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An Appreciation of Japanese Strip Theatre: Part 3 – Souvenirs and Photo Shoots

Japanese stripper spreadWesterners nearly always find the Japanese stripper photo-shoots unusual; after her show, each stripper comes to the side of the stage and poses for photographs for audience members. She has her own digital or Polaroid camera and you pay 500 yen per photo. She gives you Polaroid photos straight away, and you collect digital photos from the box office when they have been printed.

Her first photos are always in costume – those wanting nude photos know to wait. When everybody wanting a costume photo has got one, she will take her clothes off and pose for nude photos.

In some theatres, each stripper poses for photos immediately after her show, while in others they run two or three shows and then two or three simultaneous photo-shoots. I find the latter preferable since the shows move faster, and there is less sitting around waiting.

There is no pressure on the audience to take photos, and if you wish you can stay all day and not take one. But I always like to participate because if you do, the lady is more likely to give you an eye-full in her later shows, particularly if she doesn’t get many takers from other audience members.

Dancer in Japanese strip clubMost Japanese take photos of Number 1 strippers and porn stars – to them, these are trophy photos. They are less likely to take photos of Number 6’s, regardless of how cute and attractive they may be. So if you are on a limited budget and simply want a souvenir of your visit, I encourage you to give your business to a Number 6 – they need it more!

The theatres and the strippers share the proceeds of the photo shoots – they are an important earner for both. The irony is that No 1 strippers get both the highest appearance fee and the most photos.

You may take a photo of the stripper, or you may ask another audience member to take one of you and her together. I always do one of each – 2 photos for 1,000 yen. I budget about 10,000 or 11,000 yen per theatre visit – 3,000 to 4,000 yen for entry, 5,000 to 6,000 yen for photos, and a beer or three.

The strippers will adopt any pose you like, and most will be as explicit as you like. They all understand “open” and “smile” – though I found accidentally that “smile” has nothing to do with facial expression: she reached straight for her pussy and stretched it!

Sometimes, depending on how far the stage juts into the audience, the best seat in the house is not necessarily at the front of the stage, but at the side, in front of the posing spot. Here you get the both the strip show and a full 10 minutes of pussy show while the Japanese take photos – and often you are the one asked to take a photo of a customer with a stripper!

Japanese strippers posing for photos

Incidentally, nearly every stripper I have photographed has spoken some English, and usually they have originated the conversation.  Many have asked me my name and where I am from.  Some write personal greetings in English on a polaroid photo, as you will see in the photo from Kyoto.  So I do not accept the widespread belief that Japanese speak no English, since I doubt that English is taught in stripper-school or is a requirement of the job!Indeed, almost all students graduating high school in Japan have several years of English language education, though the level of fluency is questionable as you will see from this link.

This leads me to believe that the common refusal to admit gaijin to Japanese sex establishments is more a male fear of losing face than anything else: male doormen or touts fear losing face if they are not fluent in English or do not understand 100% of what the foreigner says, or if the foreigner cannot understand everything they say. Japanese women have no such inhibition, and are keener to try something different or unusual. On my next trip to Japan I will test my theory on establishments with female touts and sign-board holders.

Sometimes on strip theatre programs you will see that a particular day features “Bingo”. This is similar to western bingo: you buy sheets of numbers for about 500 yen and try to get a straight line of called numbers. The prizes for bingo are usually signed photo portfolios of each stripper. The Japanese value these prizes so much that they will often immediately pay for a polaroid of themselves and the stripper holding the portfolio!


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