Balloons, coffee cups, and… A peach-colored space swollen with the scent of love! The Lost World of Showa-era Love Hotels | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Balloons, coffee cups, and… A peach-colored space swollen with the scent of love! The Lost World of Showa-era Love Hotels

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Hotel ALPA (Toshima-ku, Tokyo)The balloon part of the balloon-like object becomes a circular bed (Note: All photos were taken in ’00) ©Kyoichi Tsuzuki

Part 1: Art Space in a Roundabout Way! Showa-era legacy, an amusement park of eroticism and grotesqueness, “Hibokan In Part 2, we introduced Hibokan, a legacy of the Showa period, which is featured in Kyoichi Tsuzuki’s photo book “Hibokan.

Similar to the Hibokan, Showa-style love hotels are now considered an endangered species. There was a time when rooms that no longer looked like amusement spaces, such as revolving beds, beds shaped like ships and cars, swings, and water slides, were built all over Japan. In his photo book “Love Hotels,” 29 Showa-era hotels with such amazing interiors appear, but only one or so of them may still have their original interiors, according to Tsuzuki.

He says, “The old-fashioned interiors are basically impossible to maintain. For example, if the motor of a revolving bed is broken, there is no place to fix it. Also, the Entertainment Establishments Control Law has been revised, and the legal restrictions have become very strict. Since love hotels are considered adult entertainment businesses, the areas where they are permitted are very limited, such as 3~4 places in Tokyo. The number differs from prefecture to prefecture, but basically, you cannot operate outside of the designated area. If you are outside the area, you can no longer remodel, and it is very difficult to make a room with mirrored walls.

This made it difficult for us to survive. There are various restrictions, such as the need to have a front desk and food and beverage facilities in order to be in the lodging business, so I think that many of today’s hotels are nominally ordinary hotels.

(Mr. Kyoichi Tsuzuki, the same as below) As in the case of the Hibokan, there was no Google map when the interview was conducted in 2000, so there was no information on where the hotels with the kind of interior design that we wanted to photograph were located. They had no choice but to go door to door and visit each one.

He said, “I really feel like I’ve already gone in from one end of the building to the other. Most love hotels have panels on the outside of the building, and some have them inside. If I saw an interesting room, I would ask to have it photographed. I had to search by foot. My assistant and I would wander around the love hotel district. But when we asked to shoot, most of the hotel owners said yes. I guess they had confidence in what they had elaborately created.

There were also difficulties in photographing the rooms.

For example, the rotating beds not only rotate, but the ceiling and walls are basically all mirrored. The fun part was to see ourselves dressed in our most outrageous outfits as we rotated around. In other words, the bed was made in such a way that we are always reflected in it.

So it was very difficult to make sure we didn’t get caught in the shot. We used a large-format camera, so we had to make a black cloth that was more than two meters square and stand it up on a stand, then drill a hole in the middle so that only the lens was showing.

The rooms in this book are filled with extravagant and mysterious attractions, ranging from a room with a balloon as a bed, a bed that resembles a houseboat (which used to float on water), coffee cups, and a rock bath that can hold seven to eight people. These attractions, which can no longer be seen today, are truly a legacy of the Showa period. Perhaps it is “COOL JAPAN” in the way it transforms sex into an attraction, such as a hidden treasure museum or a Showa-era love hotel. However, Mr. Tsuzuki says that it is a waste to simply love these things as “retro.

Nowadays they are ‘retro,’ but people who were 20 years old at the time were amazed at and enjoyed rotating beds, for example, as something cutting-edge. So I think it would be even more interesting if people could have a similar experience in Reiwa at a place that is on the cutting edge today.

Then, they might have a sense of familiarity with the kind of places their parents used to enjoy back then. So, not all is lost. The spirit remains even if the place is not there. I think it’s fun for us to find those kinds of pleasures for ourselves.”

The addition of the new section at the end of the book in this updated edition is said to reflect Mr. Tsuzuki’s wish. We hope you will enjoy this small part of the nostalgic yet new world of Showa-era eroticism.

Longchamp” (Miyakojima-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture) From the second floor where the beds are located, one can slide down to the pool on the first floor by a water slide. According to Mr. Tsuzuki, there are many more cozy love hotels in Kansai ©Kyoichi Tsuzuki
Geihinkan” (Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture) used to have a boat floating in a pool filled with water and carp swimming in it ©Kyoichi Tsuzuki
Cologne II” (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo) All rooms have black light art. Room 401 was completed in 10 days by craftsmen ©Kyoichi Tsuzuki
SPACY” (Kohoku-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture): The color of the light can be controlled by the panel by the bedside.
Hotel the Rich” (Miyakojima-ku, Osaka City, Osaka): A room with fancy lights and a revolving bed named “Club Beat”.
PIAA” (Higashiyodogawa-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture) The coffee cups are powered by the rotating bed. The coffee cups are powered by the rotating bed, but at the time of the interview, the bed was out of order and only manually operated.
P&A Plaza” (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo) is a luxurious rock bath that can accommodate eight people. It was often used as a party room.
Kyoichi Tsuzuki, “Love Hotel” (Seigensha, 2023)
  • Profile Kyoichi Tsuzuki

    From 1989 to 1992, Kyoichi Tsuzuki published "Art Random," a 102-volume collection of contemporary art that comprehensively covered the trends of world contemporary art in the 1980s. Since then, he has continued to write and edit books in the fields of contemporary art, architecture, photography, and design.

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