the girls give much notice to the fact that their colorful panties are on display–to the paying customers in the next room.”

It is clear that the police are having trouble in stopping this because the legal system is so vague and open to many loopholes.  Therefore, the main hope is the breaking of labour laws because child protection laws appear to be ineffectual.

Sarah Noorbakhsh continues by stating that the“Police are attempting to target the clubs to curtail this new expansion into the fuzokuindustry. Club “Yokohama Mambo” was investigated by police last month in an attempt to press child welfare laws against the venue, but because the girls are free to come and go as they please, the law wasn’t applicable. Authorities finally landed upon the Labor Standards Act, as it stipulates youth may not work in places that are hazardous from a hygienic or social welfare standpoint. They hope to investigate similar premises under the same law.”

The seedy side of Tokyo was unknown to my childhood in Manchester because the sex trade and images of young teenagers is potent within Japanese culture and this certainly applies to the booming sex trade of Tokyo.  

This thought pattern did not exist in my native Manchester and while the sex trade exists it is not prominent and based in every major district of Manchester.  However, in Tokyo the sex trade is visible in parts of Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Ueno, and recently it is increasing in Shibuya and you also have other areas outside of the major areas of Tokyo where the sex trade flourishes.

Of course different cultures and laws throughout the world will have different thought patterns and in Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia old men can marry young girls of eight and nine years of age. This also happens in Yemen and other Islamic nations where Sharia Islamic law is powerful.

Despite the violent side of Manchester being a reality I can at least understand this but why men are allowed to watch young girls or you can view child images in your own home without fear; even when the images are extreme; then I can’t fathom why this is allowed. The same applies to Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia allowing old men to marry children and all in the name of Islam.

Elements of the seedy side of Tokyo are meeting a high demand and prostitution and the sex trade is thousands of years old and Tokyo will not be unique.  However, it is a clash of culture to seeing it so prevalent within the culture and the plethora of options is mind boggling to my upbringing in inner-city Manchester.

However, for Tokyoites the violence of inner-city Manchester and drug related issues will also be mind boggling. 

Of course, Manchester is also a great city and you have many areas which make me proud and this applies to past history, the recent music scene and the richness of sport in my hometown.

Similarly, Tokyo is an amazing city which is ultra modern and the fashion scene is amongst the best in the world.  Also, Tokyo is an economic powerhouse and this city is rich in culture. 

Yet the one side that I fail to understand is the seedy nature of this city which caters for groping women on “fantasy trains” or watching young girls showing their panties and so forth.

Sarah Noorbakhsh – “Fuzoku lite: “Aquarium of girls” offers thrills for herbivore men

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Tokyo and the booming sex trade: the mirage of reality

Tokyo and the booming sex trade: the mirage of reality

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

If you reside in Tokyo or visit this highly developed city then on the surface it appears that peacefulness abounds and that Tokyo is conservative.  However, the truth could not be further because the sex trade is flourishing and it is either in the open or hidden from sight.

Buzzing parts of Tokyo like Ikebukuro are full of seedy love hotels and you have so many diverse places to visit within the vast compass of the sex trade.  Now Shibuya is becoming engulfed by the sex trade and you have countless websites, sexual matching services, and so forth; which is mainly aimed at the domestic market.

What is more surprising is that many buildings may look normal from the outside and it appears that only trade is happening or only usual companies exist.  However, this is not the case and so much remains hidden and is discreet.

Of course you get “red light areas” and open images of sexy ladies in parts of Ikebukuro, Ueno, Shinjuku, and other parts of Tokyo; however, many other parts of the sex trade looks highly respectable and it would be difficult to imagine the reality of what is really happening.

In up market Ginza you have the legendary “Ginza ladies” and you will see enjo kosai because many bankers and financial workers with high salaries work in Ginza, Nihonbashi, and Yurakcho.  Therefore, money is awash and given the availability of so many beautiful ladies and high rolling businessmen; then obviously a powerful market exists.

I have lived in Manchester and London, and other major cities. However, while you have pockets of the sex trade in both cities is does not compare with Tokyo.  Indeed, you have “used panty” vending machines in some areas of the sex trade in Tokyo and it is difficult to image such a thing in England.

It is reported that the sex trade generates $15 billion dollars a year in Japan but it is not just the enormous money that it generates which is astonishing; it is the diversity on offer.  This applies to brothels which come under so many different names and this applies to image rooms, soaplands, pink salons, delivery health, and a vast number of names and services are provided.

Therefore, you can easily visit a fake train carriage and grope ladies in your “chikan heaven” or you can buy used panties at vending machines or visit a place and pick married women and so much more.

Not only this, you have seedy love hotels all over Tokyo and throughout Japan.  Not all love hotels are seedy and many are used by lovers or married couples who have problems with meeting.  This applies to living with parents for the younger generation or couples who have children and little privacy.

Yet in places like Ikebukuro you can meet a lady for sex outside either the local police station or wherever you want.  After all, the police tend to leave people alone and then you can visit an abundance of seedy love hotels.

