A new documentary takes a close look at a male brothel (or “urisen”) in Toyko that specializes in male sex workers (also “urisen”) that usually identify as heterosexual, but nevertheless sell their bodies to their all-male clientele to make money.
The directorial debut of Itako, Boys for Sale had its North American premiere several weeks ago at Outfest in LA.
According to Gay Times, the director became acquainted with several male escorts between the ages of 19 and 30, who opened up about the ins-and-outs of their job in graphic detail.
The film presents their sexual exploits as illustrations. Several of the boys wear masks or request their faces to be blurred, while others have no problem letting their profession be known.
“I’m detached,” says one of the men, asked how he can have sex with other men when he identifies as straight. “My mind goes blank.”
Many of these sex workers were homeless or orphaned following natural disasters or personal ill fortune.
Others simply needed money and weren’t dating at the time.
The film also touches upon the spread of HIV in Japan, a disease that still isn’t acknowledged by the government.
On the film’s official website, Itako shares one incident that occurred during shooting of the film:
I followed my subject, a transgender woman, into a dark bar hidden away on the second floor of a building in 2-chome. “For only having a few seats, there are an awful lot of bartenders here,” I thought, glancing at the 10 or so young guys behind the bar. Opening what I thought was a drink menu, inside were photos of the young guys, together with fact sheets detailing their ages (18-24), hobbies, body measurements and sexuality (mostly straight). Next to this was a list of sexual acts each was willing to do with men and a price list.
I needed to know more — how they could claim to be straight but engage in sex work with men — but the only way to speak with the boys was to purchase them and bring them upstairs to a sex room…
You can watch the trailer here: