Massage

Japanese voyeur massage: Theories

Japanese massage room 1

Prolonged sitting in front of the computer is really getting to your neck and shoulders. You need a massage. Guys are so lucky, you think, because they can just walk into any parlor like it’s no big deal. Your husband doesn’t have a clue as to how to give you a rubdown and is bored with you in bed anyway. How long has it been since you two last made love? That Royal Treatment Massage Therapy shop you keep passing by on your way home everydaymaybe it’s finally time to check it out. You hope nothing funny goes on in there, though. All you want is some nice relief and relaxation. It is after all your first paid massage.

The lobby is attractive and decked out in warm colors. Hmm…looks legitimate and safe. The menu lists 60-minute whole body oil massage at 9,000 yen. Ouch. Or acupressure for 6,000 yen. That’ll do. The cheery receptionist asks if you’d prefer a male or female therapist. You ask if there’s any difference. Men have a strength advantage, she says, but otherwise you’ll get the same treatment from both. You go for the male. He appears and leads you to your room. Though fat and unappealing, he immediately puts you at ease with his serious manner and professional bearing in his white smock.

“Put your clothes in this basket. There are also hangers over there. Here’s a robe you can wear. You call me when you’re ready,” he says.

You strip down to your panties, fasten the robe and lay back on the table. Waitdid you just remove your bra? No way, you didn’t. Yes, you did. You’re about to go put it back on but stay glued to the table, frozen in terror and not a little excited at the same time. Well, at least the room is clean and tidy, with meridian maps of the human body on the wall. If it’s for therapy’s sake, it can’t be that bad, can it? “Dekimashita!” you announce through the door. 

He re-enters and begins palpating you over your robe. “Well, what brings you here today?”

You point to where you are sore.

“With acupressure massage we need to do the entire body since all parts are interconnected. I’ll devote today to examining you. To be cured you’ll need to come back for several sessions of more focused work. Now, let’s take a closer look. Can we open this up a bit?”

Reluctantly you let him part the robe, exposing your torso and legs. You shield your breasts with your hands. He lifts them off and places them to the side, telling you to relax and not to worry, as his purpose is strictly therapeutic. After bending your legs and rotating them, testing for resistance, he has you turn over and manipulates your spine, pulling your panties partway down to show you where the spine begins and how the entire back is affected by improper posture. He palpates your tailbone, buttocks and inner thighs, stretching the panties aside to work his fingers close to your crotch. Your hand reaches back to block them but again he replaces your arm.

“Relax. This is the standard procedure. Look, let me show you.”

He grabs a model skeleton of the pelvic region off a shelf and in conjunction with the meridian chart gives you a brief lesson on the local pressure points that need to be worked. Replacing your panties, he sits you up on the table and removes your robe. He then pulls your shoulders back to illustrate proper sitting posture and applies more pressure to your spine and shoulder blades, before reaching around and palpating the upper and lower parts of your breasts.

“Hey, this is getting out of hand,” you protest.

“The mammary glands need to be massaged for the entire body’s health. The meridians running through them extend down to your pelvis and need to be worked at both ends. Relax, don’t worry. I’m not looking at your breasts but merely feeling for the pressure points,” he says as he jiggles them in unison and proceeds to take them entirely in his hands for a more thorough working over. He then positions you back on the table face up. “Now we need to check your health at the other end, the ovary region.”

From under the table he pulls out a pair of sealed latex gloves, a tube of K-Y Jelly and a box of tissue. As you stare in disbelief, he patiently explains with further referencing to the meridian chart the necessity of carrying out the procedure thoroughly and how everything will all fit together in the end to improve your body’s circulation and musculature. Moreover, men’s and women’s bodies are different. Female health requires treatment of both the breasts and the genitals for the proper functioning of the whole body. You marvel at yourself as you let him slip off your panties and ease a lubricated finger into your vagina and snake it around inside.

“I’m now testing the elasticity of your vaginal cavity. How does that feel? If there’s anything that hurts let me know. Now, try to relax your legs and open them up more. There, that’s better.”

Soon your legs are wide open and he’s masturbating you. You’re laughing and writhing on the table before collapsing into orgasm. Maintaining a straight face, he pulls his hand out dripping wet and wipes you off with the tissue. Without skipping a beat, he proceeds to discourse on the therapeutic benefits of proper lovemaking and queries you on how often you make love and how you move your body during sex. He mimics the proper motion with his hands but adds that he really needs to demonstrate it on you himself. He pulls his pants off and rolls on a condom.

Never in a million years could you have imagined yourself in such a deplorable situation, going this far with an unappetizing stranger, as if letting him massage you naked wasn’t enough, but he’s managed to get you more aroused than you’ve been in a long time and you don’t resist when he crawls on the table with his undeniably huge cock popping out from under the folds of his gut, spreads your legs back and enters you….

Realistic and exciting? Or absurd and preposterous? This scenario is repeated endlessly in one niche of the Japanese stealth or reality porn universe known as “hidden cam massage,” “Japanese massage fuck,” and similar variants (type the phrases in any X-rated video search). The videos depict supposedly secretly recorded massage sessions of female patrons, with the masseur sexualizing what begins as a nonsexual procedure and typically culminating in full-blown intercourse.

I do not know how the average enthusiast of Japanese porn responds to this particular genre. The more jaded, those who have seen it all, might find little to pique the interest. The videos strike one, initially upon viewing them at any rate, as fake. Let’s go over the reasons why they seem implausible. In scene after scene the women depicted, after some initial resistance, regularly succumb to orgasmic throes by the end. The predictability of the scenario makes it evident the women are following a script. Perhaps if more vigorous protesting at their rude treatment was evident, the greater realism might encourage enough of a suspension of disbelief to partake in it vicariously. As it is, the farfetched, make-believe nature of the material merely re-animates in “reality” guise the old porn category of the straight-laced female who only needs a little roughing up to release her explosive sexuality.

Unlike American porn, with its rigid stylization, cheeky prowess and gymnastic displays, the peculiar Japanese approach to porn produces an outcome of a different sort, a unique aesthetic of awkwardness and clumsiness. Japanese females are seduced, dominated, humiliated; they weakly protest, cry and whimper. It always seems to be their first time. To concoct an “authentic” scene requires little acting skill because it’s not expertise but the lack of it that is being mimicked.

Thus almost any Japanese woman is a prime candidate for reality porn. Wouldn’t a faked violation be easy enough to pull off, mass-produce and market for Internet consumption? All you need is a simple massage room set, amateur or one-shot actresses paid to pose as patrons, and a couple of overweight masseur dudes with reliable erections (male actors in Japanese porn are routinely cast as ordinary looking so that the average male viewer can identify with them).

Moreover, the fact that some of these patrons appear in more than one video provides pretty strong evidence they are being paid to perform. Among the more popular videos (based on its staying power near the top of the search pages), known as “Japanese Massage 29” or “Japanese Massage Fuck 29,” features an unusually hot woman with a body to match. Things start off with the customer’s typical wariness but eventually slide into sex. Moments after she’s got the masseur lodged inside her, her cellphone goes off. She jumps off the table to answer it and gets dressed, claiming an urgent matter. His hard-on raging, he begs her for just a few more minutes of her time and when it’s clear she’s leaving, invites her profusely to come back again. The aborted conclusion lends just enough verisimilitude to convince us the event might actually be authentic, but it is in fact a clever staging. The woman is a Japanese AV idol who goes by the name of Miharu Izawa. You can see her in another massage video, the lesbian “Fem Touch Massage 8 (Japanese),” along with a host of regular porn videos in which she is featured.

There is doubtless no shortage of potential porn actresses available to perform in stealth massage videos (I haven’t gone through them all to confirm this—how could one ever keep up?). But while we can assume the run of the videos are staged productions, can we definitively conclude that all of them are?

Again, on first consideration, it seems so. What woman in her right mind would allow an ugly impostor to breach client trust and sexually assault her in the name of massage therapy and get away with it? What woman would dare go for a massage if word of mouth repeatedly spoke of horrors and humiliations at the hands of dangerous creeps? Wouldn’t the reputation of the entire legitimate massage industry be irrecoverably harmed if such were allowed to flourish, and wouldn’t they take action against it? What business catering to this activity would risk being such an easy target? Wouldn’t it only be a matter of time before they got sued and taken to court by patrons who discovered themselves naked and compromised on the Internet? Wouldn’t a single such violation see the victim file charges with the police, the offending venue shut down and its perpetrators jailed? Wouldn’t the local media get wind of it as well and devour such juicy material? And wouldn’t that get it quickly outlawed out of existence? It’s virtually inconceivable that such gross violations of human privacy could exist in any country without harsh legal ramifications.

Yet here’s the thing. The stronger the arguments exposing the bogus nature of “reality” porn are, the more they begin to implicate reality. To get at what is at issue here, we need to avoid stubborn either-or generalizations that discount complexity and unforeseen possibilities. Sexual compulsion has its own recalcitrant logic, which may be at odds with commonsense assumptions. Let’s now go over the reasons why stealth massage video may be plausible after all.

Just as reality TV employs amateur actors, the stealth massage business cannot be comfortable in relying on porn actresses, especially those with high visibility, and turns to them only as a last resort. Japanese porn stars, even amateur ones, are idolized and have huge followings. They would be recognized and their cover blown, defeating the whole purpose of stealth porn. So the challenge for this business is not so much increasing the illusion of realism as it is exploiting reality itself.

The challenge for this business is not so much increasing the illusion of realism as it is exploiting reality itself.

