Every night, 20 to 30 women stand around Okubo Park in Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Japan’s largest downtown area. They are “tachinbo,” women who negotiate with men walking the streets for the purpose of prostitution.
On April 27, the Metropolitan Police Department’s Security Division arrested A, a host club employee in her 20s, on suspicion of violating the Anti-Prostitution Law for instructing female customers to engage in “tachinbo,” and A admitted to the crime, “I seduced her to increase sales and the number of appointments. This is the first time in 60 years that a prostitution ring has been caught for teaching prostitution.
The case came to light on April 10, when a female customer B was caught red-handed near Okubo Park on suspicion of prostitution, B has been standing around Okubo Park almost every day since February of this year, sometimes for as long as eight hours at a time, and has been playing with four to five men.
A was working at a host club in Kabukicho under the name of ‘Morinokuma-san,’ and B started going to the host club where A was working this year, and it is said that B always had a bill of about 200,000 yen.
Tachimbo is the mainstream.
The exchange on SNS between A and B, which was disclosed by the police, was to the following effect.
A 〈If you are having trouble making a living, try doing stand-up housebreaking. If you earn enough money, you can meet at the store and pay back the bill.
B〈Do I just go to a bachimbo?
A〈There is a mainstream of stand-up bums here (in Kabukicho). If you go to Okubo Park, there will be a line of women lined up, so just pretend you’re meeting someone and stand there with them.
The Metropolitan Police Department is concerned about the problem of “stand-up” for the purpose of prostitution in the Okubo Park area.’ From 2006 to last year, 240 ”stand-ups” were uncovered. More than 80% of them (201) were caught near Okubo Park. In the last year, there were 51. This year, through April, there have been 18, an increase over the previous year.
The women are known on the Internet as “koiken joshi,” or “dating girls,” because they “stand around” the park. Most are young women in their 20s or younger, and some are underage teenage girls. The market price is 15,000 to 20,000 yen. Once negotiations are concluded, the girls will engage in indecent acts at a hotel in Kabukicho.
The purpose of prostitution is mostly to pay for host clubs like B and to make money for male underground idols. Some women have lost their jobs due to the new coronavirus and are having trouble making ends meet. Many of the customers are middle-aged men in their 30s or older. Since there is no penalty under the Anti-Prostitution Law except when the partner is a girl under the age of 18, there are many cases where they talk to women with an easy mind. Some of them even take videos and distribute the video of the ‘standing park.
Later, A was released. The police have long been involved in the detection of “standing parks,” but in the future they will also focus their efforts on cracking down on men like A., who are tempted into prostitution.
PHOTO： Shinji Hasuo