Category Archives: SOCIETY

Two men charged for having sex at a public bathhouse in Tokyo

Manager has had enough of people using the sento for casual hookups.

In Japan, public bathhouses, known as “sento“, are used by people of all ages, from very young children, accompanied by a parent, to the elderly. While some people simply like the ease and convenience of using a public bathhouse, which can save on water bills and cleaning at home, others like to visit the sento for the purported health benefits of their waters, which are sometimes sourced from natural hot springs, while others have no choice but to use the local bathhouse, given that some apartments in Japan don’t come with baths or showers.

▼ Sento often include both indoor and outdoor bathing areas.

Then there are others who appear to confuse the bathhouse as a place for sexual activity, which is not its intended purpose. That’s what’s been happening at one particular sento in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, where two men were caught engaging in sexual acts last November. The two men, both in their thirties, were subsequently charged with public obscenity and admitted to the charges, saying they were aware that they would be causing trouble for the establishment, due to signage on the premises, but they “succumbed to temptation”.

The men say they had no previous acquaintance with each other, and met at the public bath on the day of the incident. The sexual activity was said to have taken course over about 20 minutes in the open-air bathing area, while the door to the area was unlocked and about 15 guests were using the inside baths.

▼ This TBS News report shows the facility where the incident took place.

The manager says he has reported around 40 such incidents of sexual …continue reading


Japanese train conductor flips off rail fan photographer, prompts apology from JR

Conductor flips the bird on snowy night in Tokyo.

Japanese companies pride themselves on customer service, and that attitude carries over to public transportation providers too. Japan’s largest rail provider, Japan Railways Group (also known as JR) is particularly committed to presenting an image of its staff as courteous and capable, so many were shocked to learn that one of JR’s conductors recently flipped off a station-goer.

The incident took place last Saturday at Hakonegasaki Station, located on the Hachiko Line in western Tokyo, and can be seen in the images below.


— TJライナー (@donanbus2809) January 24, 2021

As snow fell on the evening of January 23, word got out that the Hachiko Line would be running its 209-series carriages. This older model has been largely phased out of service, but issues with the weather that day prompted a temporary comeback, and a pair of train enthusiasts had come to Hakonegasaki Station to take photos from the platform. At around 8:30, though, the JR conductor at the rear of one train bird-bombed the photo by extending both his arm and his middle finger as the train pulled away.

One of the rail fans posted a video of the incident on Twitter, and some wondered if he may have been exhibiting the less-than-polite behavior that train enthusiasts are sometimes known for. He explained, though, that he had been properly standing behind the yellow safety lines marked on the platform, and that he hadn’t been using a flash, using an umbrella, or doing anything else that he felt would pose a safety risk or impeded the staff from doing their job and other passengers from getting on or of the train.

Eventually the video caught JR’s attention, and the company was able to determine who the conductor …continue reading


Man arrested after refusing to wear mask on a plane refuses to wear mask in custody

At least he’s consistent.

A couple days ago, we reported on the arrest of Junya Okuno on charges of obstruction of business, assault, and other violations of aviation laws. To recap, a flight he was on had to make an emergency stop when he refused to wear a face mask in the close quarters of the cabin, and while causing a ruckus on his ejection, he allegedly injured the arm of a flight attendant.

You might think this would be a lesson in humility for Okuno, but as news footage of his arrest shows, old habits die hard.

Despite repeated requests by police to put on a face mask during arrest and interrogations Okuno refused, saying it was “Because I’m a mask-refusing guy.” He also reportedly is not cooperating with authorities and, rather than admitting or denying the charges, told the police: “It’s true that I boarded the Peach flight, but please see my blog for the rest.”

It’s not only the epitome of clickbait he just pulled, but overall Okuno seems dead bent on branding himself as not just “a mask-refusing guy” but “THE Mask-Refusing Guy” of Japan. In fact, his belligerence is so over the top that many netizens are doubting his authenticity.

“We’ve done it. We’ve reached the limit of stubborn old men.”
“He’s clearly trying to become the Internet’s newest plaything.”
“He found the stupidest way in the world to become famous. Pathetic.”
“I’m not even angry. He knows what he’s doing.”
“He should wear a mask just because he’s ugly.”
“They should call him the ‘Refused-by-Society Guy’ instead.”
“He’s working hard to be the most famous idiot of Reiwa. We’ll keep seeing him on all the talk shows once he gets out.”