Another reason not to pay women to perform in massage videos has a strong financial motive. Like any business, porn production is concerned with squeezing profits. Wouldn’t it be far more cost-effective to try out seduction scenarios on real female patrons to avoid the expense of hiring actresses, indeed to be paid by them for their unwitting performance? After all, some stealth porn is undoubtedly authentic. Stories crop up in the news of arrests made for up-skirt videos shot on subways or escalators, hidden spycams in women’s toilets, surreptitious sex footage taken for extortion purposes, nude celebrities captured by telephoto on private beaches, and so on. Whole porn sites are devoted to voyeur nudity and have tremendous followings. While certain reality porn does rely on fakery and convincing stagings, the ideal, the Holy Grail of the industry, is the authentic event and the inadvertently cooperative performer.

The Japanese reality porn industry is surely the world’s most elaborate and inventive. One of the weirder examples is the “Runaway Public Exposed” niche (later copied in other countries). A man walks up to a skimpily dressed woman on a street or park, yanks her top down off her breasts and sprints away. Little do the startled victims know, not just their nudity but much more tellingly, their responses are caught on a cam panned by a hidden collaborator, which lingers for a long take as they collect themselves—cowering and shaking, pretending nothing happened, laughing it off. There are certain things that cannot be acted, and the sheer variety of reactions on display is convincing and confirms their veracity.

The penchant for violating or humiliating women in public goes back decades in Japan, long before the digital age. There are entrenched markets in manga magazine porn and even fiction (e.g. Akiyuki Nozaka’s novel The Pornographers) glorifying the groping of women on buses and trains, in hot springs, and so forth, peculiar pastimes that this country notoriously has a higher tolerance for than other societies, not to mention the age-old preoccupation in Japanese literature with the related themes of older male seduction of teenage girls (Yasunari Kawabata), intimate mother-son relationships (Junichiro Tanizaki), and the like. It’s not surprising that the breaching of women’s privacy is currently a burgeoning porn genre at a time when advances in digital recording technology make this ever easier to do so.

If stealth massage and other “authentic” reality porn is all staged and everyone knows it, what then accounts for its mass appeal, garnering millions of Internet devotees?

There is a longtime attraction to verisimilitude for its own sake (as the enormous popularity of pro wrestling attests). All reality TV is choreographed, and the skeptic would assume reality porn operates along similar lines. Clearly, many viewers seem to enjoy watching porn they fully suspect is fake. They watch it ironically or employ doublethink to obscure in their mind the pasteboard scaffolding. Inauthenticity is at the very heart of the sex industry and is its modus operandi. The burden of proof falls on you to show me a prostitute who enjoys sex or likes the men she sleeps with or a porn star who willingly exhibits her body gratis. Nothing better exemplifies this obsession with illusion than the de rigueur low-grade boob jobs of Western porn actresses—and the bizarre corollary of men pressuring their wives or girlfriends to get the same.

And yet, again, here’s the thing. Personally, I am not fond of breasts that look like coconuts sewn into the chest, with a similar hardness and adorned with scars. In fact I shiver in repulsion at the sight and touch of artificial breasts, which are modeled after a misplaced ideal of firmness, as opposed to the beautiful hang and jiggle of natural breasts. The reason breast enlargements aren’t made to look natural is that the majority of men apparently prefer the fake look. Porn actresses would not go out of their way for an expensive and painful operation—at some risk to their health—to adopt precisely this fake boob look if they were not certain it’s what men want. But I have to put my own oddness into perspective and acknowledge that most men do want this—Western men at least. If Japanese porn has limited appeal abroad and leaves Western males cold, it’s because you do not see fake tits anywhere. It’s sacrilege.

Japanese men like their women real (at the same time they like them infantilized). This is the starting point for understanding Japanese porn. It’s what tells me there may be something on the other side of the pasteboard prop, why we need to turn things around 180 degrees to get at the right perspective; why we can take Japanese stealth massage at face value and regard the genre as at least partly authentic. Now, I have no insider knowledge, but the more I go over all the problems and possibilities, I don’t think insider knowledge is necessary to figure out what’s really going on. We can use deduction to get at the truth.

There is the prototypical hidden-cam massage scenario, outlined above. The more of these videos one watches, the greater variety of women and their reactions becomes apparent. Most patrons undress in predictably prudish Japanese style, removing their bra from under their shirt or only after donning the provided robe, even when they are alone in the room (or do some suspect their massage will be captured on spycam?). Some don’t undress at all but get on the table fully clothed. This makes more sense if they’re only getting an acupressure treatment, but the stiff business outfit many of these office ladies are wearing is not appropriate for any kind of massage; the impression is one of genuine body shyness. Others meanwhile get right out of their clothes and lay on the table naked. Some are nervous and unsmiling, others are laughing and at ease.

While most put up initial resistance or feign surprise when the massage moves on to sexual territory, here again the responses are varied. Some enthusiastically come unsprung; others are equally animated with a fraught ambivalence, as if succumbing only in order to avoid disappointing the masseur. With the more recalcitrant, a more patient approach—and most of the session—is required to coax some if not all of their clothes off (not all of the videos culminate in nudity or sex). The attractiveness of many of the patrons varies greatly as well. Whereas some are ordinary and plain, others are quite beautiful. Many are tastefully dressed, as is customary among educated Japanese women with good jobs, elegant-looking in their thirties or forties. Others arrive in business uniforms of the bank-teller variety, still others in high school sailor suits.

Of course, variety and spontaneity can be cleverly scripted, as we have seen. But if all of these women are paid to perform in these videos, where are they to be found? Previously I noted the problem for the reality porn industry of employing regular porn actresses who might ultimately blow their cover. The only other women who would conceivably agree to stage their massage for money would be prostitutes. Prostitutes universally cultivate a certain “look,” fake eyelashes, penciled-in eyebrows, tight tacky clothing. Though some of the patrons in the videos wear fake eyelashes (common in daily use among East Asian women), none would otherwise strike you as looking like prostitutes in dress or bearing, and in any case are far too varied in appearance to hail solely from the sex worker camp. Moreover, many (if not most) sex workers in Japan are actually migrants from abroad, primarily China and the Philippines, yet the women in the videos are all native speakers of Japanese. Whether domestic or migrant, the last thing any prostitute would do is to consent to perform sex on a video uploaded to the Internet for the public record. Finally, the fact so many of the patrons are exceptionally attractive better supports the interpretation they are ordinary customers rather than sex workers performing for pay, for the simple reason that women who are that attractive don’t wind up in the sex business, porn stars aside (making it all the more mysterious why “branded” AV idols like Miharu Izawa would be drawn to reality porn).

Only one pool of women is large enough to generate a virtually limitless number of videos: regular women seeking a massage. As I imagine it, the setup is quite plain and self-evident. A real massage room is outfitted with hidden cameras for capturing the body on the table from different angles, placed there by the establishment or a lone-acting masseur. I have been to hundreds of massage parlors in many countries. I cannot discount the possibility I myself, somewhere down the line, have been secretly filmed. I doubt it, not being young and female and your typical spycam material. Yet doubt increasingly eats away at my sense of security in light of the proliferating ubiquity of cheap, high-resolution video cams. The logic of technology makes it likely that countless numbers of people are being digitally immortalized right now on massage tables not just in Japan but in many countries. Not every shop, of course, only a relative minority, but that’s all that is needed to supply unlimited raw material for a whole new porn genre.

Even if only one out of ten sessions is brought to a satisfactory sexual conclusion, the operation is still beautifully cost-effective, being financed by none other than the patrons themselves.

Obviously, many videos are aborted when patrons balk, get angry and leave at any erotic turn of events. Yet even if only one out of ten sessions is brought to a satisfactory sexual conclusion, the operation is still beautifully cost-effective, being financed by none other than the patrons themselves. Out of the pool of more-or-less successful videos, the choicest get selected for Internet production. These would presumably include not only the most attractive patrons but the more ordinary ones too who evinced a robust sexual response. As for the danger of livid patrons who reject the masseur’s advances and rush out early and complain, there is little more they can do apart from never returning, as the receptionist no doubt has a scripted response and perhaps a refund at the ready for them as well (videos that conclude abruptly with little or no sexual progress form a sub-niche in the reality massage industry).

Those who made it as far as sex are unlikely to complain to the police, since their participation would automatically be interpreted as consensual, giving the masseur deniability. What woman would complain when she would only incriminate herself? If you look at scores of these of the videos, you’ll notice that in few of them does outright rape take place. They are all coaxed into intercourse, or at least some degree of consensual sexual touching, by the masseur’s verbal persuasion, by which time they are typically not only enjoying it, in spite of themselves, but seem to experience powerful sexual release. And they are patently enjoying it. The videos lavish much attention on the masturbation portion of the sessions and zoom in to show the massage sheet drenched with the patron’s lubrication or ejaculate.

The question that remains to be answered is why any female patron would allow herself to open up sexually so quickly with a stranger when all she expected was a no-frills massage. I believe the answer is quite simple: most of the women in these videos are seeking sexual relief. The only variable is the extent to which they are consciously after this or unconsciously driven to it by vague or confused impulses. In Beijing, where I currently live, a whole building devoted to massage, the Binduyuan (Massaging the Masseuse in Beijing and Bangkok), is popular with the Japanese female population in the area, who can get massaged for a third of the price they would pay back home. I frequently see these ladies come and go, singly or in pairs or groups, whenever I visit the building. The shops employ an equal number of masseurs and masseuses. While I can’t claim to know what goes on behind closed doors, one masseur confided to me, with some relish, that the biggest perk of his job was the occasional Chinese or Japanese female patron who removes her disposable shorts during an oil massage and invites him to masturbate her.

Women go for handjobs too, not least when they are confident the situation is safe and there is the prospect of being brought to orgasm by a person trained in manipulating the G-spot, and possibly enlightening her on female ejaculation as well, in respect of which other males in her life may fall woefully short. And if no-strings-attached sexual stimulation under controlled circumstances by a skilled masseur is not on the agenda, there is a whole sister niche of stealth lesbian massage.

