|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Schoolgirl entrepreneurs sell more than used clothes
Shukan Bunshun 5/2 By Geoff Botting
The message on the reporter's voice mail is from Yuki, a 17-year-old evidently blessed with a razor-sharp business sense:
“My used panties cost 3,000 yen a pair.
A pair of gym shorts are 4,000 yen and a school-issue swimsuit is 5,000 yen.
For a pair of stockings, the price is 1,000 yen.
And a summer uniform, consisting of two blouses, a skirt and socks is priced at 20,000yen.”
Yuki is one of many teen-age girls who have signed up to use voice mail services, notes Shukan Bunshun.
And an alarming number of them, suspects our reporter, are using the services to sell not just their used undergarments, but their bodies as well.
The article is the first in a series that Shukan Bunshun is devoting to “the shocking lives of junior and senior high-school girls.”
The theme of the inaugural story is voice mail, a kind of Internet of telephone answering machines.
As for Yuki and others like her, the system does a nifty job of matching their lust for easy money with some older men's lust for teen-age girls, according Shukan Bunshun.
Our incognito reporter, with the aim of getting a taste of some voice mail action, as well as learning about the “naked truth” behind the teen-age girls who subscribe to it, begins his research by perusing ads from a stack of pornographic magazines.
After receiving his own “mail box,” which is accessed by a secret code, he makes the vocal acquaintance of Yuki, and the two agree to meet in Tokyo's Shibuya district, “the Mecca of school-girls.”
To our reporter's surprise, the girl appears to be rather ordinary teen-ager with pigtails and an L.L.Bean knapsack slung over a shoulder.
Not quite the type, he thinks, who would peddle her own gym shorts in public.
A subsequent chat in a nearby coffee shop reveals she is attending a strict school with a reputation for sending its students to good universities.
And money is something she can't afford to worry about.
Hawking unwashed parts of her school uniform is a recent endeavor, she says.
Before that came a stint last summer as a phone “companion.”
“I'm not the type of person who likes going outdoors, so I was able to work at home,” says Yuki.
Each hour of friendly talk with male callers paid her 1,800 an hour, and in a month she was bagging around 50,000 yen.
But eventually, she became exasperated by “weird” customers.
Then, on her voice mail man's voice suggested a bout of enjo kosai - literally meaning “assisted companionship” but really meaning prostitution.
One trick would pay her at least as much in a day as she was making in a month working the chat line.
Yuki says she had four customers in all, and the money went toward a personal computer and into her bank account.
Her first customer was a 42-year-old who worked in television.She liked him, but despised the three others.
These days she has forsaken “assisting” in companionship for the school uniform market.
Not that business is good, however.
“Right now I'm getting many people calling back,” she says. “It's a lot less productive than my job before.”(GB)