A few weeks ago on a Saturday night, I was sitting at home, drink in hand, scanning the GetHiroshima website for something interesting to read, when I saw an event that caught my eye: Goto Izumi’s “Wabi-sabi Underground Sextertainment Tour.”
I was intrigued. As a fellow lover of underground culture I’m always interested in visiting places that aren’t on the average tourist map. In fact, when I did some research into the Hiroshima Daiichi Gekijo (Strip Theater) that was part of the tour, based on one of Goto Izumi’s Deep Hiroshima columns, I found only one local who knew anything about it.
I was a little hesitant to go by myself, but took the plunge, swallowed some Dutch courage in the form of an alcoholic beverage or two and met with a group of around 50 other people at Organza, Goto Izumi’s avant guard café. The group consisted of equal numbers of men and women and a good mix of both Japanese and foreigners.
We set a cracking pace and wound our way through the streets of Hiroshima, stopping by numerous convenience stores to purchase drinks and snacks. There is no bar at the venue so BYO is both totally acceptable and encouraged.
The women paid their ¥3000 admission fee while the men flashed (no pun intended) their GetHiroshima magazines and received a discount. The normal price for admission is ¥5000 for men while seniors are ¥4000.
We settled into our seats, had the rules explained to us (no touching, no photography and definitely no speaking or texting) and waited in anticipation as the lights went out and the mood shifted.
Now I’ve been to both male and female strip shows in Australia and I must admit, neither did a thing for me.
This, however, moved me in a way I’d never experienced before. The only word I can think of to describe it was that there was an ‘atmosphere.’ The lights went out, everything went dark and we waited with bated breath for someone to appear on stage. The show was captivating, spellbinding and no one could tear their eyes away from the scene in front of them… and this was before we saw even a GLIMPSE of flesh.
Each woman who performed was a true entertainer and the mix of dance and acrobatics combined with beautifully designed outfits made by the women themselves was two hours of a Sunday night that was well spent.
After each performance there was time for an optional ¥1000 Polaroid photo with the women and believe me when I say everyone was welcome to an ‘open’ photo opportunity.
Perhaps the thing that struck me the most was that this experience was classy, tasteful, elegant, refined, beautiful and seductive. Foreigners, particularly those from Western countries would surely agree with me that the majority of strip clubs and shows in their respective home countries are almost certainly in complete contrast to this. There is also far more flesh on display from the very beginning, with women dressed in scantily-clad outfits.
Just like Japanese society, the show consisted of many layers and each was revealed slowly and in an appropriate manner. The extreme openness of sex and sexuality in Japan is sometimes seen as contradictory to this belief, but I would encourage anyone to visit Hiroshima Daiichi Gekijo (Strip Theater) and see what this ‘hidden’ world is all about.
The Daiichi Gekijyo has four 2-hour shows day starting at 13:30. Admission is strictly over 18s only.
- Monday-Thursday (except day before National Holidays）13:30, 16:00, 19:00, 21:30
- Friday, Saturday and day before National Holidays: 13:30, 16:00, 19:15, 21:45
- Sunday and National Holidays: 13:30, 16:00, 18:30, 21:00
Address: 9-3 Yagenbori, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi
Address in Japanese: 広島市中区薬研堀9-3