Tokyo is becoming the first Japanese city to target the controversial “JK” industry with a new ordinance.
JK, which is short for joshikousei (female high school student) grew out of the schoolgirl pop culture trend of the ’90s and has snowballed into a controversial industry involving schoolgirl workers. The industry centers around “JK businesses,” which offers adult men “personalized customer service” from high school girls.
On the books, the businesses don’t offer sex services. Paying customers might have girl converse with them, go on walks, or perform messages. However, the industry often times have their girls offer ura opu (secret options). Since JK services are offered at a private location (or as close to private as one can get), there is no way for JK business to “regulate” these ura opu.
Critics fear that ura opu, coupled with the industries use of invented jargon, may be leading teenage girls to prostitution and other illegal activities. This worry has caused Tokyo to pass a municipal ordinance prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 to work in the JK business.
The ordinance describes a JK business as meeting these three criteria:
- Offering services in which a worker comes into contact with customers solely of the opposite sex.
- Explicitly stating that services are performed by a minor.
- Have a risk of arousing a customer’s sexual interest towards the minor performing said services.
The ordinance does not target businesses, like hostess bars, in which women over the age of 18 roleplay as school girls. Also, places like maid cafés that hire minors are a bit of a gray area, since they do not exclusively hire minors and are generally in the open.
The ordinance is going to go into effect on July 1, 2017.