Culture

Tokyo now has an 'adult theme park' thanks to a local porn company

It’s more of a building than a park, but it’s definitely for mature audiences only.

Ryosei Watanabe/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Japanese porn company Soft on Demand (SOD) opened what it calls an “adult theme park” in Tokyo, according to Yahoo News Japan. Dubbed SOD Land, the park is really just a five-story building in Kabukicho (Tokyo’s closest thing to a red-light district) and the corporatization of the local hostess club experience, with the added intrigue of porn performers. SOD Land, like the hostess clubs it emulates, is actually very anti-sexual contact and has been designed to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

It’s not quite what you think — SOD is known for its comparably unusual approaches to porn which include anything from quiz shows to synchronized, monogamous orgies. Japan’s hostess and host club culture is pretty demure, more along the lines of an American "shot girl" than an exotic dancer, but they do engage with the therapy-like/psychological prostitution components of the latter. SOD Land combines the scintillation of avant-garde porn with the socializing and ego-stroking of a hostess club.

The layout — The first floor has your basic amenities like an appointment desk and a gift shop. Throughout the building, you can also find little capsules where you can watch SOD videos. Upstairs, you can interview a sex worker (Japanese prostitution is also not exactly what you’re imagining either) through some plexiglass. This floor was designed in collaboration with the local sex work industry which has been hit hard during the pandemic.

On the third floor is SOD’s second iteration of its Syain Bar where you can drink with porn performers, also protected by glass. This level is the most analogous to the general hostess club experience, just swapping in a porn star for an attractive stranger. The top floor features a silent bar where female bartenders wear bikinis while they make drinks. They’re surrounded by a one-way mirror, can’t converse with guests, and serve cocktails through a small window.

You might be thinking, “you said there were five floors,” and there is indeed another floor for naive, amateur porn performers. It’s the basement. A standing bar is serviced by women who have either just debuted or are about to launch their career in a SOD video, most likely teenagers. Because there’s no better place for teens new to sex work than a room with no windows and an exit with steep stairs.

The coronavirus of it all — IT Media reports that SOD Land’s launch was nearly delayed because of COVID-19, but they pushed through anyway. SOD definitely made some plexiglass company very happy with every floor utilizing the barriers (which workers clean every hour). There are also hand-sanitizing stations and machines that will spray your entire body with an alcohol-free disinfectant spray. SOD dedicated a full page to its safety measures including mandatory mask-wearing, contactless temperature readings, and UV-sanitization of the rooms.

If that and the lengthy plane ride to Japan doesn’t strike hypochondria into your heart, the entrance fee is about $47. That gives you a free drink and a couple of pieces of merchandise. The entire building is very much like a theme park in that it’s structured in a way to get you paying for food, drinks, and products. It just so happens that most of the products they’re pushing are SOD porn videos.