The claim no woman would ever permit herself to be thus violated is patronizing and underestimates the degree of people’s sexual fantasies—equally intense in women as they are in men. Though most people keep their fantasies under wraps, itching, agonizing need does drive some to act on them. Might not this very danger be impelling men and women alike to the massage therapist, the spicy allure and exoticism of what lies in store as much as the promise of therapy? For some women, notably those not currently in a satisfying sexual relationship, there may no more enticing sexual prospect. Even if all these videos were in fact fake, there would be a market for the real thing.

The distinctly delicious form of sex known as passive sex: the unique sexual pleasure derived from being stimulated by someone you are not necessarily attracted to.

Massage moreover offers something that can’t be got anywhere else, the distinctly delicious form of sex known as passive sex. Passive sex is the unique sexual pleasure derived from being stimulated by someone you are not necessarily attracted to. If you are massaged blindfolded, what difference does it make how attractive, or even what gender, the person massaging you is? Indeed passive sex can be all the more intense the less attracted you are to the person stimulating you, due to the novelty of opening up sexually under the most unlikely or appalling of circumstances. Since passive sex does not require reciprocation on your part, it is guilt-free: it happens to you. While the female patrons in the videos put up initial resistance, when they do finally succumb, they can internally justify it as something they themselves didn’t do but somebody did to them.

The same fascination may equally draw women who are privy to the situation and suspect they are being filmed. Ever perversely creative, the Japanese have come up with an entrancing means of catering to women’s need to act out exhibitionist fantasies in the real world. Some women may become intrigued by massage for the first time after hearing rumors; they may be among the prime audience of these videos and resolve to have a try or regularly haunt the massage parlors for this purpose. I suspect the patrons in these videos who appear the most nervous to be the very ones who are aware of being secretly filmed and fear the potential dangers involved. That is why they are so nervous, and excited, precisely at this possibility, and why their initial resistance gives way to total sexual abandon. It’s a calculated risk for them, one that remains relatively low. The people who watch the videos already understand their appeal and wouldn’t hold it against someone they recognized in one. And if someone did confront her about it, she could readily—and quite truthfully—deny any real knowledge of being filmed.

The blanket assumption that all spycam massage videos are too unbelievable to be true is ultimately unconvincing because it lacks a complex understanding of human psychology. It lacks irony, also important for knowledge of human behavior. Irony reveals how people often act quite contrary to the way others expect them to or they expect themselves to. Spycam massage videos are miniature dramas, fraught and funny at the same time, of anonymous women caught, willingly or not, in the most ironic of situations and thrust on the Internet for all to see. Reality TV pales by comparison.

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28 replies »

  1. Amazing psychological theory. A part of me hopes it’s true, a part of is disturbed if so.

    I do think that there are happy ending massages out there for women, but it’s hard to know for sure how prevalent. Must be far rarer than for men I’d assume.

    The important question is, how can I get a job as a masseuse for those Japanese women in Bejing?

    I remember when I first came across those ‘bang bus’ videos in the western overproduced porn world. I was very disturbed and titillated at the same time, naively believing they were true. Then of course you read the fine print and they’re all set up. It’s amazing that plastic porn stars can be so good at improv, who knew. But Bang Bus is a legitimate company and the porn industry, in America, has very strict regulations on checking actors for STDs for example and can’t just pick up someone randomly off the street to fuck…

    Something by a Soft on Demand studio in Japan must be legal and well-regulated, right? There are such underground spy videos, but the vast majority of what we see from Japan is ‘mainstream’ by porn standards, pixelated and all.

    I think the truth is more mundane. It’s not just massage videos, but all those where they grab a girl off the street and pay her money to suck off someone and that sort of thing. The girls always look so normal! They act so shy, such random reactions you wouldn’t think could be acted!

    However, the Japanese AV industry is just probably just very very good at cultivating the fake amateur style. The tan makeuped ‘gal’ subculture is their version of our boob job porn star whore, but only one niche fetish surrounded by a lot more girl next door types. Nobody watching porn these days really wants an unrealistic 10 supermodel, most of us are now much more into an average girl who looks like someone we personally know. At least those of us into Asian girls. And in Japan the AV girls have been in a culture where they learned how to act demure and pouty feminine even when in very charged sexually atmosphere. Culture might be all it is.

    With all the thousands of videos out there, economical or not, I don’t think it’s very realistic to believe that amateurs are really getting secretly filmed and sexually harassing and not only consistently getting away with it but making videos for profit. Even in a sexist and face-saving country like Japan eventually there would be some huge scandal, some politician’s daughter or celebrity or someone would be exposed and it would all blow up.

    Perhaps the truth is simpler, perhaps, due to various cultural reasons, the Japanese are just extremely good at making fake spycam films and we have the type of foreigner perspective to buy it.

