Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Nanpa (Girl hunting)

Nampa, nanpa, or girl hunting, is Japan's most visible courtship ritual. Although it also takes place online and via telephone clubs, the most famous form of nampa is "suto-nan" (street nampa). Every weekend, across urban Japan, young men ("nanpashi") hang around busy streets or shopping arcades, trying to pick up ...

Hostess bars

Spuriously descended from geisha tradition, hostess clubs offer a welcome break for the salaryman with time to spare and money to burn. For a price, harassed men can enjoy the company of glamorous young women who are seemingly infatuated with them. The girls pour their drinks, light their cigarettes, flirt ...

Host bars

In Japan’s host bars, suave young studs entertain women with some cash to spend. Considered a modern phenomenon, they actually echo a practice from the Edo era, when wealthy women would sometimes arrange secretive trysts with desirable men, often kabuki actors. In most respects, they are hostess bars with the genders ...

Happening bars

Happening bars (“hapu-baa”), one of the newer fads in Japan’s thriving sex industry, are swingers’ clubs that also cater for single people. Cocooned in unremarkable-looking buildings in Japan’s urban entertainment districts, these are forums for group sex, groping, costume play, spanking, and anything other “happening” that might enter the imaginations ...

Deri-heru (Delivery health)

Delivery health, or “deri heru”, is one of the Japanese sex trade’s finest euphemisms, referring to the massive industry for callgirls. The nubile escort is driven to the customer’s house, or a love hotel, so “delivery” seems appropriate enough, but it’s not clear where “health” comes into it. Maybe it’s ...

Compa parties (Group dating)

Group dating, “compa” or “gokon”, is an interesting solution to the difficulty many Japanese people have in finding a partner. Group dating isn’t uncommon in other countries, but compa is unique for being so ritualised. Generally, a single guy and girl who know each other organise the compa in advance, ...

Bukkake

Bukkake, one of Japan's most famous sexual fetishes, refers to a number of people ejaculating on someone, usually a young woman. This kink has become popular all over the world. However, while a Western porn actress might at least pretend to enjoy all the "attention" she's getting, the Japanese concept ...

Yaoi (Boy-love manga)

Yaoi, aka shonen-ai or BL (Boy Love) manga, are cartoon magazines featuring homosexual relationships. The main characters are usually bishonen ("beautiful boys") - slender, effeminate young men. They often use famous characters from popular anime, manga and computer games, making yaoi similar to "slash fiction" (erotica featuring fictional male characters, i.e. ...

Love hotels

Japan's love hotels, run for amorous couples who want to pay by the hour, are an absolute boon in a country where privacy is rare. In a typical apartment building, rooms might not be divided by anything thicker than cardboard, and walls often seem designed to amplify sound rather than ...

Bishojo games (Dating games)

Although "bishojo games" means "beautiful girl games", these games are not for girls. They revolve around interaction with a number of attractive animated girls, usually with a romantic or sexual focus. This is most popular genre of PC games in Japan, but they are almost unknown in the West, because very ...

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