But she described a home life where her parents hate each other and she hates them. I might be able to stop it if I don’t feel lonely anymore.”Advocates for girls say this practice is nothing short of child prostitution.“Some girls tell me it’s as easy as working at a karaoke or a fast-food store, but that’s not right,” said Yumeno Nito, a 27-year-old who runs Colabo, a support group that helps exploited girls.
Here, “high school dating” matches girls in uniforms with men in their 40s and 50s and beyond. Sometimes this involves a walk around the block or a drink in a bar.
One of the people trying to do something about it is Jun Tachibana, from the nonprofit Bond Project, which is trying to get girls off the streets and stop them from falling into the JK business.
Tachibana and two colleagues were out on patrol on a recent night in the busy area around Shibuya, its neon-filled streets lined with cheap restaurants and fast fashion, looking for girls who might be in trouble.“Hi,” Tachibana said, approaching a girl crouching in a busy meeting place near the Shibuya train station exit, her shoulders hunched over, carrying two bags.
Some efforts have been made in recent years to curtail the business, but they have amounted to little – partly because so few people consider it a problem.
Yuki Aoyama, a photographer known for his “schoolgirl complex” pictures, said the way he sees it, it’s just a business.“There are men who want to spend time with high school girls, and there are girls who want to make money,” he said.