Japan's propensity towards weird sexual perversions was semi-covered in an earlier post about pornography; but we failed to mention the obsession with hanging out in the company of schoolgirls.

And today is Valentine's Day, so what better way for you lonely people out there to enjoy your day than fantasising about expensive dates with hot, underage Japanese schoolgirls? Hell, you could even call one up and do it!

It seems that what I would call a very large percentage (between 5 and 13%) of highschool aged girls have sold their company to much older men (and according to the same source 75% have been approached about taking part) in the ritual known as compensated dating (wish I got compensated for dating my girlfriend. Ziiing!).

They don't necessarily have sex with them (though many do), but will hang around and laugh at their jokes in exchange for money; somewhat like a hostess bar except much more dangerous for the girl.

What turned out to be a quite nasty film about this goes under the title of Love & Pop, directed by Hideaki Anno (of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame). There's also a decent yet tragically short BBC documentary about the Japanese Sex Scene, cleverly called Sex in Japan, which floats around on the internet.

It seems like these Japanese school-girls' desire for bling and the hi-tech doesn't materialise itself in begging their fathers or getting a part-time job (the latter appears in low-regard), but rather seeking out a more immediately profitable sideline. It does seem to pay very well, too. A simple karaoke trip reportedly pays around 10,000yen for 2-3 hours, while a girl willing to add sex to the deal can expect to get around four times that, according to one source. While 7-11 offers around 700yen an hour...
Be assured, however, that this is far from legal. Along with a mild clampdown on child porn, laws introduced in 1999 sought to punish those paying for sex with under 18s. The exact punishment is hard to pinpoint, however. I even read a second-hand report of a doctor having all serious prosecution waved because he was important to his community. It seems the fine was pretty low anyway - around 40,000 yen* according to several sources.
*Although these figures were accurate for decades past, in the more recent video below you can see a suspect arrested and facing much heavier fines along with jail time for associating with a junior high school student.

The process of finding a willing girl finds it's starting point with a call-centre arrangement (or web site). Here girls can set up an answer-phone (for free) through some shady "make dates here" company, for men to call/text (at expense) and ask for a date. If they like the sound of the guy and the deal, they can call them back and arrange a time and place. How romantic.

After life as a highschool dial-a-date, several girls have confessed to having gone on to be contract lovers for reams of men. The deal seems great for the girls - men pay upwards of 50,000yen a month for a handful of "meetings", and it's not unusual for the women to have half a dozen men on the go at once. Of course, these girls are not much more than pimpless whores; but who are we to judge? Work opportunities as grim-faced hostesses being groped by alcoholic, married salarymen are also open to enjo kousai graduates, I'm sure.
However, this kind of sex-work isn't as frowned upon as it may be in your country. Excellent documentary The Great Happiness Space focuses on male hosts in host bars and their (mostly) sex-worker customers to give a fascinating insight.
Asia Times' compensated dating apologist William Sparrow argues the "victimless" nature of the crime, though I would have to point out that children as young as 12 can be involved in this. Whether or not it should be a legitimate or unpunished practice is too much of a big deal for AccessJ, but if you want to discuss it in the comments below, then please do.


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