Warning: This post contains adult content
After my first used panty experience in Tokyo I desperately wanted to hunt down one of these secretive stores in order to better understand the fetish. I had been give some very vague directions from a local to a store called Rope in the Shibuya area of Tokyo. For those who don't know, there are many districts to Tokyo city. Shibuya to me is all about mainstream fashion. This is where the young shoppers go and it's also home to the busiest street crossing in the world.
Tucked around the corner behind the famous Shibuya 109 building is this secretive used panty store. It took me a couple hours to actually find the place as the instructions I were given were basic to say the least! All I had been told was to look out for a yellow sign in Japanese (which I cant read) then a small sign in a window stating ROPE, down one of the laneways a couple streets back from 109. This was all I had to go off! But I was determined to find this place.
Now that I finally found the place, I hesitated walking in. It looked like an old apartment building not a complex selling used panties. Was this store a joke? A myth? Was I being set up and Rope actually just sold... ropes? I was told to walk up one flight of stairs, go down the hallway and find the first door on the right. I found a door slightly ajar with a blatant yellow mat outside telling me I was at the right place. This was it. I was about to sell my soul, or perhaps my panties...
As you open the door the first thing you notice is a rather musty smell. Kind of like stepping into an un aired local op shop but much much worse. What I saw in front of me wasn't what I imagined. Somehow I expected the store to be huge, strategically lit and filled with colour and sound. Just like all the other adult stores in Japan. Blatant.
The store itself was small and cramped. Only about 20 square meters in size and it was packed to the roof with rack upon rack of girls uniforms. As I took my second step into the store I could see a man look up from behind the counter. He was in his 50s, newspaper in hand and he just stared at me but didn't say a word. I turned away from him and headed down the lane way of uniforms.
Packed inside the hundreds of plastic covers I could see not only girls high school uniforms but any sort of female uniform there could be, including McDonalds and airline stewardess. Prices varied depending on style of uniform as well as how elite the school was. If it were the formal uniform from a private girls school then higher the price went. If it came from just the local high school, then lower. I'm guessing the plastic covers weren't only to protect the uniform but to try halt the lingering odor from vanishing as these uniforms were not usually washed before sold...
As I reached the end of the row and turned the corner, I found a middle aged man rifling through a giant basket of loose panties. He didn't even look up as I brushed behind him. He was well and truly engrossed in the hunt. I could see that he had a few pairs slung over his arm. Obviously they were the ones he was considering purchasing. As another one was analyzed, inside and out, it made the cut or was thrown back into the tub as he reached for another pair. There were hundreds there... I was later to find out this was the washed panty stash. Men could hunt through for the most stained and interesting pairs. 3 for $20. What a bargain...
Once I could drag my eyes away from this man I found what I had come here for. In front of me was a wall full of used panties in bags obviously dirty and truly obscene. Row after row after row sat a platic bag the size to fit not only the dirty briefs but a photograph of the girl who had sold them. Girls in their high school uniforms, women in their business suits, club wear, jeans. Most of them showed their faces and some covered them up with their hair. Some flashed their knickers while they sat with their legs open in a photo and some stood there with their panties around their ankles.
As I scanned through the photographs they just seemed to get more extreme. Some had their underwear pulled tight into the nether regions and there was even a row dedicated to women standing over a toilet bowl while they pee'd into their briefs.... However most just sat there on the floor, smiling sweetly at the camera looking like the girl next door. It was almost like their best friend had just snapped their photograph while on a day trip to Disneyland, however I could see the backdrop behind them was the very store I was standing in. This was no fairytale location.
I was in shock. Some of the girls looked as young as 16. But most seemed to be of a legal age. I didn't know where to look or what to think. What was I doing here?? The man behind me coughed as he tried to move passed and make his way to the counter to pay for the 3 briefs he had finally decided on. I couldn't help but stare. The ones he chose were cotton and all seemed to have a floral type pattern to them. Grandma undies or very young girl knickers. Nothing sexy about them but obviously he thought they were the pick of the bunch.
