|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.|
Housewives lather up to erotic herbal soap 2005,02,02
Shukan Post 2/11 By Ryann Connell
Thousands of Japanese OLs and housewives are stampeding to buy a suggestively shaped bar of soap said to improve their sex lives, according to Shukan Post (2/11).
Jamu Herbal Stick, the herbal soap originating from Indonesia, is selling like wildfire despite its comparatively hefty price of 4,800 yen a bar, apparently because its effects on women's lustier liaisons are legendary.
"We've been importing Jamu Herbal Sticks from Indonesia and selling them over the Internet since 2003. Sales have been particularly good recently, shifting over 1,500 cakes a month," a spokesman for Tokyo-based Natural Plants, one of many Jamu Herbal Stick importers, tells Shukan Post.
"This soap was created from Jamu, a traditional Indonesian folk remedy that uses herbs. In Indonesia, they've passed on for generations the belief that Jamu eliminates the odor from female genitals, as well as makes the vaginal muscles tighter. It's said that Indonesian princesses of olden times used to use it when they wanted to get royalty to fall in love with them."
Jamu Herbal Sticks are, considering their intended use, conveniently shaped like a 12-centimeter long cigar, though Japan's top-selling weekly magazine says the resemblance is to a vibrator.
The stick is supposed to be held firmly against the woman's nether regions for at least 15 seconds, which reportedly gives the herbs enough time to blend into the body and tone up the muscles.
Incidentally, Jamu Herbal Sticks are also reportedly effective against irritable bowels, as well as improve circulation.
Japanese women who've used the saucy soap are more than happy with its effects.
"I used some without telling my hubby and even I was shocked by the wonderful change it brought about in me," a 34-year-old housewife tells Shukan Post.
"Thanks to the soap, just recently it's been like we've become honeymooners all over again."
Even younger women are happier, as a 21-year-old OL attests.
"Frankly speaking, sex with my boyfriend had been a little unsatisfying. But, after I started using this soap, the pleasure I got was raised to a new level," she says.
"I feel closer to my boyfriend than ever before now and that's really satisfying."
Experts, however, are not as convinced.
"In Indonesia, jamu is used in conjunction with a variety of other herbs to concoct all manner of potions and balms. It has been created through knowledge built up over the long history of the Javanese people. It's still common to see jamu stores all over the place in Indonesian towns," Prof. TakahiroShibuya of Fukuyama University tells Shukan Post.
"I do, however, have my doubts about whether it works on women the way some people say it does."
February 1, 2005