Hope you’re not getting tired of love hotels. Today’s sample from the book “Love Hotels – An Inside Look at Japan’s Sexual Playgrounds” (reprinted with permission) is about the dark side of love hotels, an incredible S&M hotel in Roppongi called the Alpha-In, and a description of some of the shocking crimes that have taken place in them.
CLASSIC HOTEL – Alpha-In
This is a hard-core S&M hotel with professional equipment for serious fetishists. Every single room has suspension systems, bondage horses, crosses, gynecological examination tables, stocks, open toilets, or sex swings. A lot of Japan’s amateur S&M videos are shot here (at a cost of 100,000 yen for 5 hours) and when you see the incredible assortment of rooms, with themes like ‘the swapping style,’ ‘the medical style,’ ‘Japanese style,’ ‘Chinese style,’ ‘the shame style,’ ‘the cave style,’ and ‘the mirror style,’ you’ll understand why this place is so expensive. The cheapest ‘beginner’ room is 9,600 for a rest and 15,600 for a stay. The most expensive room is a giant swapping facility with roof pulleys, two crosses, an open toilet, bondage horse, cage, stocks, and much more that costs 16,600 for a rest and 31,000 for a stay.
To get there, go out of exit #3 of Roppongi Station to Roppongi Crossing, and walk down Gaien Higashi Street to the second set of lights. Turn right and walk another block until you come to Sakurada Street. Turn left and you’ll find the Alpha-In on the left. If you’re embarrassed to ask directions to a S&M hotel, ask for the nearby Russian embassy.
Avrg. Sat. rest: 11,600 | Avrg. Sat. stay: 21,600
Address: Minato-ku, Higashi-Asabu 2-8-3, Tel. (03) 3583-3655
Note: the above rates are subject to change
Love hotel nightmare: You get in bed with your partner and start making love. You notice that the mattress is a little lumpy, but in the throes of passion, ignore it, thinking that it’s just because the hotel is old and a little run-down. After making love, you spend a slightly restless night sleeping on the lumpy mattress, and in the morning, go home, forgetting about the whole thing. A few days later, you get a call from the police. They tracked you down using your car’s license plates, which were recorded by the hotel’s staff while you were in the room.
Did you, the police officer wonders, notice anything unusual about the room? About the bed in particular? Well, the mattress was a little lumpy. But that can’t be significant, can it? No, you can’t remember anything unusual.
So, the officer asks, were you unaware that there was a dead body under the mattress the night you stayed in the hotel? You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you? And how is it that you didn’t notice?
This happened to at least 12 couples who stayed in a Kyoto love hotel be-tween the morning of February 11, when 28-year-old singer and karaoke instructor Yukari Inoue was murdered and February 19, when her corpse became so bloated that a maid noticed that there was someone under the mattress.
When the manager was called, he found the body of Inoue, naked except for some rubber hair bands around her wrist. There were no signs of foul play, and no drugs were found in her system. She had disappeared some time before, and no one ever found out what happened to her or how she died.
Stories about love hotel murders are not uncommon in Japan, and are one of the most serious problems for an industry trying to clean up its image.
In 1981 a serial killer murdered three women at love hotels in the red-light district of Kabuki-cho in Tokyo. Three women were killed in 3 months, one of them a high-school student. For the first time ever, newspapers published the young victims’ photos, and the incident was extremely damaging to the love hotel business.
It’s not always women that are murdered in love hotels, however. In 1998, another famous crime, the Sapporo Satsujin Jiken occurred. At 5 AM on May 28, an employee of a downtown love hotel found the body of Shingo Sano stabbed to death in one of their rooms. The police were unable to solve the crime at first, but in October of the next year, another death provided an important clue in the Sano case.
The murder of a woman named Satsuki Fukuyo lead the police to investigate a 24-year-old woman named Reiko Furukawa. A fingerprint belonging to Furukawa was found at the crime scene where Fukuyo was killed, and it matched a print found the year before in the love hotel where Sano had died.
When Furukawa was arrested, she confessed to police that she had killed Sano as well. Apparently, she was despondent after breaking up with a man she had been dating for the last 4 years, and had called a ‘telephone club,’ where she had arranged a date with Sano. They went to a love hotel together, but Furukawa became angry when Sano treated her like a prostitute and stabbed him in the abdomen with a knife.
Furukawa met Satsuki Fukuyo at a Christian group, and one night, when she confessed that she had committed a terrible sin, Fukuyo quoted a Bible passage which said that even if a person had committed murder, God could save her, causing Furukawa to think that Fukuyo had found out about her crime and resolved to kill Fukuyo. She lured her out of her apartment, gave her a knockout drug, and killed Fukuyo by turning on the gas in her house.
Another famous love hotel crime was the Niigata Love Hotel Murder in 1986. An unemployed man named F was arrested for battering his wife and incarcerated in prison in Niigata. His wife divorced him, but he was given a suspended sentence and released 3 months later.
End of Excerpt
The author of “Love Hotels – An Inside Look at Japan’s Sexual Playgrounds” spent years visiting love hotels around Japan, interviewing love hotel designers, owners and staff, and wading through Japanese books on sex and love hotels to bring you this book.
It’s 182 pages of information about love hotels – their history, the people who design and operate them, their place in Japanese society, crime, and much, much more. There’s also a love hotel guide with information on how to get to the best hotels in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, Sapporo, and Fukuoka.
Editor’s note: this post was originally published in Jan 2009 and has been updated.