Have you ever heard of “high school girl refreshment” or “high school girl strolling”? These are services that are on offer mainly in the Akihabara neighborhood of Tokyo. Men who enjoy hanging out with high school students value such services highly because they allow them to get in touch with students.
However, these are actually highly questionable practices. They are linked to organized crime and it is not unheard of for problems that occur in the course of such services to be solved through violence.
This is something that the young girls who do this kind of work are often not aware of. On the contrary, many of them believe that they are engaging in a completely safe and harmless practice.
How could girls do this kind of work, yet remain unaware of the danger they put themselves in? The answer is that the people who manage these services do their utmost to keep girls in the dark about who they really are.
In normal conditions, employees would probably grow suspicious and find out about the deception. However, young girls lack the experience to infer these kinds of things by themselves.
What is “high school girl refreshment” and “high school student strolling”?
“High school girl refreshment” and “high school student strolling” are basically a form of sex work that does not involve actual sex acts. Because nothing sexual happens, employees can be younger than 18 and businesses can advertise the fact that their employees are high school students.
“High school girl refreshment” is a trade that takes place in a kind of brothel. Clients get a private room where they can spend time with a high school girl – talking, playing games, and the like.
“High school girl strolling” takes place entirely outside a physical location. Clients can pick up high school students who are soliciting clients on the street and take them on simulated dates.
The malady of “high school girl services”
On the surface, “high school girl services” do not allow any kind of sexual activity between girls and their clients. However, when girls are left alone with men they do not know, it is almost inevitable that the “services” rendered sometimes go further than what is strictly advertised. Unfortunately, sexual harassment of the girl employees by their clients is not uncommon. Some are also raped while they are intoxicated or otherwise unable to consent or resist.
On the other hand, quite a few of the high school students who begin working for this kind of service do so with the intent to prostitute themselves. Some clients also make use of these services with the intent to buy sex from a high school girl, even though they are well aware that they are committing a crime.
The yakuza lurking behind these services
However, this kind of behavior is an issue for Japanese brothels as well. This is because any acts of prostitution that take place are the responsibility of the brothel. In an attempt to deter illegal behavior, many brothel operators ally themselves with yakuza (organized crime gangs).
Many brothels display signs warning that “Problems will be reported to the appropriate authorities”. In nine out of ten cases, these “appropriate authorities” are, in fact, yakuza.
Girls do not know about the yakuza
Brothels offering “high school girl services” that have allied themselves with yakuza go to great lengths to hide that association from the young girls who work for them. In interviews with Yumeno Nitō, who works to tackle the social problems facing these girls, the girls claimed that they had never seen “anyone who looked like a yakuza” on the premises of the brothels.
However, the yakuza are in fact present. The girls simply do not realize that some of the adults they see are yakuza.
The majority of yakuza do not look like violent and amoral people. Most could easily be mistaken for a normal office worker.
The girls end up judging these men purely by the way they look, leading them to conclude that they have seen no yakuza. In other words, the girls who lend their time to these “high school girl services” have no idea who they are actually working for.
For adults, it is easy to conceal the truth from young girls who have not yet developed sufficient powers of discernment. The way the operators of “high school girl refreshment” and “high school girl strolling” services lull these girls into a false sense of security could easily be termed a kind of brainwashing.
Such services are operated not just in Akihabara, but all over Japan. Some girls manage to leave the trade unharmed after a time, but there are plenty of others for whom these services become a painful introduction to Japan’s underworld. Japan must ask itself if it can really build a healthy society while tolerating the existence of such “businesses”.