Kabukicho Club Shut Down over Illegal Porn Star Drinking

Kabukicho Club Shut Down over Illegal Porn Star Drinking

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SOD Land arrest
Picture by the author
An adult video company made millions with a bar in Kabukicho. Now the CEO's under arrest because he never paid for the right piece of paper.

Police arrested the CEO and shop manager for an adult video company in Japan. The funny thing is, what the shop was doing wasn’t even illegal – it just didn’t have the right license.

An “adult theme park”

Soft on Demand runs the store SOD Land in Tokyo’s Kabukicho red-light district. It advertises the location as an “adult theme park.” Until recently, it touted that visitors could drink with some of the company’s stars in a one-on-one setting.

Such businesses are legal in Japan. However, they require a special license under the country’s Entertainment Law (風営法; fuueihou). The law classifies any business where staff sit and drink with customers and exchange light contact as a “social bar” (社交飲食店; shakou inshokuten). Cabaret clubs (where women entertain customers) and host clubs (where men entertain customers), and “snack” bars are common examples.

$5 million yet no money for a stinkin’ license

Kabukicho
Picture: Ryuji / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

SOD Land employed a rotating staff (“cast”) of some 600 women, most of them actresses in SOD’s various videos. It had a separate floor where customers could drink with some of the company’s most famous actresses and another where customers could interact with new talent. Customers paid ¥3000 to spend one hour on the floors – a typical going rate for such establishments – on top of additional drink and entertainment options that could run up to ¥5000 a pop.

SOD Land had everything…except, it appears, a social bar license.

What’s impressive is that the store has been operating illegally since October 2020, raking in a purported ¥700,000 (around USD $5,300) a night. That puts its total haul over the past two years at around USD $5 million.

Authorities from Kabukicho’s Public Safety Unit and the Tokyo Police visited the club in December of 2022. Representatives warned management that they were operating illegally and instructed them to obtain the appropriate license.

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In what can only be classified as “a choice,” management ignored the warning.

So authorities walked into the club on March 14th, verified it was still operating illegally, and arrested the manager, 27-year-old Higuchi Gou. The next day, they arrested SOD’s CEO, Iguchi Shou. (As far as we can tell, it’s purely a coincidence that the men’s names could convincingly end lines in a rap song.)

Sad customers, sadder stars

Officially, SOD Land announced on Twitter that the store would be on a “temporary break” and apologized to anyone who was planning on attending.

Tweet from SOD Land Twitter account announcing it's taking a "temporary break".

The account turned off comments for the post. Many of the quote tweets are from customers who’d planned on attending. Sadly, several are also from SOD actresses talking about the impact the SOD Land closure has on their livelihoods.

Tweet from SOD actress Mai Kagari announcing an event she was attending is canceled due to SOD Land’s closure. (Source: Twitter)

It remains unclear why SOD never bothered to get the appropriate license for SOD Land. In a statement, CEO Iguchi acknowledged that SOD Land “requires the appropriate licensing” for its brand of customer contact.

For his part, store manager Higuchi says he was “just following corporate policy.”

Is Japan’s New AV (Adult Video) Law Working?

Sources

「AV女優と飲める大人のテーマパーク」を摘発 有名女優から新人まで 驚きオプションも“無許可営業”だった 東京・歌舞伎町. FNN Prime Online

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Jay Allen

Jay is a resident of Tokyo where he works as a reporter for Unseen Japan and as a technial writer. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and is fervently working on his Kanji Kentei Level 2 certification.

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