Schoolgirls as Sex Toys

By Nicholas D. Kristof


Adisturbing new national pastime has taken root in Japan: a male obsession with schoolgirls dressed in uniforms.

In Tokyo there are now several hundred 'image clubs,' where Japanese men pay $150 an hour to act out their fantasies with make-believe schoolgirls in make-believe classrooms, locker rooms or commuter trains. A customer may, for example, act the part of a teacher who walks into a classroom and tears the clothes off a schoolgirl. Or he may choose to fondle a schoolgirl on a crowded commuter train.

The clubs are but one part of a growing national obsession -- and a growing national market -- that the Japanese call 'Loli-con,' after Lolita. Hiroyuki Fukuda edits one Japanese magazine called Anatomical Illustrations of Junior High School Girls and another called V-Club, featuring pictures of naked elementary school girls. And a number of schoolgirls earn extra money as prostitutes.

Why? First because it's legal for men in Tokyo to have sex with children who are older than 12. And second, says Masao Miyamoto, a male psychiatrist, because many Japanese men feel threatened by the growing sophistication of older women. So they turn to schoolgirls.

Caption: Dressed for fantasies in Tokyo. (Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times)

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