Indeed, Okuno has been popping up on discussion shows since the disturbance on the plane last September. On clips from an Abema TV show …continue reading


Sights and sounds from a dystopian Japanese drinking alley

Source: Tokyo Times
a dystopian Japanese drinking alleyway

With trains regularly rattling by behind us, and lots of people walking past, this ramshackle old alleyway was definitely an unusual place to drink. In fact, its unique characteristics made it feel like the absolutely best place to drink — no two ways about it. A spot so special that the photos really don’t do it justice, so I’ve also included a bit of audio to try and better recreate the atmosphere.

…continue reading


120-year-old condom found in Japan

Only surviving example of the sheath that protected Japan from “plum poison.”

Osaka-based company Morishita Jintan has been around for a long time. Founded way back in Japan’s Meiji period, next month will mark the pharmaceutical and medical device maker’s 130th year in business.

Obviously, advances in medical science mean that Morishita Jintan’s product lineup is now very different compared to the wares it offered in its early days. So it was a discovery of historical significance recently when someone in rural Japan found one of Morishita Jintan’s very first products: a condom that’s approximately 120 years old.

120年前のコンドーム発見 森下仁丹が販売、展示を検討:中日新聞Web


— 中日新聞 (@chunichi_denhen) January 21, 2021

The condom was found by the owner of a kominka, or classical Japanese folk house, in the town of Shikamachi, Ishikawa Prefecture. The house has now been converted into an inn for travelers, and the owner found the condom in the adjacent storehouse, which makes one wonder if the storehouse was used for amorous rendezvous by its original owners.

Specifically, it was a Yamato Kinu-model condom that was found. One of the first mass-marketed condoms in Japan, the Yamato Kinu earned its popularity by being billed as a line of protection against infections of syphilis, which saw major outbreaks around the turn of the 20th century in Japan, where it’s known as baidoku (literally “plum poison”). This is believed to be the only Yamato Kinu condom still in existence, and while its exact age hasn’t been determined, newspaper ads for the product from 1896 have survived, so it’s estimated that the condom was sold sometime around then.

Although Yamato Kinu translates as “Japanese clothing” or “Japanese silk,” the condom was actually made in France and imported to Japan by Morishita Jintan, as manufacturing technology at the time in Japan was insufficient to …continue reading


Not-guilty verdict for man in women’s restroom, he had to go so bad it clouded his judgement

The laws of nature supersede those of society.

What could be described as the “trial of the year” – all 20 days of it – concluded last Wednesday, involving a man that stood accused of entering the women’s restroom without possessing the legal amount of X chromosomes to do so.

According to reports, last December the unidentified 64-year-old was walking along the streets of Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, when nature called. However, this was unlike a friendly call from an old high-school chum; this call had all the urgency and fury of a bill collector whose wife he also had an affair with.

With every second of the essence, the man frantically hurried to the nearest venue he could find that would probably have a public restroom. To his luck, he was right near the sprawling Hamamatsu Science Museum which did have facilities in its front lobby.

After a panicked trot across the floor of the museum he spotted the restrooms that were reportedly marked with the sign pictured below, available on Amazon for about seven bucks. The main purpose of the sign is to acknowledge that staff also use the restrooms, and is a bit of a parody of a typical restroom sign, with the woman and man figures bowing in apology.

Image: ©SoraNews24

He then rushed through the entrance and beelined it to the nearest available stall. However, by the time he realized that he had entered the women’s room it was too late. He was arrested and brought up on charges of invading the ladies room. If found guilty he would have to pay a fine of 100,000 yen (US$965).

However, the man pleaded not guilty, insisting that the sign …continue reading


Boxer Kazuto Ioka in trouble for showing tattoos during match, flips off association in response

Ioka and friends declare: “Tattoo culture is best.”

In Japan there are lots of traditional television programming during the New Year holidays. The song contest Kohaku is the most prominent but many people also look forward to shows such as Gackt defends his unbeaten streak in Entertainer Rating Check. And for sports fans, there’s always a highly anticipated boxing card lined up for New Year’s Eve.

This year saw a World Boxing Organization super flyweight match up between first class fighters Kazuto Ioka and Kosei Tanaka. Billed as the “match of the year,” it lived up to the hype with both boxers trading precision blows well into the eighth round when Ioka knocked out Tanaka while he was still standing.

