Sunday, May 19, 2013

#Idiosyncratic Japan: Business Is Good at Tokyo's "Soaplands", and They Call the Boom "Awa (Soap Bubble) nomics"

Ahhhhh this can't be happening......

As Boy-wonder speaks of Japanese sex industry as solution to Marines in Okinawa and doubles down on his "opinion" that comfort women were necessary and they were no sex slaves and everyone did it, The Economist magazine puts wrinkled Abe as a superman of some sort flying over Tokyo accompanied by two Japanese fighter jets, and puts out an article titled "Japan and Abenomics: Once more with feeling" with the opening paragraph talking about price hike at "soapland" outfits in Tokyo that offer sexual massage.

Welcome to "Awanomics". ("Awa" is bubble, as in soap bubble used in the soapland massage.)

From The Economist (5/18/2013):

Japan and Abenomics: Once more with feeling

The Shinzo Abe shaking up Japan’s economy seems a different man from the one whose previous premiership was marked by nationalistic posturing. He isn’t

IN “SOAPLAND”—Sopurando, a Tokyo red-light district—the price of a basic half-hour “massage” has recently gone up for the first time since 1990. Demand for the top-end, “highly technical” massage service, costing ¥60,000 ($600) a go, has also been soaring, according to Akira Ikoma, editor of My Journey, which covers the sex industry. He says it is all thanks to the surging stockmarket.

In Sopurando they are cheekily calling this reinvigoration “awanomics”, from awa, meaning bubble or lather. Elsewhere in Japan they call it Abenomics in honour of Shinzo Abe, elected prime minister in December 2012. Japan, Mr Abe declared as he took office, was back, and he lost not a moment in proving it. Having quickly assembled his cabinet, in January he announced a ¥10.3 trillion fiscal stimulus.

(Full article at the link)

The article even has a Japanese Self Defense Force ship with the rising-sun flag of the imperial navy (which is still used as the naval ensign of the SDF). It had been used before the Meiji government adopted it as military flag, but it is widely regarded in Asia in particular as the symbol of Japanese aggression (which Boy-wonder's sidekick and Governor of Osaka Prefecture wants it precisely defined).

The somewhat light-hearted, Keynesian article still ends somewhat ominously:

The emperor’s new constitution

Some amendments to the 1947 constitution, such as one acknowledging Japan’s clear right to a standing army, navy and air force, are now broadly popular. But it is becoming clear that Mr Abe and the traditionalists, pining for an imperial era from which most of the country has moved on, aim to go further than that. They want, among other things: the emperor to be restored as head of state; collective duties emphasised over individual rights; and veneration for the family unit. As a precursor to such changes, the LDP plans to make it easier to amend a constitution which so far has never been altered. The current process requires a two-thirds majority in each house, plus a national referendum.

At best, all this could prove a distraction at a time when some structural-reform initiatives already appear to be running into the sands. At worst, it could endanger all reform by eroding the government’s popularity, at the same time increasing tensions with Japan’s neighbours. Far from having banished the ghosts of his past, as some of his advisers claim, the prime minister is in danger of summoning them up again.

The section title is a pun on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes", I believe. Not good at all...


Anonymous said...

??? 60 000 JPY for a soapland session ?
Even if it's a "highly technical" (what's that mean that I wouldn't know ?) then prices would have got one digit plus thanks to Mr Abe, after ten or twenty years of... hibernation.
A beautifull erection !
Or is it a group price for a men's contest to be the last one to come ?

Anonymous said...

Boycott Osaka, sign the petition here..


Anonymous said...

Finally a proper name Awanomics .. a soap bubble and once it pops, hyper inflation will destroy the rest. No worries, Japan will not be able to finance any war during the next century.. Its the first country that sinks it self.

Sad but true

money blog said...


My name is Hannah and I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I love how useful a lot of your topics are. I was wondering if we could exchange shout-outs. Would you please consider mentioning my website on your next post? I’ll be sure to mention yours on my blog. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!


hannah.taylor4545 at

Post a Comment