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Pink Box: Inside Japan's Sex Clubs Paperback – October 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joan Sinclair first heard about Japanese sex clubs while working as an English teacher in Tokyo and returned years later to document them. She now lives in San Francisco.

James Farrer teaches sociology at Sophia University in Tokyo, where he conducts comparative research on ideas of sexuality and romance among young people in Japan and China. He is the author of Opening Up: Youth Sex Culture and Market Reform in Shanghai.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810992590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810992597
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

196 of 210 people found the following review helpful By V. Leonelli VINE VOICE on December 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
Most major Asian and European cities have well-traveled Red Light Districts frequented by wide-eyed US tourists. Locals view the sport as a mere curiosity, or humorous interlude. Sort of an Adult Disneyland. Sex is simply no big deal overseas, and why should it be? Tokyo (and Moscow) differ is this aspect. There is a whole Underground of Sex Venues and corporate brothels not accessible to Americans. Not safe to even attempt entry. Pink Box offers a rare and exclusive glimpse inside the perfumed halls of forbidden lust. Tokyo's "Fuzoku" (Sex Industry) is a multi-billion dollar industry, tightly controlled by the Yakusa (mafia). It is very public, yet strictly off-limits to gaijin. It is legal? With a 400 year tradition under their belt, all is winked at by the establishment.

As the author sets the story line, Japan's society is formal, strict and polite. With centuries of social roles and traditional uniforms, the below surface sexual desires are too enticing for them not to satisfy. The sex industry is not only a product of society, but a part of society. Expressing no opinion, Sinclair teases you into the Japanese world of naughty to unbridled perversion in toe-curling photo essays of sexcapades. Almost voyeuristic. The menu of sex club delicacies take the form of breaking these rigid societal rules, with a common theme of fondling the cleanest, purest, teenage girls in off-limits role-playing scenarios. You'll discover surreal fetishes, bondage and softcore groping in dens of sin outfitted with one-way mirrors, kinky stages and elaborate sets. Clients immerse themselves in fantasies, from fake hospitals with nurses sans panties, to submissive hentai characters, naughty stewardesses and elevator attendants, disciplining teachers, secretaries and schoolgirls...
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A reader on October 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book out of an interest in all aspects of Japanese culture as well as that of the international sex industry. It is a beautiful full-color book, with page after page of photographs of sex workers, their clients, and their highly imaginative fantasy environments. Occasionally we will see an image of an actual session-in-progress.

The book is professionally neutral, I believe, and leaves it up to the reader to have a reaction. Ms. Sinclair treats her subjects with respect and dignity, and quotes from both workers and clients are peppered throughout, adding additional layers and insight to the author's thorough explanations.
I believe it is the ideal ratio of text to photographs. The layout as well (as colorfully designed as FRUiTS, by Shoichi Aoki), I must say, is very attractive and heightens the experience of reading this book, whether reading alone or sharing with open-minded friends on your coffee table.
The neon pink vinyl slipcover is the icing on the cake.
Excellent piece of work.
The website, [...] offers a preview and an interview with Ms. Sinclair.
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Format: Paperback
Just after her 30th birthday, San Francisco attorney Joan Sinclair returned to Japan (she had been an English teacher there in her early twenties) to embark on an ambitious project of photographing the sex clubs in Tokyo's red light district. She remembered the cornucopia of sex options in Tokyo and had always wondered why it wasn't written about or photographed. She soon learned that the main obstacle was access to clubs. Sinclair couldn't pay her way in, so she cajoled and befriended the right players and now provides both American and Japan with a glossy look behind the closed doors of the sex industry.

The book is as much a voyeuristic look inside the pink box as it is a thorough guide to the menu and customs of the sex industry. Clubs offer services in fuzoku (commercial sex) ranging from hostess services in the geisha tradition, to image clubs ("play" rooms to fulfill fantasies with schoolgirls and police officers), to telephone clubs with internet stations and live chat, to a few full-on brothels. Clubs cater to males, females, and swinging couples. Many operate in legal limbo--sex for money is illegal, so customers pay for legal aspects and any intercourse is a private affair between consenting adults. Customers must obey the rules or face ejection and banishment, complete with posted Polaroids of offenders!

Looking thought the several hundred photos in this book (of workers, customers, menus, and settings), I was struck by how small the fantasy rooms and cubicles are. Sinclair writes that she often had to shoot with a unipod due to the space restrictions. I especially enjoyed the club menus and questionnaires translated in the book, indicating acts beyond my imagination which can be requested by the customer.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Julia A. Dowd on October 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating look into an aspect of Japanese culture I never knew existed. Joan Sinclair got incredible access -- access not only to the actual establishments, but access to the inner lives of some of these women and men whom she portrays with honesty and integrity. She has a fresh, exciting lens which comes through not without a revolutionary edge. This is an original. The intro by Farrer is also excellent.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By RacerX on March 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book with the intent of seeing some "behind the scenes" of Japan; specifically in regards to the sex club, fetish, etc. I think the photos, with corresponding stories were very well done. While I haven't read the book cover to cover, the pages I have looked at have all been very well done. The photography is great. And the writing is well done too. It definitely brings you into their (the girls') world. To me it seems like a Nat'l Geographic travelogue of Japan's fetish clubs.

If you're looking for an off-the-tourist-path view of a slice of Japan, I think this book will help give you a flavor of--at least the seedier/fetish side of Japanese culture.

For me, it helps paint a more realistic view of Japanese culture, and balances the formal, rigorous, daytime public view of Japan.
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