Practically every Japanese has heard about Kabukicho, one of the biggest red-light districts in Tokyo.
If you’d like to visit there, just tell a taxi driver “kabukicho.” That’s it.
When you tell your friend, “I went to Kabukicho last night,” she or he will ask you, “what did you do for fun?” Few Japanese people think it’s a place to work. Men who visited there must have been seeking adult pleasure.
I was brought up in Niigata Prefecture, along the Sea of Japan. It’s a good distance from Tokyo.
Still, I knew what the district was. I was dreaming of stopping by there if I had a chance to visit Tokyo. For a boy living in a quiet rural area with little entertainment, a glittering forest of neon seen on TV looked really attractive.
The town seems to be famous to some extent in other countries. It’s not uncommon to find Chinese or Korean men lead by a tour guide there.
It has several other names, “the town that never sleeps,” “a labyrinth of desire,” “the biggest nightlife district in Asia,” or “a new settlement of foreign laborers.”
No other red-light districts have more names. I believe it shows the area has attracted attention from so many people. It has intense appeal that’s hard to describe.
There are some movies relating to it. My favorite one is “Sleepless Town.” I watched it again and again.
It’s shot in Kabukicho for real. The movie gives you a general view of what the area is.
Tokyo has several red-light districts, each of which has characteristics.
I think the most appropriate word for the sleepless town would be “anything goes.” You’ve got anything there, both legal and illegal.
You can easily get drugs there. Prostitution is always rampant. Both of them are illegal in Japan. News related to Yakuza or organized crime groups there don’t surprise us at all.
One of my co-workers told me this. He had an outgoing personality. He readily made friends with anyone.
He was strolling around Kabukicho at night. A man approached and spoke to him. He decided to get some information from the guy, exchanging jokes.
After a while, the pimp suggested sex with a girl he knows.
The girl wasn’t a sex worker but worked at kyaba-kura. It’s a place to have fun with women, but no sexual action. They won’t let you touch themselves. You just sit down and have a chat and alcohol drinks together.
Does your country have the same kind of service?
There are some exclusive kyaba-kura establishments near Kabukicho. Naturally, all of the girls working there are so attractive.
The pimp offered sex with one of the stunning girls there. He fleeced him for 100,000 yen for one night. Somehow, my co-worker decided to get it. He told me, “I fucked her many times until the morning came.”
A short time later, he quit. “It’s so silly to stick to this job. I can’t do it any more, ” said he.
Another of my co-workers took part in fraud in Kabukicho.
He didn’t intend to help a fraudulent club. He just applied for a job. And the workplace happened to commit a wrongdoing on a daily basis.
”I wanted to quit, but I was broke. I had no choice to continue,” he told me.
First, they spoke to a man who looked like an average corporate employee by telling him, “We’re now giving a huge discount. Would you like to have some drinks?” And they took him to their pub and made him drunk. After creating a fact that he had eaten and drunk a lot, they charged an excessive payment.
It thought no normal human falls for such a stupid con.
However, once they threatened to call their family or workplace, some of the victims did pay the money to avoid damaging their public image. Maybe they were losing their reasoning because of alcohol.
He told me, “We took 1,200,000 yen at most in one night.” I don’t think it’s something to brag about.
Authorities enacted a new ordinance last year. It bans street solicitation in Shinjuku Ward, which includes Kabukicho. It’s not a low but ordinance. Breaking it basically doesn’t result in arrest.
Is it working now?
I looked into some media on the Internet to check it out. All the articles I read say it’s not.
On the other hand, but there is a law which prohibits street solicitors from walking abreast of people for more than five steps. It does have some effect.
I myself have experienced many times. It’s difficult to stay away from solicitation there, particularly at night. Even foreigners would be spoken to by walking around idly for a while.
I’ve never talked back to any pimps there. I have in other areas, but not there. I’m sure that I would find myself involved in rip-off or wrongdoing almost certainly, because it’s an anything-goes town.
Still, the atmosphere surrounding the sleepless town has enormous appeal. I feel the vitality of people surviving there in a positive and negative way.
Some say districts like Kabukicho should be cleared out immediately.
If the authorities clamped down the town completely, people there would just move to different places and do the same things.
I believe it’s an necessary evil.