    That said, I would like to think your theory is on to something because that would make it all the more hotter to watch these videos. I prefer the girl-on-girl ones, by the by.

    I’d be fascinated to read some scholarly research about the AV industry, statistics and demographics and the production background. Especially to learn more about but doesn’t seem to be much out there in English. If anyone out there could look up some translated articles, that would be appreciated.

  2. Relevant insights, Ray. Still, until someone provides me with convincing evidence that all spycam massage is staged, I’m betting on my theory. Yes, there are no lengths porn producers would not go to concoct staged reality porn of whatever type. But as I’ve said, the problem with assuming all voyeur porn, and massage porn in particular, is fake is it discounts the possibility that some women may actually enjoy being in this role – seduced on the massage table – whether knowingly or unknowingly aware of being filmed. The idea that no woman would ever allow herself to be caught in such circumstances is actually sexist, because it presumes and safeguards the traditional ideal of female virtue, in the face of male lechery. The interesting thing about a massage room in a shop at a fixed location is that it’s a place most women would find quite safe – very different from jumping in a van with strange men as in the Bang Bus genre. Countless massage shops in China and other countries get just as many female as male customers; I personally know numerous women in Beijing (both Chinese and foreign) who regularly go for massage. Once behind closed doors, who knows what goes in these countless instances? Wouldn’t it be more logical to assume some sexual stuff goes on with female customers, rather than none at all? Perhaps the real truth is that there are both real and staged massage videos out there side by side. And if there’s one country that could get away with spycam massage, it’s Japan, where government regulation of the powerful porn industry is comparatively weaker than in other countries. As for picking up women on the street and paying them to act in these videos, it seems unimaginable. Propositioning ordinary women on a busy street in Japan to be filmed having sex with a masseur and uploaded onto the internet? I doubt it. Most would laugh you off no matter how much money you offered. It would make far more sense to seduce women in the course of a regular massage and get them to pay for it – and the video that they’ll never know was surreptitiously filmed of them.

    • I’m not discounting that female ‘virtue’ may not be all we think it is. I’ve heard about female sex tourism in the Caribbean and Eastern Europe particularly. I do think it’s safe to be that its rarer than with men, is all.

      (Usually horny women wouldn’t pay, because they just feel they deserve to get it for free. On the other hand, it’s conceivable a woman would expect a ‘chaste; massage experience and find herself surprised at her own arousal and go with it, that is kind of how female sexuality often works)

      There are a myriad of possibilities. Perhaps staged and real coexist in the aisles of sex video rental shops of Shinjuku. Perhaps there already have been scandals with women suing over being exploited in videos, but being a face-saving culture all was swept under the rug with news stories never to be translated in English. Still, in today’s information age wouldn’t something come out eventually?

      Really hope I could contact a Japanese industry insider to spell it all out.

      Also, if only any massage-aficionado women would contribute to the conversation and be brutally honest…

      • “Perhaps there already have been scandals with women suing over being exploited in videos, but being a face-saving culture all was swept under the rug with news stories never to be translated in English.” – Yeah.

  3. I’ve watched these videos and am convinced “some” are genuine where others seem way too staged—-based upon the actions of the cameras which make it a 2-3 person operation. One person can not massage someone and magically have 2-3 cameras running and zoom in without someone else being involved. For me it is realistic that the woman could let herself go and agree to be masturbated but can not fathom how any off the street woman would agree to go any further than that. The videos I do believe are mostly genuine—-based on the premise being conducive to sexual blackmail—-are the hidden “store-cop” videos where young women are caught stealing products and brought into a back room somewhere—at this point the so-called cop threatens to call the parents if she does not acquiesce to perform sexual gymnastics…..
    Also the actual expressions of disgust—-very hard to act or fake—are seen on most of these.

    • Hidden cams can all be operated remotely, including zooming in. That’s their usefulness. Once a woman agrees to be masturbated, what’s so illogical about going one step further and getting fucked, especially if he’s gotten her extremely aroused? I don’t see any contradiction there. I suppose sexual blackmail is possible with the Yakuza perhaps involved, but I still don’t think that would be necessary if simple persuasion works on some of these women. Why use intimidation if some horny women voluntarily give you what you want? Moreover, being threatened with blackmail by underworld types is not conducive to sexually opening up and letting go, as these women clearly are. The ones who are the most aroused, as I said, are probably those who suspect they may be filmed and are going to these places for that reason! Remember, we’re only seeing the successful videos; there are probably a far greater number where the women balk and leave. Some of the women show disgust while continuing to go through with it, others seem to be quite enjoying themselves. The variety of expressions lends more credence to their authenticity.