Not only this, many love hotels on the west side of Ikebukuro are within the residential area and clearly shame is not an issue.  Therefore, I often see ladies dressed in long black leggings, short skirts and looking very sexy and it is abundantly clear that the older male or similar aged male is neither a boyfriend or their marriage partner.

Everything seems so natural and nobody appears to care therefore you can rent places for a few hours and then leave.  Everything is tailor made for the sex industry to flourish and enjo kosai is also powerful.

Some pink establishments cater to the whims of their clients and are open 24 hours a day. Also, some pink establishments provide alibis to wives who provide a sexual service and the same applies to mothers and girlfriends.   

Despite anti-prostitutions laws in Japan the police have adopted a relaxed approach and they rarely intervene.  Also, it is clear that language manipulation is allowed and even illegal sexual joints are left alone in the main.

Japanese female sex trade workers are a little unique because the underclass is very small in Japan and drug abuse is still minor when compared to nations like America or Iran.  Therefore, most ladies come from middle class backgrounds and you have many housewives involved in the sex trade or very young adult teens are involved in enjo kosai.

In places like Kabukicho in Tokyo it is clear that Chinese gangs have become involved in the sex trade and the Japanese yakuza appear to have separate zones of influence within the sex trade.

Foreign women sex workers often face brutal conditions because they were either tricked into prostitution and many have been forced into the sex trade.  Many reside in terrible conditions and Japanese immigration appears to care little about this fact and if they run away to the police in Japan then they face deportation.

Turning back to internal sex trade workers in Tokyo then the Yoshiwara district is famous for soapland workers and the same applies to pink salons and delivery health services. 

Pink salons applies to ladies dressed with little on and performing oral sex in areas where the lights are low; and this business is flourishing.  Health applies to places where you partake in nude bathing with a sexy lady or sexual services are provided but not full intercourse.  Therefore, “health” denotes being a place where sexual diseases can be prevented and this is aimed at reassuring the client.

Image rooms is what it sounds like and Japanese men in Tokyo can visit fake crowded subways in order to grope and touch ladies or they can be in a specially designed car and fulfill their dream. 

Some ladies in image rooms will dress up like nurses, school girls, waitresses, manga characters, and so forth.  You also have “baby play” whereby willing customers fulfill their desire to be in a diaper and treated like a baby and of course given the sexual nature, then breast feeding is an added cost.

S and M clubs are also popular amongst salarymen, company bigwigs, bureaucrats and other types of employment and you can also find dominatrix clubs.

Sexual cabaret clubs are based in many parts of Tokyo and you have “no-pan shabu restaurants” where waitresses have no panties on and very short skirts and for a strong tip they will bend over for the client or clients.

Indeed, Japanese men have a thing about food and women because you have “kaitzenzushi kuabakura” which is a combination of fast food and a sex club.  This applies to young ladies being dressed like chiefs and they will expose their breasts and let you fondle them.

Sex is main-stream and Japan’s largest video rental chain, Tsutaya, provides vast numbers of new releases each month of new porn films.  Of course, in the same shop you will find children buying Mickey Mouse films.

If you want to compare the sex trade with America then remember that in America you have around 300 million people compared to 127 million people in Japan.  However, despite this, in America they produce 2,500 new porn videos a year but in Japan it is roughly 14,000 videos. 

If you maximize this with the population then the ratio would be 2,500 in America to well over 30,000 a year in Japan.

In truth, you have an abundance of areas where the sex trade flourishes and you also have only women sex shops whereby they can pick sexual aides or videos to suit their needs.

Tokyo may seem like a gentle and tranquil city where crime is very low and everything looks rather conservative.  However, in Tokyo, and throughout Japan, the sex trade business is thriving and the array of services is huge and this is all backed up by a police force which cares little and laws which have little meaning.

Yet, true to the nature of Tokyo it happens without the feel of danger or that it is upsetting the balance within this highly developed and beautiful city.

Therefore, the Japanese way of “compromise” is working because nearly every area of Tokyo is highly developed, very clean and drug issues are minor and the crime rate is very low.

In truth, you will not find a more highly developed city than Tokyo in the world which is buzzing with energy and where the infrastructure works. Also, negative social issues like crime and drugs are very low and the quality of life is very high. (please visit)


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Posted by on May 8, 2011 in Japan


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Chikan (train groping) is a problem in Tokyo and a sexual earner for the sex trade

Chikan (train groping) is a problem in Tokyo and a sexual earner for the sex trade

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

chikan and imekura – image clubs

chikan and imekura – image clubs

The problem of Chikan (female groping on a train) in Tokyo is nothing new and the same applies to other areas in Japan which are highly populated and where the train system is jam pact.  However, the amount of cases in Tokyo is famously high because the train system is full to capacity in the rush hour period and from 5pm onwards.  Therefore, men who do chikan have ample opportunities in order to molest and touch females discreetly.

