Ranko is a popular buzzword on the Internet these days and is the Japanese phrase for “orgy party” — Google the term ranko party and you’ll come up with hundreds of thousands of hits.
Some of the Web sites are for swingers, people who enjoy making out with groups of consenting friends or strangers. But the vast majority are merely ads for the latest trend in prostitution. At these so-called “orgies,” the guys pay money to take part, and the women are professionals.
“More than 100 groups seemed to have sprung up since last year in central Tokyo, but there are only three authentic, not-for-profit ones,” says an anonymous man, who counts himself among the very few authentic swingers.
Why the proliferation of these professional “orgy parties” in Tokyo? The main reason is the crackdown against local naughty nightlife, which city hall has been waging during the last few years, according to Spa! As the authorities drive prostitution deeper and deeper underground, sex-establishment operators have discovered that the Ranko sex parties are a relatively safe and highly profitable field of business.
Advertising is done furtively, on the Internet or through word of mouth. The venues are usually hotel rooms.
“Mr. D,” an organizer of such soirees, says there are four basic categories of commercial orgies: the high-class member system, common member system, high-class ‘guerrilla’ (one-off) system and common guerrilla system.
“The difference between the high-class and common categories are the fees and thus the quality of the girls,” says Mr. D.As for the fees, male participants in the classy members-only orgies pay anywhere from 100,000 yen to 500,000 yen per session. Yearly memberships can run as high as 5 million yen. For these prices, participants can expect to cavort with aspiring fashion models and actresses. On the other end of the fee scale are the common one-off parties, costing from 10,000 yen to 50,000 yen per session. The women usually hail from massage parlors and other sex establishments.
The most expensive — and secretive — of all are the high-class guerrilla Ranko events, according to Mr. D.
“These are completely underground.” he says.
Why do some customers opt for the priciest options? “The more expensive the session, the greater the secrecy,” Mr. D answers. “Customers who can afford to fork out huge fees are usually people with social status, and these people tend to be discreet.”
But regardless of the fees, all the events have one thing in common: they earn their organizers huge profits.
Spa! draws up a balance sheet for a typical, midrange orgy that took place recently. It cost the organizer 630,000 yen to stage, including paying 90,000 yen for each of five women who worked at three different sessions throughout the day.
Revenue, meanwhile, came to 900,000 yen: a total of 15 customers taking part in the three sessions, each paying 60,000 yen.
So the guy who planned all the fun pocketed 270,000 yen. Not bad for a day’s work.
With money like that to be made, we can expect the Ranko orgy parties to become a more common part of the sex scene — at least until the Tokyo government’s next round of crackdowns.