Monday, 2 May 2011

Shakespeare with a twist

Downtown Ueno. Not sure if you have ever imagined Shakespeare in this way, but make of it what you will.

Under the guise of restaurants, health clubs, fashion health (massage parlours), aesthetic salons etc a set menu of services are on offer as well as an ala carte option.

Ayu no Monogatari (Ayu's Story), a Japanese bestseller depicts these murky Tokyo underworld activities. Parents worry about their teenage daughters going to Shibuya, the hub of enjo kosai, compensated dating between older men and school girls who are looking for extra pocket money. Male and female scouts stealthily tout for marketable prey outside the station offering tempting money-making services, the most common being 'modeling'.

This is a 2-3 billion Yen industry, yet the authorities take a curiously laissez-faire approach to the matter. They claim they can do little unless there is violence during procurement.

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