Every year thousands of men are arrested for groping ladies on public trains in Japan and in Tokyo many high school young girls also state that they have been groped.  Therefore, the problem of chikan is mainly an issue for young female teenagers, ladies in their twenties and thirties and occasionally towards ladies who are a little older.

The chikan situation is very complex because some men also claim to be victims and this applies to women who may be gang affiliated or have individual money motives.  Therefore, extortion rackets can happen but this is a minority issue within the thousands of men who have been caught.

More seriously, some men claim to be victims because in recent times the police and judiciary are clamping down on chikan but this means that some innocents will be caught amongst the majority who are guilty.

After all, sometimes it could be an innocent mistake because of sudden movements on the train.  Also, because trains are so busy then bodies will naturally bump into one another and nothing is black and white in every case.

This is not to underestimate this serious issue because you will have thousands of victims every year and the psychological impact will vary for each female. Also, groping is a serious crime when proven against the defendant and something needs to be done in order to protect female passengers.

However, chikan is also part and parcel of the sex trade and you will have many women making money from sexual videos, photos, and sex clubs whereby you have a false train carriage (imekura – image clubs). Therefore, men can look or touch ladies in order to fulfill a sexual fantasy and this is done with the aid of ladies who earn money from the sex trade. 

Depending on your view about sex and the sex trade then these individuals will either be deemed perverts or a sad reality about aspects of human nature which exists throughout the world.

It must be remembered that drug issues are minor in Japan and the unemployment rate is very low.  Also, while poverty exists in pockets, Japan is relatively rich and the majority of ladies who are being paid in order to fill the image of “the sexual molester” have chosen freely to make money from this type of work.

For example, many ladies who have entered the sex trade in the United Kingdom and America have done so because of drug addiction issues and other factors related to abuse, poverty, and other related issues.

Therefore, on the one hand you have female victims who have been abused on trains and this is a serious issue.  Yet, on the other hand you have women making money and fulfilling the sexual fantasy of men who are chikan.  However, while some men may be satisfied by touching ladies while paying money via false train carriages; it is apparent that for other men then this will not be enough because chikan is based on being discreet and not knowing the victim.

Given this fact, then some ladies in the sex trade will be adding to the problem of women on trains because some men will still not be satisfied by fake rail carriages and their urge may increase further.

It must be stated that for some people they will blame men either way because if men did not have these sexual impulses then chikan nor the sex trade would be an issue in society.

However, history tells us that the sex trade is part and parcel of aspects of human nature.  This does not imply everyone but it is obvious that the sex trade is a powerful factor within many nations; the degree may vary but it will be somewhere.

Also, the reasons why men do chikan will be complex and for some men it may be a stress mechanism from the stress of work.  For others it will be sexual impulses which have happened on the spur of the moment or it might be part of their criminal nature when it comes to molesting women.

The factors will be complex and the same applies to some women making money from this well known reality in Tokyo. 

You also have more dangerous cases of groups of men who are involved in chikan and for these individuals it is important to increase the prison sentence because this is magnifying the problem and the fear factor to extremes.  Therefore, all group cases should face a severe prison sentence.

In Tokyo and other cities you have all female carriages during the early morning rush hour but at night then the majority of train companies do not provide this service.  This system needs to be changed because drunkenness is also another factor and it seems strange to have a one carriage system in the morning but not between 5pm and the early hours of the morning.

Busy trains - all female carriages

Busy trains – all female carriages

After all, nearly all train lines are full in central Tokyo and the same applies to leaving Tokyo and going to other prefectures like Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa.  Therefore, you need more female carriages in Tokyo that cover a wide part of the day.

Installations of camera’s on trains, a police crackdown, greater awareness campaigns, and viewing chikan to be a serious crime is now factual in Tokyo and throughout Japan.

However, imekura (image clubs) is also factual and the same applies to groups of men meeting and paying ladies to practice their sexual desires and to enhance their techniques.

Also, the clampdown against chikan will also lead to male victims because of zealous police officers and train staff; and you will have false allegations where women are involved in trying to embezzle money out of a hapless victim. Or some females may have overacted to what really happened and you will have other grounds.

This may be a minor problem to the overall issue of Chikan in Tokyo and throughout Japan; however, innocents also need to be protected from scams and false allegations.

Also, many women who work at imekura clubs or who are pandering to male fantasies are also part of the problem.  Yes, it may be men who are paying to visit imekura clubs and if it wasn’t for men paying for sex or buying videos of chikan role play, and so forth; then you would have no sex trade.

However, some women also exploit their bodies in order to make money out of men and in Japan poverty, drug addiction, and other social negatives; are minor factors in the sex trade.

Criminality of yakuza gangs is a different story because some women are trapped into joining the sex trade and foreign workers also suffer greatly because their rights in Japan do not exist because they don’t have citizenship rights

Chikan will continue to exist in Tokyo for the foreseeable future and the same applies to other parts of Japan.

In truth, chikan is complex and even the all female train carriage can lead to other problems because for men who do chikan; then they may view other ladies who do not enter these carriages to be “fair game.” (please visit)

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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Japan


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