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Pink salons skirt laws against prostitution by serving food, operating without showers or private rooms, and limiting the services provided to fellatio. There may also be additional activities such as fingering the "companion" and sumata. They exist all over Japan and women who work in them may service a dozen or more men per shift.
The main attraction of the pink salon is known as mizu shobai which is interaction with hostesses who conduct sexual conversations with male customers, although almost all salons incorporate sexual labor into their business. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the ideology of monogamous marriage as the only natural form of marriage coupled with society equating sexual relationships outside of marriage as mortal sin led to a movement to eradicate prostitution in Japan. These ideas and their applications were aimed to preserve the good “moral standards” of society. The industry’s main focus is on the labor process of prostitution, but in modern time female sexuality was incorporated into the daily maintenance of labor power. This structure allows for the suppression of prostitutes in public places, but the business can only operate when disguised within the guidelines of the law.
Pink salons are able to operate in Japan due to the country’s lax prostitution laws. Japan explicitly outlaws a person to pay for sexual intercourse, but its legal framework only punishes people for this offense. Officials in Japan cannot prosecute for the sale of other sexual services including but not limited to oral and anal sex. Brothel owners have capitalized on this legal loophole by operating pink salons offering legal fellatio service to paying customers. Through establishments like pink salons, prostitution in Japan has conformed to commodified sexual labor. These businesses operate within all guidelines present in their jurisdiction and create an employment relationship with their workers. This dynamic transforms once prostitutes into wage workers offering a personal service to their clients.
Women working in pink salons are expected to perform a wide range of sex acts during working hours. Although the structure of the pink salon allows for women to legally earn a wage by providing sexual favors, the work environment they face is less than ideal. The employers of the salon take most of the pay and leave the women with little income to take home.
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