▼ Highlights from the match

It was really a great fight, but also one marred with controversy. Not because of any moves performed in the ring, but because we could see Ioka’s tattoos. This is a violation of Article 86 of the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) rules that states: “A person with a style that makes the audience feel uncomfortable…cannot participate in matches.” The rule also specifically mentions “tattoo” as an example of such a style.

This might come as a shock to many, since you’d be hard pressed to find a boxer who doesn’t have a tattoo or seven, but it is how they operate in Japan where the body art still holds stubborn connections with organized crime. However, the JBC doesn’t even bother trying to enforce the rule on fighters who come in from overseas, and only binds Japanese boxers to it.

One of the JBC’s rivals, the Japanese MMA organization Rizin, does not prohibit tattoos outright. However, when showing their own New Year’s full card extravaganza they didn’t air fights with tattooed fighters on broadcast TV. It stands to …continue reading


A broken but unique-looking old Tokyo vending machine

Source: Tokyo Times
An old, broken and unique old Japanese vending machine

Early last year I posted a set of old and broken vending machines that I’d photographed over several years. A few months later I managed to find a few more, and then later in the year got lucky again with a wonderful looking machine discovered in a long-abandoned apartment complex.

Now there’s another one to add to the collection. One so unique due to its television-like vending machines within a vending machine that it deserves a post all of its own. A lovely chance find that made a cold and dull day considerably brighter.

…continue reading


Kyodo: Tokyo District Court rules in favor of Japan’s ban on dual nationality. My, what paranoia and hypocrisy


In a landmark ruling yesterday (see articles below) first testing the waters for allowing Japanese to have more diverse roots in a legal sense, the Tokyo District Court has just ruled that Japanese who obtain other citizenships do not have constitutional protections from being subsequently deprived of Japanese citizenship. This means:

a) If you as a Japanese citizen naturalize in another country, then when the Japanese government decides to take away your Japanese citizenship, you have no legal recourse under the Japanese Constitution. It can be unilaterally revoked at the government’s discretion.

b) If you as a native-born Japanese citizen have dual nationality due to having international parents, and if you do not declare to the Japanese government that you are a Japanese citizen only (and have renounced all other citizenships by age 22 — as Osaka Naomi, referred to below, reportedly did), then the Japanese government can revoke your Japanese citizenship and not deprive you of any Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

Conclusion: Essentially, nothing has changed in practice. The lower judiciary has essentially just made its stance against dual nationality clear. Take into account that this ruling, handed down by a notoriously conservative branch of Japan’s judiciary (yes, Tokyo District and High Courts are actually well-known around the Japanese legal community for their very conservative judgments), has merely affirmed what was already true: “two passports = untrustworthy”. And their legal reasoning mentioned in the articles below reflects that logic, based upon paranoid pre-war arguments about individual mixed allegiances threatening the motherland, etc., with no need to update for the complexities of the modern world. Should the plaintiffs decide to appeal this case, then the Tokyo High Court and probably eventually the Supreme Court will affirm the lower court’s ruling. So it’s definitive.

What to do about it: …continue reading


Loaded gun found in convenience store restroom in Japan, cop’s on-duty poop to blame

That wasn’t the only piece of police equipment left behind either.

In comparison to their counterparts in some other parts of the world, convenience store bathrooms in Japan are pretty unremarkable. The country’s focus on hygiene and customer service means convenience store restrooms are generally clean and tidy, with few terrifying stains or mysterious odors.

However, at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning a customer at a convenience store in Osaka’s Kita Ward found two startling things inside the shop’s restroom: a pair of handcuffs and a loaded gun.

The customer informed the manager, who in turn informed the police, who then were able to trace the handgun and restraints to none other than one of their own officers. Earlier that morning, a 30-something Osaka Prefectural Police sergeant who was assigned to a security detail in the area had also been at the convenience store in order to take a dump.

How do we know that the officer deposited an on-duty doody? Because he felt the need to remove his belt entirely and hang it on the hook on the inside of the bathroom door (more commonly used for hanging the occupant’s bag or coat), and attached to the belt were his holster, pistol, and cuffs. While we’ll give the officer the benefit of the doubt regarding remembering to wash his hands when he was done with his intestinal business, he forgot to strap his belt back when he left the bathroom to go back to work.

In total, about 30 minutes passed between the officer leaving the items behind and them being recovered, and it’s a testament to how safe Japan is that not only did the people who found them promptly contact the …continue reading