日本語版はこちらProstitution in Contemporary Japan
Where did my starving sister go?
How dearly I wish to see my mother
I bite my rouged lip in my grief
The dark night wind cries out,
“Who made you this sort of woman?”
-Lyrics from the 1947 song “In the Flow of the Stars” (Hoshi no nagare ni ) by Tone Ichirō (1918–1991) and Shimizu Minoru (1903-1979)
When considering Japan’s nationwide sex industry since the 17th century, the Yoshiwara played a surprisingly small role, and the district’s loss of government approval in 1958 did little to curb prostitution. As the popular ballad quoted above attests, during the postwar Occupation of Japan (1945–1952), women had few opportunities for employment, and when the Japanese Home Ministry established the Recreation and Amusement Association (Tokushu Ian Shisetsu Kyōkai ) in August of 1945, tens of thousands of women were recruited to service the sexual needs of American servicemen at exclusive “comfort facilities” throughout the country.
Despite Japan’s remarkable economic recovery since the occupation era, brothels—known as “soaplands,” “fashion health shops,” “pink salons,” and “image clubs”—continue to thrive throughout the country, and in the 1990s, the topic of young women engaging in prostitution and “compensated dating” (enjo kōsai ) received considerable attention from domestic media.