The Japanese sex industry encompasses a large variety of service models. “Soaplands”, “delivery health”, and “pink salons” are the most common kinds.
Those categories contain numerous subdivisions. Many establishments distinguish themselves from others by the kind of women they employ. Housewives, college students, and mature women are only some of the well-known “specializations” found among brothels.
Male clients find it very expedient that they can choose exactly what they want. The establishments can focus on fulfilling one particular kind of demand, which makes their work easier.
This differentiation also means that many different kinds of women are now taking their first steps into the sex industry. Because women of all ages are choosing to work in the sex industry, the trend towards specialization only grows stronger in Japan.
Let us take a look at what kinds of women are increasingly choosing the sex industry.
Female college students
The number of female college students has increased as social advancement of women progresses.
Some female college students who come to live in Tokyo need to take up part-time jobs in order to cover their tuition fees. However, when they find themselves needing to spend more and more time on schoolwork, they have less time for part-time jobs and money becomes tight.
As a result, quite a few female college students turn to work in the sex industry. The sex industry not only allows them to only in their free time, it also pays very well. As a result, the sex industry is very appealing for female college students.
As the number of elderly increases in Japan, there is a growing demand for care workers. The care industry is known for employing a large percentage of female workers.
However, it is also no secret that on average, these jobs do not pay very well. Care workers’ low salaries are not in proportion with the demand that exists for their work, or with the work’s onerous nature. This is recognized as a social problem in Japan, but one that has not been solved to date.
As a result, a growing number of care workers try to supplement their low salaries by combining their regular jobs with work in the sex industry. These care workers find work in the sex industry appealing for the same reasons that college students do: the hours are flexible and the pay is high.
Care workers who have side jobs in the sex industry have a noticeably higher standard of living than their colleagues. Some of these colleagues get suspicious when a fellow worker is suddenly much better off than before. However, when they find out that sex work is behind the change, they often think “I want to do this too”.
This sets off a chain reaction among care workers, resulting in more and more of them turning to the sex industry. Because this trend is now very widespread among care workers, brothels can employ women from a wide range of generations.
Married women have long been a popular “specialization” in the Japanese sex industry. One reason for this is that there have always been men who get a thrill out of having relations with a woman who is supposed to remain devoted to her husband only. In other words, having sex with a married woman makes men feel that they are committing adultery.
In recent years, however, there has been an increase in the number of married women who have no real objections to engaging with a man who is not their husband. This may be due to the fact that the definition of a “couple” has been evolving in Japan.
It is worth noting that unlike college students and care workers, economic hardship is not a common reason for married women to choose sex work. Of course there are also married women who do sex work because their financial needs leave them little choice. However, what is happening today is an increase in the number of married prostitutes who are choosing the industry out of personal interest.
Some say that they led a very sober life before becoming a prostitute. Quite a few women recount that their lives were filled only with drudgery from the time they were students. After they graduated, they ended up in dull office jobs, and the cycle of unrewarding work only continued when they married and became full-time housewives.
However, when they tried registering on online sex work recruitment websites and got work through there, some color finally came into their lives. They got to experience a kind of excitement they had not known up to then, and it gave them something to enjoy about their lives.
Besides these three examples, there are many other kinds of women joining the sex industry in Japan. How will the industry evolve in this time of rapidly changing values?