I could see the cashier look at me as I stared uncomfortably at his client so I reached to grab a pair of bagged knickers off the wall to better analyze them. I turned it around and was confronted by the actual panties that had been neatly folded in order to show the dirty gusset. Proof that it was a worn pair. I turned it quickly back around as I could feel reflux creeping up my throat, only to find myself staring into the face of the girl I had picked. She was a young school girl, about 17. She was sitting cross legged on the floor, completely covered by her uniform with her hands behind her back like she'd been tied up. She didn't smile, she just stared and I felt my stomach lurch as I thought about what the man who made this purchase would actually be feeling. Nothing at all like I was feeling, I'm sure...
The sticker below it told me how much she was worth... $40 for this innocent high school girl. And the number on the bag told me how many days she had worn the brief in a row before selling them. That meant a more lingering scent and deeper stain... Lucky these bags were well sealed. I wondered if someone would pay high dollar for my Aussie vomit?
Most of the panties in the store seemed to be cotton based and all of a light colour. They liked the stain to be more obvious on the used underwear they were about to purchase. They didn't seem to like dark lingerie in Japan. They favored innocence or faux innocence as I found it to actually be.
"Are you selling?" The man behind the counter questioned after his other client had left the store. I guess he had been waiting until the buyer had left so we could talk money. I presume females would only ever come in to sell.
"Um no I'm just looking thanks...." I said rather embarrassed. What was I doing here?? I felt so uncomfortable but I wanted to learn more. I was here to research and I needed some answers. I had to suck it up....
"Um, actually, how much would you pay for mine? But I don't want to show my face...."
"If you hide your face I will give you $20. But if you show your face I can give you $30. That's more than I pay the other girls. You're half Japanese aren't you?"
He offered more for my nationality. He would've given less if I were full Japanese and believe it or not, even less if I had been full western! The fascination comes in the innocence of their own culture and these girls breaking the rules.
Once I started talking to him he explained to me how it worked. Girls could come and sell whatever underwear she was wearing but they had to take them off in front of him. He recommend wearing them for more than one day and doing whatever it takes to make them dirty. They had to have visible stains or he couldn't sell them. Secondly he had to see that you weren't cheating and you didn't have multiple pairs of underwear on. In other words, he had to see flesh underneath.
All underwear must have an accompanying photograph that he himself would take of you. If you didn't want to show your face, that was the least money you could earn. But the more you showed the more money you could make. He told me about the toilet out the back that a lot of girls liked to use. Here, he said you didn't even have to show your face but only pee into your pants while he took the photo. If you wanted to be completely nude while doing it he would give even more. It was so matter of fact. He said all of this without a hint of humour. This was his job not his own personal fetish. Well not anymore...
Rope has been around for 20 years in the same location but things had changed in that time. The first time I visited the store was in 2009 and then again last month I went to see if it was still around and try get some photos and more information. The desire for these used panties and uniforms had waned. The more easily accessible these things become the less desirable they were. Japan had a completely different style to their pornography ultimately creating different fetishes. They were about voyeurism and innocence. They created a sexual world that was so different to that of western culture. It was fascinating!
Here at Rope you could buy used pantyhose, bra and bottom sets, high school girl uniforms and from the hidden stash... even used sanitary napkins along with the girls blood type... Yes you heard me correctly... I was told a lot of the men who purchased the used panties or uniforms also wore the garments. That was half the fun. Not just possessing and sniffing them, some would actually wear them under their suit and then head off to work.
Girls who sold often came in on a regular basis. Some he told me just did it for fun, not for the money. I don't know about that... But then again the money he was offering would only cover a meal or two in Tokyo. Luckily the lingerie in Japan is so cheap. The style they sold was basic wear mainly and not the fun frilly items you would buy in a normal lingerie store in Tokyo. They were more the type that a young school girl would wear. Striped cotton tails. Faux innocence.
Prices for used panties varied from $30-$60ish AUD. It depended on the photograph. Sets that were used didn't cost much more but anything worn and with a photograph were all about the same. They also had vintage style bodysuits and chemises, washed, for around $35 which seemed to be popular and uniforms from $70- $700 (though I heard some could go into the thousands).
For those who want to find and see this store for themselves, here are clear directions on what to look for and where it is located. 〒151-0052 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Dōgenzaka, 2 Chome−20−4
Do you think lingerie itself is a fetish or just something everyone should indulge in?