|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.|
Draconian quest to quash geek-gratifying maids risks revenge of the nerds 2008,03,13
Shukan Post 3/21 By Ryann Connell
Heavy handed cops are on a "maid hunt" in Tokyo's otaku haven of Akihabara, driving women clad in saucy domestic help gear off the streets, according to Shukan Post (3/21).
It's become common for women in maid costumes to put on impromptu street shows in Akihabara's main strip is shut off to cars and turned into a "Pedestrian's Heaven" every Sunday.
But strong-arming crimefighters are shoving the maids off every chance they get and few observers seem to understand why.
"I have no real understanding of what standards they're using to drive the maids off the streets. I could understand if they were dressed in schoolgirls' swimsuits or costumes that flash a lot of skin, but maid outfits are nothing like that," economic analyst and Akihabara fan Takuro Morinaga tells Shukan Post.
"The shows the maids are putting on are no different to people who get dressed up for a festival and prance about in the streets. I think what the cops are doing is cultural obliteration. Akihabara is hallowed ground for anime, something that could well be one of Japan's most important industries nowadays."
Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department makes no bones about going after Akihabara's maids.
"We're asking them to stop performing in accordance with the Road Traffic Law," an MPD spokesman says.
The applicable part of that law states it is forbidden for people to hold events or use roads as settings for filming without permission for reasons of safety and preventing danger.
And there are warnings to that extent posted on Akihabara's streets.
But it's hardly as though the maids doing dances or singing songs seriously pose a threat to public safety.
Journalist Akihiro Otani agrees.
"Police basically hate it when large crowds of people gather together in public. But 'Pedestrians' Heavens' are a 'Heaven' precisely because they create space for people to put on performances. Without those shows, they're nothing more than mere sidewalks," Otani says.
"By cracking down on the maids, it's proof the pen pushers want to show that they control the streets. If this was happening in the West, people would be hurling buckets of paint over the cops. I've got to admit it irks me a bit that the mob from Akihabara just sit back and take it all the time."
Analyst Morinaga says authorities need to come to some sort of compromise.
"Tokyo gives permits to street performers to put on shows and I think one way to solve this problem would be for something similar to be created for the maids in Akihabara," Morinaga tells Shukan Post.
"I'm the managing director of the Nippon Maid Association, so perhaps I should create an official maid qualification with those who pass the test also given permission to put on performances on Akihabara's streets." (By Ryann Connell)
（Mainichi Japan） March 13, 2008