Kabukichō is a famous entertainment district in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It is known for its numerous clubs trying to pull in customers from the street and as one of the busiest areas in Japan for such activity.
As if to say that those times are now in the past, however, sex clubs have been on a steady decline in this region. In 2004, when Shintaro Ishihara was Governor of Tokyo, huge crackdowns on Kabukichō sex clubs took place. This was known as Ishihara’s Kabukichō Purification Strategy. Because of this trend that continues today, the once flourishing sex clubs in Kabukichō have died off.
At a glance, it is easy to see that many of the clubs in the area have disappeared. What has increased, however, are delivery health services.
Since delivery health services operate without physical locations, they are difficult to detect, making them ideal for owners. The government also tolerates these call services from the perspective that they don’t tarnish the city landscape, which is another factor in their sudden increase.
Let’s take a closer look at the origins of delivery health and its current state.
The origins of delivery health
At the name suggests, delivery health is a delivery (dispatch) service where girls are sent to provide services at the client’s location. Dispatch locations are generally hotels located in the vicinity of the delivery health office, but girls can also be dispatched to residences, etc.
The origins of delivery health are not well known. Delivery health (the first club without a physical location) became legal to operate in 1999, the year when the Entertainment and Amusement Trades Control Act was revised. This is when delivery health began drawing significant attention within the sex industry.
As stated above, the Japanese sex industry, itself, has come under increasing pressure over the years. In most cases, if a sex club with a physical location submits a request for an operating permit, the permit will be denied. Even if it were granted, it would be difficult to resist the intensifying crackdowns.
Delivery health, on the other hand, does not suffer from the same risk of crackdowns, and the number of companies offering these services has continued to increase. Most requests for operating licenses are granted and, since 2010, an average of over 1,000 clubs per year continue to be opened.
In this way, delivery health has risen to the top of the Japanese sex industry, at least with respect to the total number of clubs. In 2014, there were over 17,000 delivery health clubs in operation. There are more delivery health clubs in Japan than there are stores in some major convenience store chains.
The current state of delivery health
One of the reasons for the continuing expansion of the delivery health market is that there is no amenity cost expended for these clubs. However, there is also the demerit of not being able to compete with physical sex clubs that offer extensive amenities. In other words, the only commodities that delivery health can compete with are the bodies of its girls.
With more than 17,000 clubs operating under the same business model, however, it has become necessary to stand out. Since delivery health clubs cannot offer the extensive services of clubs with physical locations, they have attempted to diversify by segmentation.
As a result, a number of different delivery health varieties were born. Some delivery health clubs promote a selection of traditional girls while others promote exclusive selections of mature women, etc.
Traditional delivery health offers sumata (a Japanese sexual term in which the female rubs and tightens her labia majora against the male’s penis, without actual penetration) as an alternative to actual intercourse. Recently, though, there has been a rise in delivery health clubs attempting diversification in sexual services, such as those offering anal sex. There are also delivery health clubs that appeal to niche interests such as cosplay, chubby girls, scatology, S&M, etc.
As mentioned before, the reason behind this segmentation is competition with other delivery health clubs. With upwards of 17,000 clubs already in existence, however, the market is nearing saturation.
No matter how much diversification you attempt, it’s meaningless if demand can’t keep up. According to one theory, out of the licensed clubs, only about half, or 8,000 businesses, are actually in operation.
From a client’s perspective, though, the situation is perfect. The industry is a buyer’s market, and customers have the freedom to satisfy their preferences.
In the background of the delivery health boom lies fierce competition between companies. If this trend continues, the future of delivery health may be at risk.