Dirty dancing drives Tokyo crowds crazy: British company teams up with Japanese to turn porno peep shows into pop entertainment

PEEP shows are normally found in the shabby backstreets of red-light districts, visited by men in raincoats with impure thoughts. But in Tokyo a British company has turned the peep show into mass entertainment for young people by combining disco rave music with vaudeville, miniskirts, clever marketing and the impure thoughts of 2,000 people a night.

The 'porno-turns-pop' experiment was devised by Wembley plc, the British leisure management company, and Nissho Iwai, a Japanese trading company. Two years ago they opened Juliana's Tokyo, borrowing the name from the nightclub in London, and set about attracting affluent young Tokyoites looking for a new fad.

The main attraction at Juliana's in Tokyo is the long 4ft-high platforms which run down both sides of the dance floor. Young women in body-hugging dresses which stop not far below the navel cavort on these platforms, as crowds of men gather below to look up their dresses, chanting their approval like a crowd at a bullfight. As the women sway back and forth on their high-heel shoes, the men's heads follow hypnotically. The music gets louder, locking all the participants into an irresistible frenzy, steamy and salacious . . . if it were not for a number of bouncers, the impure thoughts could evolve into a breakdown of public order.

'We knew women liked to display themselves on platforms in Japan,' said Chris Holmes, head of publicity for Wembley in Japan. Juliana's made 2.3bn yen (pounds 13m) last year, double the target figure for the first year in operation. To keep up the interest, the company now issues recordings of the disco music played at the club and has its own television programme. So confident are they of success that there is to be a Juliana's Two in Tokyo, and another branch in Osaka, before the end of the year.

For the men who come to Juliana's it is a chance to look up women's skirts for nothing more than the 5,500 yen (pounds 31) entrance fee, and to dance at the same time.

For the women it is a chance to show off in the safety of an environment where they will not be attacked. The more daring women take off their underwear before getting up on the platform. The Japanese entertainment press has dubbed Juliana's as sick, and definitely not an 'in' place to go, but the crowds keep coming.

'I have a different life here from my daily life,' said one young woman with an office job. 'As long as I can keep my figure, I will keep on dancing.' When the club closes, the girls flock to the toilets to change out of their mini-skirts before going home.

(Photograph omitted)

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