While the naming of newly opened Shag in Omotesando might cause sniggers among anyone familiar with British innuendo, the name — inspired by Sex, a boutique run by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in the 1970s — is fitting for a place that touts itself as Japan’s first mainstream fetish nightclub.

While entrance is free, Shag, which held an opening party during Fashion’s Night Out in September, turned away over 450 people who didn’t fit the club’s dress code, many of them salarymen in sweat-soaked dress shirts and neckties. And yet inside, only a few were dressed up in leather, spandex and other outfits associated with fetish fashion. On the black dance floor, Japanese men awkwardly bobbed their heads to house and electronic music while a performer dressed in a zentai suit (a garment that covers the whole body and face) danced in a cage next to a middle-aged woman wielding a whip.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.