Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Deri-heru (Delivery health)

Delivery healthDelivery 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 something to do with the exercise. Regardless, “health” is an English loanword commonly used in Japan’s mizu-shoubai (“water trade”) to refer to sexual pleasure.

The industry, which has been officially recognised since 1999, has estimated to take in almost 500 billion yen a year, nearly a third of the value of Japan’s whole sex industry. According to a police report in 2001, there are more deri heru businesses in Japan than branches of McDonalds (of which there almost 4,000 at the time).


The law prevents these companies from offering “full sex”. However, the definition of this is very narrow, and businesses are still able to provide oral sex, masturbation, and even anal sex for money. Even though straight sex is formally barred, there seems to be nothing the police can do once the customer and his girl are behind closed doors.

Even when they are operating illegally, the remote nature of delivery health protects the businesses from prosecution. Japanese vice laws are full of grey areas, and focus on punishing the vendor, not the customer or the prostitute. Not being tied to a specific location allows deri heru companies to avoid police interruption. Unfortunately, this anonymity also companies to commit more sinister indiscretions – delivery health services are known to employ more underage girls than Japan’s other sex establishments.

Pinku chirashi

Masses of fliers for these companies (“pinku chirashi”) clog up phoneboxes and apartment letterboxes throughout urban Japan. The front of the leaflets feature salacious photography of varying pornographic strengths, details of how much a visit costs, and a list of cryptically-titled services offered. This list might include himitsu play (secret play), which is how pink chirashi refer to straight sex without attracting the attention of the police. There might also be a list of “types” of girls available, catering to every preference – from bored housewife to hard-up college student to attention-starved OL (office lady). The back of the fliers are for recruitment – with information for women who are considering selling their bodies.

Cheap and discreet

The boom in deri heru has come at the same time as a slump in the rest of the sex industry. These services are competitive because they are cheaper to provide, with lower startup costs and overheads. A deri heru session might cost as little as 10,000 yen, while an evening in a soapland typically costs five times as much. Many customers find deri heru offers more convenience and less embarrassment than having to cruise around the nearest red light district. The businesses have also benefited partly from Japan’s economic problems, with more women than ever finding themselves drawn into prostitution. More than 150,000 women are estimated to work as deri heru escorts.

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10 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. I’ve been collecting pink chirashi ads for ten years. You can see many recent prostitute advertising flyers from Tokyo, scanned with my added English translation. Prices and minutes of sex specified. Sexual acts listed too.

  2. Anonymous

    hey mark, youve been collecting those flyers? and scanning them? and translating them? and then posting them on your blog? WOW! you are a tool. let me guess…american, late thirtys, redneck past, pre-2000 metallica fan? yes? hey mark! living in japan doesnt make you any less of a tool. it just makes it easer to be one. enjoy that delivery health!

  3. Jack

    There’s no dick like an “Anonymous” dick

  4. I think you have enjoyed my website. Thank you. By the way,regarding your comment, the first word in sentences is capitalized. We don’t use capital letters for the whole word (e.g WOW). The first letter of a country name is capitalized too. It’s fortunate my yenx website has pictures, because you are obviously too stupid to read and write.

    (signed) Mark “the Tool”.

  5. Anne

    This is great! Thanks for sharing! They’re quite hilarious to see and all the more hilarious with the translations! haha~~

  6. John

    Is true that pornstar Maria Ozawa is now offering Deri Heru – Delivery Health Services – for a several thousand $? I read this on another website.


    I don’t understand why the bigger porn companies don’t just offer her several million to go onto their books and make proper porn movies in Europe and USA? She is much better looking and sexy than anything in either of those continents.

  7. Elf

    Now THIS is what I’ve been looking for! Deri-heru! Watch Out Japan! Your ladies will enjoy my generousity…hahahahahahaha.

    Now if I can only get to Japan in the first place…

  8. I am living in Tokyo and doing Deri-feru” business for forigner!
    We will guide and support our foreigner customer by using English and others language (as we can) as a services.

    But the companion may not speak well or totally cannot speak in English.

    We are sincerity to provided and satisfaction your needs by cross over the language wall.

    If you looking for information, please feel free to visit our website.

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