Japanese brothels always run the risk of being raided by the police. When police raid a brothel in order to investigate it, this is called a “premises search” (gasa-ire in Japanese).
Subject to the judgment of the police authorities, a brothel may be raided even if the establishment follows all the rules of the sex industry properly. Let us take a look at what happens when the police does a premises search of a brothel.
Raids usually happen during normal business hours
Most of the time, the police will hold a premises search during a brothel’s normal business hours. If the police entered the brothel outside of these hours, there would be no way for them to verify what kind of services the establishment provides to male clients. That is why premises are usually searched during business hours, so the police can take the people in the brothel by surprise.
As a result, it is not unthinkable that you may get caught up in a premises search while you are in the middle of a session at a brothel. When the police are investigating “delivery health” (escort) businesses, they usually search the premises of the company’s office only. Clients will never notice that a premises search has taken place.
Up until now, the police have never done a premises search of places like the hotels that escort services use to organize sessions for clients. However, there is a chance that you will witness a premises search if you frequent brothels that organize sessions in their own business locations, such as pink salons or soaplands.
When the police begin a premises search, they will shout “Don’t move!” Then they will take photographs of all the prostitutes and male clients present. They will also take photos of the rooms where sessions take places, so that they can use these photos as evidence.
In this situation, you are not allowed to ignore the police and continue doing what you were doing. The prostitute is also not allowed to get up and move away from you. If you disobey orders, you may be arrested for “interfering with a public servant in the execution of his or her duties.” If you are caught up in a premises search, you must do exactly as the police say.
Male clients are sometimes taken to the police station as well
Some people believe that clients have nothing to worry about during a premises search, because only the brothel staff risk arrest. However, it does happen that male clients are taken to the police station as well.
During a raid, the police will arrest the brothel manager, the prostitutes, and all other staff. Sometimes, these people will go with the police voluntarily and submit themselves to questioning instead of getting arrested. If the police suspect that the brothel is operating illegally, the male clients who are present during the raid may be arrested as well. It is often enough to voluntarily go with the police and submit to questioning, but an actual arrest is not out of the question.
Male clients are rarely arrested in Japan, but it has happened in Kabukicho, the country’s largest red-light district. Some male clients were arrested during a raid on a brothel. The men were released the same day, but the incident must have caused them quite a bit of psychological damage.
Some male clients who visit a store that is operating in a forbidden location may be unaware that they are visiting an illegal business operation. Such establishments are subject to raiding.
For this reason, it is best to only visit brothels that are listed on sex industry portal sites. These portal sites want to be perceived as trustworthy by their users, so they take care to only list brothels that are operating legally.
What kinds of brothels often have their premises searched?
Some brothels are more likely to have their premises searched than others. Strip clubs in particular are often targets of the police. In these clubs, naked women dance on a stage in front of a live audience. Male customers can sit back and enjoy the show
Strip clubs will host “open shows,” which are performances during which a woman shows her genitals to the audience. They may also host performances during which a member of the audience can get on the stage and have sex with a woman right there. These performances are called “manaita shō,” literally “chopping board shows,” in Japanese.
Having intercourse in public is prohibited in Japan, however, as it is a form of public indecency. This means such shows become the target of a premises search.
Sometimes, men who are found to be taking photos or videos of the show are arrested along with the club’s employees. This is because they are suspected of “conspiracy to commit public indecency.” This is something you must be aware of when visiting a strip club.
It is also important to know that even businesses operating in a perfectly legal manner can be subject to a premises search/raid. Police usually investigate a brothel because it is suspected of illegal activity, but sometimes they also raid legal establishments because they want to send a warning to other brothels in the vicinity. In these cases, male clients who are present during the premises search are usually not arrested or taken in for questioning.
In short, you can have a lot of fun in Japanese brothels, but you also run the risk of getting caught in a police raid. People who are not used to frequenting Japanese brothels should be careful, especially when visiting brothels that are not listed on portal sites or in information magazines.