      • I’m just saying I think more than one person is involved videotaping….sure cameras can be remotely operated but certain not by the guy doing the massaging! I’d have to watch a lot of them to get a real feel for whether they are authentic or not—-there is a LOT of money in porn—for the actresses too…..who knows perhaps they are all in on them together to make it look like they are dumb asses and don’t know for some reason….the fact that there aren’t any showing them bolting adds to the possibility they are all fake…..if this is a real deal why not show the so-called unsuccessful ones too? It isn’t like porn movie critics will lambast their asses in the New York Times Porn editorials or anything. In the young girl gets caught shoplifting videos ALL of the girls are freaked out with expressions of absolute disgust—REAL disgust is hard to fake—-the thought of being blackmailed into sucking off some old monkey old enough to be their grandfather is evident on their faces……and the dude seldom looks like Jackie Chan.

  4. Jack, of course the massage guy isn’t operating a camera. He doesn’t need to! Nobody is actually holding a camera. That’s the whole point of spycams. They are hidden all over the room in order to capture the massage from different angles. Yes, there is a lot of money in porn, and this is one kind of porn, authentic or not. The fact that it would be FAR cheaper for these producers to get real women to spontaneously succumb to sex than to pay women to fake sex is an argument in favor of their being authentic. What could be more brilliant than getting the patrons to unwittingly pay for the production with their massage fee? The reason you don’t see any of them bolting is that they’re only producing the videos that turn out reasonably successful (although I WOULD like to see the ones where they get angry or bolt as well); they’re simply calculating what they think most viewers want to see. Some of the patrons DO show disgust – at the same time that they allows themselves to be seduced; that’s what’s fascinating. On the other hand, many don’t show disgust but seem to enjoy it. What’s unrealistic about that? It would be unrealistic to assume that ALL women would show disgust. What’s realistic is to assume a variety of reactions and responses.

  5. One point that seems to be missing from this discussion is the legal release that such films, I presume, must have before commercial distribution can occur. I don’t know a thing about Japanese law, but these massages occur in a situation where a participants can expect privacy. This alone compels me to doubt their veracity in as much as that term is open to interpretation.
    I am willing to admit that there are women who, under the cover of deniability, seek out masturbatory services. There are industries that cater to a woman’s desire to be touched and prodded as long as she can maintain her purity. It’s the only reason that explains why women regularly have hair ‘appointments’ lasting several hours and costing many times the equivalent for a man. They clearly are interested in more than the results. Nail technicians understand this. Do women visit doctors more often for simple biological reasons than men do?
    If though any examples of this porn genre are authentic, I believe as has been implied above, that the women involved get some sort of compensation, even if one of the conceits is that she is unaware. In as much as men pay prostitutes, not for sex, but to go away at the end; women pay not for physical gratification, but for selfdeniability. Appearing in a video destroys that selfdelusion and, therefore, these women are paid not just for their complicity, but to maintain the social contract that good women don’t pay for sex and most importantly, they don’t want others to think that they do.

    • I agree that it’s hard to fathom how these videos could be produced without violating the law or triggering all sorts of lawsuits – in most of the developed world that is. But it’s well known Japan is not anywhere near as much of a litigious society as, say, the US, and they tend to resolve legal disputes informally out of court. That’s why I think this kind of hidden-cam porn can not only be gotten away with in Japan, but can flourish there. Also understand that there is a chain of distribution here and a dispersing of responsibility. The parlors create the videos and sell them to producers, who in turn may sell them to other entities who upload them on international websites. Since it’s not child porn, it’s very low priority for any kind of crackdown, and who to go after anyway when it’s never clear who has committed what crime?

      I tend to go for the simplest explanations. If these women who succumb to sexual massage are not aware of being surreptitiously filmed, why make them aware of it? Why rock the boat?

    • Yes, you’re correct, and thank you for this information. If you can point out other spycam massage videos with other porn stars, I’d highly appreciate it. I’m going to modify my thesis as I get more of this information. I still doubt, however, that all of these videos are staged with paid actresses. There’s no reason why they can’t use both – throwing some staged ones in among genuine ones, which increases the overall pool of videos to fulfill demand and spices things up with a handful of very attractive women. If one starts from the assumption that they must all be staged, one has to account for the many videos with older, flat-chested, and generally unattractive massage patrons (though I suppose one could argue that they might be “rejects” who can’t find work in the regular porn industry and settle for lower-paying gigs in reality porn). The main reason I don’t think they are all staged, as I argued in my post, is that it doesn’t make economic sense. The ideal situation for the people involved in creating and selling this material is real rather than staged scenarios. Getting as close to reality as possible is the whole point. The more they rely on paid actresses, the more they dilute and compromise their appeal, especially if too many people recognize these actresses. Who wants to watch “reality” porn which is obviously staged? Moreover, every time they have to pay an actress to perform, they reduce their profits (esp. if large sums of money are involved), whereas every authentic video – every woman they succeed in seducing without her knowledge – they increase their profits, because it reinforces the veracity and cache of this genre overall, not to mention that they don’t have to pay her anything; on the contrary, she’s paying them for her massage!

