There is an interesting quote by a customer of a sex club in Japan in Pink Box by photographer Joan Sinclair. It says” Men are universally perverted, it`s just in Japan we decided to do something about it.”
Did they ever! I had a walk around Akihabara the other Sunday. It was my first time there on a Sunday and the experience was very different to the other times I`d been there. Aki as it is affectionately known is famous as Japan`s `electric town` where any and all electronics items can be bought. But it is also the centre of Otaku culture in Japan. Otaku are those people who become obsessive about a particular hobby to the exclusion of all other things. Mostly men they are particularly enamoured of manga comics, fantasy video games and teenage girl idol groups. There is a huge industry catering to the needs of this section of the population which is worth, by some accounts, upwards of two billion Pounds. Not all of it is harmless fun however: maid cafes may serve coffee and cake to paunchy shy guys in flannel shirts at inflated prices just to inflate an ego or two but Japan`s second largest and the world`s oldest industry is also making inroads into the area.
Prostitution is technically illegal in Japan but that doesn`t seem to stop it flourishing. Because basically anything goes for the frustrated Japanese male and anything except actual intercoarse is not illegal. So want your cake served on a maid rather than by one – that`s okay or if taking a few photographs of a cartoon character`s underwear does it for you, as had been happening in the photograph above, that`s okay too Akihabara is the place you can do these things quite freely and unashamedly. Create a crowd that blocks other people on the street however and that is not allowed, which appeared to be the only reason the police were moving these “girls” on.
Under the masks were probably junior high school or high school students. Such work could be a Saturday job for her and surely such sexual exploitation shouldn`t be allowed. I saw another girl in school uniform guiding a group of extremely worrisome men around. They all had cameras, they were all hanging on her every word as she flirted with phallic objects in shops. Yet she must have only been fifteen and was very much in control and that is not healthy either. For both parties.
Strange place, Akihabara quite unlike the rest of Japan.