Rising Popularity of Tobita Shinchi and it’s Female Workers Coping with Risks and Privacy Threats | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Rising Popularity of Tobita Shinchi and it’s Female Workers Coping with Risks and Privacy Threats

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A scene from Tobita Shinchi

Tobita Shinchi is one of Japan’s largest entertainment areas that still remains in Osaka. Even today, many customers visit Tobita Shinchi.


Now, a major change is taking place in Tobita Shinchi. The two major changes that are occurring right now are the transformation into a tourist destination due to the spread of SNS and the change in the way of working due to the COVID-19 crisis.

As a result of the coverage of Tobita Shinchi on SNS by many YouTubers and influencers, the area has become a tourist spot for young people, and the number of people who do not play but only take pictures or try to steal photos has increased, making it difficult for stores to deal with them.

In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, there is no end to the number of cases of direct pulls, in which people deal directly with customers without going through the store.

Ms. K, 27, who worked in Tobita Shinchi for about three years, spoke to us about the reality of Tobita-shinchi, which is undergoing such major changes, based on his own experience.

“I started working at Tobita Shinchi when I was 24 years old. I was introduced to the area by an acquaintance who was a scout, and I started working on Seishun Dori.”

Tobita Shinchi has streets called Seishun Dori, Main Dori, Yokai Dori, and Nenkin Dori, and the places where one can work are roughly determined according to age. Generally, people in their early 20s work on Seishun Dori, people in their late 20s work on Main Dori, people in their 30s work on Yokai Dori, and people in their 40s and older work on Nenkin Dori.

Ms. K worked on Seishun Dori; she thought that since she was 24 years old, she would be working on Main Dori, but since she looked younger than his actual age, she ended up working on Seishun Dori.

The system in Tobita Shinchi is to sit in a position visible from outside the store, wave to the customers and move with them to a room upstairs. The fee depends on the store, but it is around 20,000 yen for 30 minutes.

The split is half for the woman actually working, half for the store, and 1,000 yen for the lady who is calling out for the customers.

“Before Corona, I would often make sales calls to customers in the waiting room at the back of the store, because if not a single customer came in, I would not get paid. Besides, if the lady at the reception desk didn’t like me, she wouldn’t give me any customers, so I had to make sure I was in a good mood.”


Such a way of working changed drastically with the Corona epidemic. Even after the Corona business restrictions were lifted and the business resumed, the number of customers who had left did not immediately return. The restaurants, which found it difficult to pay her wages, suggested that she do a direct pull, also known as a back pull. Jikabiki is also called backdoor pulls, and refers to a situation in which a woman communicates directly with a customer and meets him or her outside of the store, without going through the store.

Direct pulls are considered illegal in the industry because the store loses its share of the customer’s money, and because the customer and the woman are alone, so it is difficult to know what will happen. However, the restaurant had no choice but to make this suggestion since there were no customers coming in. What awaited Ms. K, who had no choice but to start direct sales in order to make ends meet, was a litany of troubles.

“I was a victim once myself,” she said. When I was working at the store, the staff would help me out if I had any problems, but in direct labor, I had to handle things on my own. The other guy choked me, saying it was part of the play. I couldn’t stand this, so I kicked the other guy and ran away.”

They are also more likely to become victims of voyeurism and stalking. Some of her colleagues have even had to quit their jobs because their videos and photos were uploaded to social networking sites, and even the store where they worked was identified.

One of her colleagues quit her job. “I started to check Bakusai (an Internet bulletin board) and SNS more closely. Before Corona, I would only check them occasionally, but since the outbreak of Corona, I’ve been checking them every working day. But I’m really afraid that if I’m exposed, I’ll have to report the person I think is our customer which could result in their ban.”

The only way to find out who is posting what kind of information is to check on an individual basis. The public is cold, and if a woman is involved in an incident, she is almost responsible for her own actions.

While some women successfully advertise themselves on social networking sites, others have their personal information leaked. The day may not be far off when Japan’s entertainment districts will change in order to prevent damage to women.

Actual Tobita Shinchi
Signboard with local flavor
A takoyaki restaurant in Tobita
Lanterns often seen in Tobita-shinchi

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