Embodying Japan: Cultures of Sport, Beauty, and Medicine 2017

Prostitution Hypocrisy

Prostitution is alive and well in Japan today despite the anti-prostitution law established during the American occupation of World War II. On the face of things, the law still exits which means politicians and elites of Japan can still boast that their country is clean from the scourge of sex-workers. But in everyday life, everyone knows this is a complete front that has no bearing on reality. Men are still satisfied because they can easily and cheaply access various forms of prostitution, often times popping in for a quick relief during the middle of their work day. In fact, “While exact numbers are not available, estimates indicate that as many as 300,000 women work in the prostitution industry nationwide” (Morrison). That is a staggering number of sex workers for a country with an anti-prostitution law.

As Lauren’s page about Pan-pan girls indicates, the Japanese arranged girls to be sex workers serving the American soldiers during the occupation. So there never was a real intention to do away with sex work. That is not surprising when both camps were strongly patriarchal regimes. What the elimination of legal prostitution did was create a space of hypocrisy in which all the privileged and all men could be satisfied.

For a better look at Pan-pan girls:
Pan-pan Girls

Morrison, Andrew D. "Teen prostitution in Japan: regulation of telephone clubs." Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Mar. 1998, pp. 457-497. LegalTrac, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=LT&sw=w&u=unc_main&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA20862669&sid=summon&asid=a5ec6d9b8db26bd13526e03c5ec98105. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

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