Corona Increases Sales of a Busted Happening Bar | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Corona Increases Sales of a Busted Happening Bar

A bar that continued to operate even under a state of emergency declaration and was said to be "one of the largest in Japan" was ...

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Sleeping Beauty was discovered. It was located in the love hotel district of Dogenzaka. The price was several thousand yen higher than other similar establishments in Tokyo, but it was always popular because female customers returning from clubs in the area would come in at first glance. It was synonymous with hap-bar in Tokyo, claiming to be one of the biggest in Japan. Rumors often circulate that celebrities visited the club, such as Gravure idol A was here the other day, and Musician B, who was arrested for methamphetamine, is a regular customer.

On May 8, the Security Division of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Community Safety Department and the Shibuya Police Department uncovered a happening bar in Shibuya called Sleeping Beauty. Ten people were arrested, including the manager and staff. The arrests were for providing a room in the bar and aiding and abetting a man and a woman in committing indecent acts.

 The arrests were made against the store’s owner, a 40-year-old man, and nine male and female clerks between the ages of 21 and 42. That and a man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s who were engaged in sex acts inside the store were also arrested on charges of public obscenity but have already been released. Six of the ten shopkeepers have admitted to the charges, but the other four have denied them.


For example, one of those arrested was a 24-year-old female clerk, who stated the following in response to police questioning.

 I was only asked by the manager to make drinks for customers on the basement floor, so I was not involved in any crime and have no knowledge of it.

This, however, is total sophistry. The restaurant is a long-established business that opened about 15 years ago and was known as “SB” among the cognoscenti. Even after the Corona disaster, it had always provided a place for sexual intercourse for the men and women who came to the store.

The male owner of the business is about to be sent to prison for his arrest. He is said to deny the charges.The admission fee to SB is 7,000 yen for men and 2,000 yen for women. Admission is free for women, but about 8,000 yen to 17,000 yen for men, depending on the time spent. Discounts are available for couple customers. The store is a building with three floors above ground and one below, with a playroom on the third floor. The playroom had a magic mirror that allowed people to look into the room from outside. One of the regular customers mentioned above said,

“Even with the corona disaster. it was always open, and alcohol was served even during a declared state of emergency. However, as one might expect, the Corona disaster caused the surrounding clubs to close and the number of customers to drop a bit, so the playroom on the third floor was not being used much anymore. Instead, more and more people were having sex at the bar counters and sofas on the second floor and basement level. My impression is that things have become more extreme since the Corona disaster.”


The restaurant has had sales of about 545 million yen since October 2008 alone. Although masks were sometimes required in the store, it was as if no infection control measures were in place, as nearly nude men and women walked around the store in various places. There was a reason why customers were willing to risk infection to come to the store.

“The motto among lovers was, ‘SB is absolutely safe’. The reason is that when you become a member, you are asked to show a photo ID and a health insurance card, which is the secret. Even if a police officer tries to go undercover, he will be exposed because the health insurance card has the legal number of the Police Mutual Aid Association on it. I don’t know if it was for an undercover operation or simply as a customer, but I remember a clerk telling me how many times he had spotted a police officer coming into the store this way.”

This system was introduced in October 2005, when a happening bar in Ueno called “My Harmonica” was busted. On the day of the incident, three men and a woman were having sex in the bar when a man in the corner of the bar started filming the scene with a cell phone camera. The man was an undercover police officer, and dozens of investigators entered the store shortly thereafter.

At the entrance to Sleeping Beauty when you came to the store, you had to press the intercom before being guided in.After this incident, SB began asking customers to show their health insurance cards to prevent undercover investigations. In this way, the store continued to provide the two contradictory values that enthusiasts demanded in the Corona Disaster: extreme service and safety. This is why so many customers were attracted to the shop. 

 “The police, however, were not just sitting on their hands. It seems that the police had been targeting the store for some time, and at one point at the end of last year, they were on the verge of exposing it. The police had been slowly building up evidence, and the information they received led to the exposé,” said a former reporter.

However, the hap-bar is always exposed, and both the store and its customers are already aware of this, a former regular customer said.

 In response to the SB’s revelations, some of Tokyo’s hap-bars have begun to advertise that their playrooms are safe because they have a system that does not allow peeping from the outside. They are already attracting customers.

It seems that even if the largest class in Japan stores disappear, the game will never end.

  • Photo by Shinji Hasuo

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