Love Hotels: An Inside Look at Japan’s Sexual Playgrounds

  • Profiles of the Day
  • More at Japan Probe Friends...

    Interested in learning something about Japanese love hotels? Ed Jacob’s new book Love Hotels: An Inside Look at Japan’s Sexual Playgrounds might be what you’re looking for:


    As one would expect from it’s title, this book explains Japan’s love hotels to an English speaking audience. The first portion of the book contains a interesting history of the sex industry. One eventually finds oneself in the Post-War period, when the birth of the love hotel was born. It turns out that the operators of such hotels used a variety of names before the term “love hotel” became popular (quotation from the introduction of the “Origin” section):

    The oldest name, moteru, dates back to the 1950s and comes from the English “motel.” When Japanese people hear this word, rather than imagining family road trips during the summer vacation, they think of sex, because when the motor hotel came to Japan, it was used exclusively by couples looking for a place to spend some intimate time together.

    When motels moved into the downtown areas, they needed a new name, and came to be known as abecu hoteru, which comes from the French word “avec” and means “with.” People who use this term are showing their age, though, because that‘s how love hotels were referred to in the 1960s and early 1970s.

    The word “rabu hoteru” dates back to the early 1970s, and the name came about quite by accident. Apparently, it originated in Osaka, where there was a popular hotel called the “Hotel Love.” It had a neon sign, and the name circled around and around, so confused patrons often referred to it as the Love Hotel‘ because that was how they had seen it on the sign. Love hotel is still the most popular term, but more often than not, it gets shortened to ”rabuho.‟

    Later portions of the book go into detail about the inner workings of the love hotel industry, including some interviews with operators of love hotels. It also contains reviews of individual love hotels found in Tokyo and Osaka, with helpful guide information provided for those who want to know how one goes about staying at a love hotel. And, of course, there are lots of sleazy love hotel-related stories and translations of diary notebook entries written at love hotels.

    This book is available on and For sample pages, check out the book’s official website.

    Related Posts with Thumbnails