|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.|
Japan's child cheesecake market is thriving, but Spa! (10/2) says the borderline kiddy porno business is on the verge of belatedly being busted.
Scores, sometimes hundreds, flock daily to a store in Tokyo's Akihabara district that deals exclusively in products featuring models all aged under 15.
Pinky Net, a talent agency that handles mostly underage models, is being swamped by young girls and their mothers looking to get into the business -- despite only taking on new recruits provided they accept working for nothing until the market determines their worth
A fetish for young girls is not an old phenomenon in Japan, with famous photographer Kishin Shinoyama producing top-selling "Lolita" pictures in the 1970s and bubblegum idols booming two decades later, but what's happening with exposure of those in their early teens now is close to, if not already, obscene.
"There's racier exposure, and everything is being marketed on raunchiness.
You've got young girls decked out in G-strings and sucking on bananas as though they were something else," a fan of teen pin-up idols tells Spa!
"Real fans like me are looking for the purity girls this age should have.
But it's the raunchy stuff that sells."
As the under-15 pin-up model market grows and places more emphasis on sex, the models have rapidly been getting younger.
"We absolutely won't use anybody who hasn't reached junior high school yet.
When we scout somebody, we show them a video of the kind of work we want them to do, and don't let them perform without the consent of both them and their parents," another talent agency's spokesman says.
"But there are plenty of DVDs out there featuring elementary school children, and loads of products where they've used pre-schoolersonly 4 or 5 years old.
More important to the market is the age of the model, rather than her name.
Check out the packages.
All the models' ages are in much bigger print than their names."
Despite the roaring trade in child cheesecake, the business unsurprisingly has its critics.
"I'm always hearing about how the cops have got their eyes on a place, or they've questioned such-and-such a cameraman or such-and-such a model.
All this talk is just mere rumor, but it's impossible to deny that people have gone too far.
Most people are actually wondering why the cops haven't cracked down yet," an industry source tells Spa!
"It's only a matter of time before the cops get on to someone."
There are some who already fear the under-15 model market is no longer fit for mass consumption.
Amazon Japan stopped sales of almost 700 items because it feared they could be constituted as child pornography.
Most locals in the business say Amazon Japan only took the steps because it's owned by a U.S. company and Westerners are avid opponents of child pornography.
Nonetheless, there are cracks beginning to appear in the surface, with the managing editor of one magazine charged with breaking the ban on child pornography for printing under-15 material.
He sounds an ominous warning about the continuation of the child cheesecake market and the long arm of the law's response to it.
At the time, there were loads of magazines printing the same kind of stuff as we were.
But the situation is like a game of chicken, where everybody sees how much risk they can take before they go too far," Spa! quotes the managing editor saying upon his arrest.
"Until the law clearly states what can and can't be done, publications are going to keep on trying to see how much they can get away with." (By Ryann Connell)
（Mainichi Japan） September 28, 2007