Sex work in Japan: Japanese say it’s not cheating to hire a prostitute

A Japanese TikTokker has perhaps stumbled upon an intriguing cultural norm regarding sex work in his country.

A content creator behind an account called Takashi asked members of the Japanese public the simple question, “Does prostitution count as cheating?”

Granted, while the sample size of about 20 is small, the consensus seems very clear.

It’s a resounding “no” over the course of two videos that canvassed men and women on the moral dilemma.

“No, it does not,” two women agree in one of the online influencer’s videos.

“I wouldn’t like it if they have feelings for (another), but I don’t care if it’s just for sex,” one elaborates.

The other adds: “I’d rather they go to a prostitute than talk to random girls”.

Another woman in the video agreed that one’s partner seeking the services of a sex worker was okay on the proviso it’s done honestly.

“It does not (matter) … It’s not good if they hide it,” she told Takashi.

Two more women in a crowded street responded to the same question.

They agreed they don’t care “if they don’t hide it”.

“I told my boyfriend “go to a prostitute if you want to cheat … it’s okay if he pays money,” one says.

The other woman adds: “They just pay money instead of meeting new girls.”

Japan legalised escort services in 1998, although it remains illegal to sell vaginal sex.

Paying for non-coital services or sexual acts not legally defined as “intercourse” is generally allowed.

One woman tells Takashi it would be okay for her partner to enlist sex work for “a decent reason”.

“Like what?” Takashi asks.

The woman responds by saying “companionship”.

“I would get upset, but it’s still acceptable,” another woman says.

Her friend adds: “It’s kind of a part of Japanese culture – Japan is famous for its prostitution – so maybe it’s only in Japan.”

Takashi asks the same question to men on the nation’s streets.

Several say sex work does not count as cheating.

“Because you’re paying money, that’s why it’s not cheating.” one elaborates.

Another adds, “it depends on the girlfriend.”

One man says it’s “something the couple has to decide on.”

“Some of us are poor, so we wouldn’t always go,” the same man adds.

Others say the act is fine as long as it’s signed off with the significant other in the relationship.

The responses perplexed Takashi’s non-Japanese followers.

“I am mind blown. Speechless,” an American follower responded.

Another added, “That’s really sad.”

An Australian follower joked, “I dare you to ask my Aussie wife the same question.”

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