|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 once indomitable life insurance industry is crumbling, putting the insurance saleswomen who serve as its foot soldiers in a quandary.
But just as these women have developed the know-how to survive the rough and tumble world of selling insurance, they also seem to have adapted to the tougher times hitting the business, according to Shukan Gendai (4/14).
It seems, according to the men's weekly, growing numbers of insurance saleswomen are supplementing their commission-based wages by taking on side jobs in the sex business.
"Recently, we've had all these women who look like office workers turn up for interviews.
Ask 'em what they do for work and, sure enough, they'll tell you they're in the insurance business.
But they're good at looking after the customers, and we've taken plenty on," says the operator of a sex shop in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo's Toshima-ku.
Eriko Kato, insurance seller by day, sex worker by night, tells Shukan Gendai why she started to moonlight near guys' moonies.
"I joined my company in 1999 and was stationed in central Tokyo.
We were assigned these incredibly hard sales targets to keep up with the influx of foreign competitors.
Then, last year, my boss called me over and told me the company was raising my target even further.
I was spending a fortune buying gifts to butter up customers, call them, or give them money to bide them out while they waited for a payout.
And all on my own cheap wage!
I was working my butt off and my wage was going down," the 25-year-old says, adding that it wasn't difficult for her to take on the escort service job that can pay her up to 1 million yen a month.
"I chose to become an escort because I couldn't bear the though of working in a sex shop.
I mean, you neverknow whether you're going to meet up with one of your customers.
With this job, I can drive my car over to a hotel, or a home, and do everything with some semblance of privacy."
Kato adds that she's delighted to have a second income she can fall back on just in case things go wrong in the insurance industry.
"We heard this rumor that the company was going to go bankrupt," she says.
"All of a sudden, all our customers started canceling their policies.
I had bundles of people quit on me, too.
Now, nearly all my income comes from the sex business."
Financial concerns were also paramount in the choice of Yuko Hamazaki in taking on her part-time job doing jobs at a sex outlet in Ikebukuro, Shukan Gendai says.
"I graduated from a junior college, got work at a life insurance company, but had never been forced to go out and sell. >I was shifted to the sales department in November last year. Unlike the regular office work, I was on commission.
I didn't know the first thing about how to sell insurance.
My husband also has his wage cut, so things were getting really tight at home.
I decided to go into this line of work," the 30-year-old woman says, adding that her part-time job has given her more confidence to approach her real career with verve.
"I want to make a go of it.
Since starting work in the sex business, I've had a chance to talk to all these different customers, which has given me the ability to talk about a variety of topics.
That works well in my job as an insurance saleswoman. Even my sales have gone up."