Suspect tells officers “I’m a woman.”

In the modern era, almost all Japanese homes have private bath/shower facilities. However, in some neighborhoods you can still find public baths.

Not to be confused with natural hot springs (around which resort towns are often built), public baths are a dying industry, but remaining examples stay in business thanks to customers who like the retro atmosphere of a trip to a bathhouse, or who simply want more spacious or luxurious tubs than they have at home, as fancier bathhouses have various types of baths, some with massaging air jets or pleasing aromas. A lot of their clientele consists of older local residents, and so there was nothing out of the ordinary when an unnamed 50-year-old customer, described as heavyset, paid the admission fee and entered a public bath in Sapporo’s Chuo Ward at about 9 o’clock on the night of January 10.

The customer, who was wearing a black bob-cut wig and feminine cosmetics, went into the women’s bathing area. At some point, another customer entered the women’s bath, but noticed the 50-year-old was conspicuously hiding the lower half of the body. Finding this behavior unusual, the second customer informed the staff, and the investigating employee discovered that the 50-year-old customer was physically male.

The police were summoned, and placed the 50-year-old under arrest for trespassing. When confronted, the 50-year-old said, in a falsetto voice, “I am a woman.” During questioning, the 50-year-old said “The men’s bath is dirty, and the women’s bath is more relaxing.”

In Japan, a small number of hot springs in Japan are classified as konyoku, meaning that men and women share the same baths, and some hot springs also allow mixed bathing in private baths that customers can reserve by the hour. Non-hot spring public baths, however, almost universally separate male and female bathers into different sections of the facility.

This article has been updated from its original form to include the 50-year-old’s quote of “The men’s bath is dirty, and the women’s bath is more relaxing.”

Source: Livedoor News/Yomiuri Online via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso