Tokyo court ruling says adultery OK if it’s for business: experts


Staff Writer

A decision by the Tokyo District Court to reject a compensation case against a night club hostess who had a long-running sexual relationship with one of her clients effectively endorses adultery, experts say.

The ruling said the man’s wife was ineligible for compensation from the hostess because of the business motive for the relationship — to retain a good customer.

Similar suits in the past have awarded damages against a third party who had a sexual relationship with a married person, in what is considered a measure to support marriage.

The April 2014 ruling by presiding Judge Masamitsu Shiseki is discussed in the current edition of legal magazine Hanrei Times, which covers court cases. The magazine quoted judicial experts as saying it was the first-ever case to discuss the legitimacy of so-called makura eigyo, which roughly translates as “pillow sales tactic.”

“Makura eigyo” refers to a hostess maintaining a sexual relationship with a customer to ensure that he continues to visit the club regularly.

Some experts say the case may set a new precedent justifying extramarital affairs — as long as the third party is motivated by business interests.

In the lawsuit, the man’s wife demanded ¥4 million from the hostess for psychological distress. She alleged that the woman had conducted a sexual relationship with her husband, a company president, for over seven years.

But the court dismissed the claim, with the judge comparing the hostess to a prostitute, saying that the only difference is whether she received payment for sexual intercourse “directly” or “indirectly.”

As long as the intercourse is for business, it “does not harm the marital relationship at all,” the judge said.

The wife did not appeal the ruling, and the case was finalized.

Lawyer Katsuyuki Aoshima, who represented the wife in court, expressed strong concerns about the decision, calling it “a vicious precedent.”

“The judge did not need to introduce a new standard of allowing a sexual relationship outside marriage, introducing the word ‘makura eigyo’ out of nowhere,” Aoshima said.

He said neither defendant nor plaintiff had brought up the phrase in court. He added that the judge should have focused more on determining the facts, as the hostess denied having had sexual intercourse with the man.

“Without spending much time on confirming what happened, the judge concluded that the intercourse was a typical case of makura eigyo,” the lawyer said.

Aoshima said he fears the case may help weaken legal protections against adultery.

“Citizens should discuss whether compensation should be made by a hostess having a sexual relationship with a married man. A judgment like this case shouldn’t be set as a new standard without clear and logical reasoning,” he said.

  • cities are cultural cesspools, plain and simple. they are the epitome of our pyramid-scheme economy.

  • Karagarga

    An interesting legal decision.

  • Doubting Thomas

    She’s suing the wrong person. She should be suing her husband. As far as I see it, she has no ground for compensation for the bad behavior of others not directly affecting herself. i.e., she can’t sue the local bar because her husband racks up huge tabs every month.

    Now, if she was the hostess and her husband was being cuckolded by her as part of her job, it would be entirely reasonable for him to compensation from her. That’s what I initially thought this case was about.

  • Eagle

    I am waiting for a day when adultery, all kind of sexual activity, and sexual orientation will be kept as a private matter of the people involved. It’s their own decision, nobody forces them to commit adultery, to have sex with anyone or to swing in any direction as of their choices for a sex partner. No law will ever be able to do anything with people sexual activity.

    The only exception should be the criminal cases of forced prostitution and rape committed to the detriment of any gender.

  • Testerty

    Japan judiciary just made prostitution legal, in case you missed the point. Since it is a business, I guess the income tax department will be asking the hostess for a tax assessment soon. Seven years back tax on the hostess is going give the wife the last laugh.

    • Michael Smith

      That’s already happened. There is no allegation that she received anything except continued business at the club. Wife gets no laughs.

  • Glamour Girl

    She should be suing the husband who cheated not the woman he cheated with, even if she knew he was married she had no moral responsibility to end the relationship.