  6. There are many videos in this genre. The pictures you show are from a series that to my mind is the most realistic. I note that all the women in this series wear fancy lingerie, not the usual everyday underclothes. That says they intended to be seen. Some of the videos in this series seem to be clearly “fake” or acted. Yet others, the reaction of the woman drives the tempo. If these were scripted in advance then there would be token resistance, but in these he really has to work to get them to agree. I’m thinking of one where she initially gives a timid no answer but he eventually gets her panties off and then is in complete control. After the intercourse she hangs her head in shame and then he points to a spot on her lower spine as he justifies what just happened. If this is acting it is some of the best in any movies, Oscar nominated or otherwise.

  7. That’s curious, it worked as soon as I clicked on it. Are you in the US? Maybe there are geographical restrictions. The video is on voyeurhit (as the link shows) and the ID says “A fresh Asian girl is fucked on the massage table” Maybe you can find it through search. Good luck.

    • Got it this time. Yeah, it seems pretty authentic, but still begs the question of how one ever truly know, since anything can theoretically be acted by a good actor. I’m inclined to believe it’s real.

  8. Fantastic article. I am personally a believer that the older ones in the series, depicted with the pictures, are actually real. Then something like the laws changed and everybody’s favorite fatman went to the staged style.

    To be the devil’s advocate, I am not surprised that at least one of these ladies is a recognized AV starlet. The percentage of young women who have done AV in Japan is staggering. She may have been even more inclined to screw on film for money after finding out she was on film anyways. There is a very famous college dressing room hidden cam series and the makers were very quick to point out the one out of hundreds of unsuspecting women who went on to do AV. I would think that if the older ones were staged, more of the ladies would have been recognized. The newer ones from this series certainly have featured a lot of starlets I have seen elsewhere. As for the sexy underwear comment, true, but go to some of the other real voyeur videos and you can see that Japanese women prefer to don such. Cheers

    • Thanks for pointing this out. As I prefer Asian porn, I didn’t know about the Czech reality massage. I watched a couple and they’re clearly all staged: 1) Almost all of them were filmed in the past two years (I found one made 3 years ago), so it seems they got the idea from the Japanese, who have been doing this for much longer. 2) Most of these videos are filmed in the same room (note the decor, camera angle, and obscured upper right corner) with the same masseur, so it’s clearly an operation they’ve got going. 3) The masseur and all these female customers are too attractive, too smooth, too practiced; they’re clearly porn actors. 4) Japanese reality massage, even if much or most of it is staged, is far more convincing. The female customers are all different ages and attractiveness levels, many being quite ordinary looking, while the masseurs tend to be fat and unappealing; many of the massages unfold awkwardly when things get sexual; Asians tend to be much more body shy than Europeans, so this adds another level of excitement and drama. I was quickly bored by the few Czech videos I watched.

  9. Brilliant article and I think your theory has merit. I’ve lived and worked in Hong Kong and China for many years, and have enjoyed regular massages. I’ve always looked out for places where the masseuses tend to be older and more robust..not young girls and certainly not those who are obviously thinly disguised hookers. I like a good thorough massage, but not by a guy. What’s interesting is that on some occasions, the treatments can get a little ‘fruity’ by seemingly older, unattractive housewife types..who it seems also enjoy a few perks of the job, partly to alleviate their boring lives. I don’t go looking for it, but there are times when they fiddle where they shouldn’t. You just never know who gets turned on sometimes, and it makes the whole experience more interesting. I don’t there is anything wrong by that. And to your theory of the passive experience, absolutely right. I don’t care what they look like. It actually makes it all the more erotic.

    • Thanks for your perceptive comments. You might be interested in reading the book which this article is included in, Massage and the Writer. The whole book deals with just these questions.

  10. To add to my earlier comment, it could be possible that these were “soft girls.” Paid to show boobs though they knew there were “hidden cams”. Then fat man did his best to get them to further. This was a very common tactic in JAV to give some “reality” to the movies. (The “Excuse Me” series out of Europe worked the same way.)

    It seems that this the laws were changed about the same time that they did away with video voyeurism. Now it seems the law states that the actress must be told what she is getting into beforehand. Apparently this law is sometimes still ignored and one can read some sad stories of girls manipulated into the industry. Some pornsters were arrested for such a couple years back and were shocked that the law existed, or at least was being enforced.

    The difference in the “reality” factor between the older ones and the newer ones is profound. Something went on in the older ones which is what makes them so pleasurable to watch in a guilty kind of way.

    The same is true if you watch the older nampa JAVS and compare to the newer ones post circa 2008.

    The few online JAV sites that include these (seems Gogo’s makes an effort to have them taken down) always categorizes them as “Hostess and Sex Workers”. Could it be that they “picked on” these women because in hierarchal Japan they are the low fruit on the tree?

    In terms of passiveness, I know Japanese culture little beyond JAV. But I lived in China for five years and never ceased to be astounded how difficult it was for Chinese girls to say no, especially if the man was able to establish the least bit of authority over them.

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