Love Joule, a bar located in Shibuya entertainment district of Tokyo, opened a masturbation bar in July that is "the first love and sex bar dedicated to women" in Japan, according to Love Joule's website.
Tokyo Reporter says that Megumi Nagakawa, the bar's proprietor observes that a bar typically has the shelves behind its service counter lined with bottles of alcohol, but Love Joule's masturbation bar adorns its wall with vibrators and other sex toys for women so that female patrons can have confidence to ask for service.
Rocket News reports the shelves behind the bar counter are stocked "with over 50 different kinds of female sex toys to help get patrons in the mood."
According to Megumi Nagakawa, Love Joule bar's proprietor, “Customers are happy that they have a place they can start talking about masturbation from the moment they sit down. Many people still see female masturbation as a ‘Pandora’s Box.’ It’s not something you can easily talk about at regular bars.”
Rocket News parodies the hush-hush attitude and general public ignorance about female sexuality and masturbation with a tongue-in-cheek information for curious men: "Women (do) masturbate (rumor has it they burp and pass gas too, but researchers still lack conclusive evidence)."
Tokyo Reporter says Nagakawa describes the atmosphere at the Love Joule bar as "fashionable and sexy in a different kind of space — perfect for girls-only discussions or a date.” Nagakawa adds, “Once they take a seat, customers are able to experience a pleasant place in which they can openly discuss masturbation. Since most people view female masturbation as something of a mystery or taboo, it is not a usual topic at typical bars.”
The Huffington Post reports that Love Joule is already popular with women in the commercial sex and adult film industry. According to Tokyo Reporter, bar patrons include women from the fuzoku commercial sex industry and adult video actresses. The bar's Facebook page says the former adult video actress Nayuka Mine, and a fashion model Sayo Hayakawa, visited the bar recently.
To protect ladies' privacy at the bar, only men in the company of ladies are allowed.
Bikyamasr reports that its reporter Akiko Teishi, visited the bar and spoke to some of the bar's patrons. Sayama, a nurse and customer at the bar, said: "I go because it is a safe place and I don’t have to worry about trying to brush off men all the time. Add in that it is also a great place to drink and talk about what we women love to talk about, sex and guys, that’s also a big pull."
Rocket News reports that Ikuko Ikeshita, a doctor with the Ikeshita Ladies' Clinic, told the Japanese language website, ZakZak, that in recent times, “there has been a movement to do away with the stigma surrounding female masturbation in Japan." He pointed to the rise in websites dedicated to topics on female sexuality and stores that sell female sex toys.
Bikyamasr concludes: "The opening, in many ways, signaled the dramatic change in women discussing their sexual needs in the country, after decades of embarrassment and negative gazes when women discussed sex or masturbation."
According to Bikyamasr, ZakZak reports that Ikuko Ikeshita comments: “Traditionally, whenever a female patient would come in with a problem like having a sex toy get stuck, hospital staff would look at them coldly. Now people realize that it’s just something that happens.”