|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.|
Bloomer seller, or burusera, shops that popped up across Japanese cities in the '90s taught schoolgirls that they could make money selling their soiled panties or school uniforms, according to Spa! (4/8).
Once schoolgirls realized that sex sells, it didn't take many long to fall into the trap of selling themselves, sparking the mid-decade boom in enjo kosai, a euphemism for prostitution that literally translates as "compensated dating."
From there, the Internet provided schoolgirls with online sites and the anonymity they needed to safely continue their lascivious pursuits for cash, making some wonder whether schoolgirl prostitution is a Japanese ailment or part of the culture.
Over the coming few days, we'll look at how Spa! has seen the decade of decadence where schoolgirls turned from demure, bobby-soxed innocents to insatiable sex workers contributing by some estimates as much as 65.3 billion yen to Japan's underground economy.
Mayuko Horita, now a 28-year-old employee of a major apparel maker, was one of the first schoolgirls to get into the panty selling scene in the early '90s.
"At the time, the papers and TV were filled with stories about burusera.
It must have been about the summer of '92, when I was in my second year of high school.
A classmate asked me if I was interested in selling my panties.
I didn't hesitate, nor did I see anything wrong with it.
In fact, I was a little bit peeved that I hadn't found out earlier about such an easy way to make money.
The shop was set up in an apartment in a Tokyo condominium.
It was really sleazy," Horita tells Spa! adding that market rates at the time were about 100,000 for a complete uniform from a top private high school and around 1,000 yen for a pair of dirty undies.
"It was really unproductive wearing the same pair of panties around for two or three days, so some of the girls taught me that I should coat several pairs of panties with yogurt and dry them out with a hair dryer so it looked like they were vaginal discharges," Horita says.
Social reporter Yoshiki Fujii was well versed in the ejaculation industry of the time.
"Burusera shops had actually been around for about 10 years before the media started taking an interest in them in around 1992, thanks to places like Miki in Takadanobaba, which were suddenly attracting schoolgirls.
But rather than panties or uniforms, the shops made their big money getting schoolgirls to appear in dirty videos," he tells Spa!
Horita says she was approached by a burusera shop owner to appear in a stick flick.
"My friend starred in one.
It was 50,000 yen if you masturbated, and double that for doing oral.
I wasn't hungry enough for cash that I'd go that far.
I only let my photo be used to sell my dirty knickers," she says.
By 1993, the burusera boom was on the way out.
Police started arresting burusera store operators and sellers of the videos in which schoolgirls appeared.
Over 100 schoolgirls were taken into protective custody.
Action couldn't be taken under the Child Welfare Law as it was set up at the time, so offenders were arrested for breaking laws related to the sale of secondhand goods.
With the demise of the burusera, date clubs such as Pudding and Julianas Shinjuku which were frequented by yakuza and other seedy types popped up briefly and proved popular with schoolgirls descending further into the netherworld through the sale of their nether regions.
But police soon launched a crackdown and the clubs were shuttered.
"Thinking back now, it was great fun to be able to use being a schoolgirl as a type of sellable brand name," one-time panty seller Horita tells Spa!
"I didn't actually make much money out of selling my panties.
I have no regrets, but I do think now that I was such a kid when I was doing that."
As the decade moved into its middle years, attitudes began to change. Guys who had once been content to shell out cash to buy schoolgirls' panties would start wanting to get into them.
(Today's story is the first of three about schoolgirl prostitution in Japan. The remaining stories will run on Thursday and Friday.)