Hey, you wanna be famous?

Hey, you wanna be famous?

While I did not hear the conversation, I imagine that it probably started with the guy in the suit saying something like "Hey, you wanna make a lot of money and be famous?"

Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve seen this in the Tenjin district of Fukuoka.  Once before I was sitting outside enjoying my green tea fraappuccino from Starbucks when I saw one of these guys hastily following a girl down the street, trying to convince her of something.  I shot this particular photo in nearly the same place while wandering around with one of my vintage cameras.

The girls are normal young women who come to Tenjin to shop in the many fashionable stores and the men in suites are low-level Yakuza who work for the myriad of hostess bars and sexual service clubs of the nearby Nakasu-Kawabata district.

Japan has an ENORMOUS sex for sale industry.  In Japan "prostitution" is illegal, but it is ONLY legally defined as male-female vaginal sex.  Japan is also a country where women are less equal to men than my home country of the United States.  These, probably along with other factors (I’m not a sociologist), have allowed the sex industry to thrive.  There are many "clubs" with various colloquial terms such as "soaplands", "pink salons", and "health clubs", where various sexual services are rendered for a price.  There are also many hostess bars where beat-down salary men can drink and be doted over by young girl attendants working there.  A photographer named Joan Sinclair produced a documentary photo album entitled "Pink Box:  Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs" of these places which she was amazingly granted access to.  If you Google for the title as I listed it, you can easily find Joan Sinclair’s web site dedicated to the book.  The site contains nudity and as such I don’t want to link directly to it as I keep my own site family and work-safe.

I somehow suspect that no matter how nice of a suite the scout wears or what he says, it is not a pleasant life for any girl who gets drawn into it.

Photo taken with my vintage 1950’s Ricohflex TLR

3 thoughts on “Hey, you wanna be famous?

  1. hey Will,
    great photo! im no expert in photography, but it seems like this should be on display in some museum or studio!!
    also, an interesting discussion. i’m not sure if i understood you correctly, but on your comment about women in united states and women in japan, it seems that you’re argument is that women have more rights in the states than japan. if so, i was wondering if you could elaborate.

  2. Great picture but he could be a regular guy just doing a little 「ナンパ」。I’ve seen plenty of them in Tokyo out looking for cute, young girls. I’ve even met guys that wanted to enlist me to help them. They thought they could find more woman with a “handsome foreigner” helping them, or so they said.

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