Earlier this year, police in Tokyo and Osaka began a major crackdown on joshi kosei (high-school girl) “reflexology” massage parlours. As well as massage, the uniformed girls would offer male customers a range of unconventional services such as ear-cleaning, palm-reading and hiza-makura (using the girl’s lap as a pillow).

In place of the old JK parlours, however, a new type of establishment has begun springing up: the taiiku-zuwari cafe. These new cafes ostensibly don’t offer any services involving physical contact, nor do they serve food or drinks. What they do offer is the chance to watch girls sitting like they do in gym class.

Like massage parlours all over the world, JK “reflexology” parlours are often a front for the provision of sexual services. By taking the “JK” (high-schooler) out of the name, and rebranding as a cafe, these parlours in Osaka are attempting to stay on the right side of the law. And in taiiku-zuwari, they’ve found a new specialization that they can brand as “look-but-don’t-touch”.

Taiiku-zuwari (or -suwari) is a sitting position practiced in Japanese schools. To sit in taiiku-zuwari, you sit on the ground and bring your knees up in front of you, holding your shins with their hands. Japanese students are expected to sit in taiiku-zuwari during gym class, assembly, or generally any time they’re sitting on the floor listening to a teacher. Of course, if a girl is wearing a short skirt, sitting in taiiku-zuwari potentially reveals her underwear.


One regular customer describes the service at a taiiku-zuwari cafe:

“Although the sign says ‘cafe’, they don’t sell food, and you can’t order drinks. Before entering, you can buy a drink from the vending machine outside. 2,000 yen [US$18] gets you 20 minutes just chatting with a uniformed girl in the regular seats, but if you pay extra, you can go into a different room. There, the girls are all sitting on the carpet in ‘taiiku-zuwari’. Of course, you can see right up their skirts.”

Taiiku-zuwari cafes purport to have a strict no-touching policy, insisting that the services on offer are limited to chatting and playing card games together. But dressed in school uniform and sitting like this, the girls are presented in a way that suggests they’re underage, even if they actually aren’t.

These new cafes are being rebranded for a simple reason: to evade prosecution. Three proprietors of the old JK parlours in Osaka were arrested in May on suspicion of breaking child welfare laws. Among the approximately 100 girls working for them in massage parlours, 70 percent were found to be under 18.

Sources: Livedoor News, Naver Matome
Top image: Amazon