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Love Hotels: The Hidden Fantasy Rooms of Japan
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Manufacturer: Chronicle Books
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Hardcover
Dewey Decimal Number: 779.092
EAN: 9780811856416
ISBN: 0811856410
Label: Chronicle Books
Manufacturer: Chronicle Books
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 156
Publication Date: 2006-11-30
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Studio: Chronicle Books

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Editorial Reviews:

Sex creates odd cultural conventions everywhere, but nowhere has an institution quite like the Japanese love hotel. To be rented by the hour for amorous liaisons, the theme rooms revealed in this provocative collection of photographs are steeped in fantasy, their elaborate d cor ranging from simulated subway cars to religious bondage with much kink in between. These brash rooms are fascinating in themselves, but also present a window into a very classified aspect of this society. The foreword by best-selling author Natsuo Kirino and passages from hotel guest books lend humor and context to these 80 haunting room portraits, creating an astonishing document of sex and romance, public and private space in Japan.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: More writing and more photos
Comment: I kind of feel bad giving this book 3 stars, but i think there could definitely be improvement. The variety of photographs seems huge at first, but after flipping through the book a couple times it's a bit repetitive.

I did enjoy the introduction as it gives a unique view of japan and the love hotel industry. Obviously there are many different opinions on why japans culture is the way it is and i enjoy them all whether they are right or wrong. This book has a 4-5 page insight into sex in japan.

Another section i really liked about the book where the customer questionnaires. Some where amusing, others where perplexing, but all were enjoyable. I think this section could definitely be expanded.

The two things that i feel would make this book a 5 star book are more writing and more photographic variety. As far as writing i would like expanded captions for photographs to help explain the rooms a bit more in detail. For photographic variety i would love more close up shots of small details and maybe more artistic shots. The pictures in this book tend to be more "real estate" than artsy. Even though i gave the book three stars and even though i think it could be improved i would recommend this book to anyone interested in japans sex culture, or just the odder aspects of japan.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: An interesting peek into Japanese sub-culture
Comment: The pictures are fantastic, and the "notes" written by the various couples range from pathetically sad to highly entertaining. Be sure to read the forward or you won't understand the significance of Love Hotels in general. Makes an interesting conversation starter if left lying around on the coffee table!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Commenting on the introduction
Comment: I haven't actually read this book, although the concept is certainly intriguing and the photos look excellent, however I did get to read the introduction here at Amazon and was struck by some of what this female Japanese author has to say about love hotels. She starts off discussing the history of the hotels and how they have changed into the modern commercialized fantasy play locations that are depicted in this book. However the second part of the introduction deals with the author's view of these hotels as encouraging impersonal sex which focuses primarily on male needs and encourages female sexuality in a primarily commercial sense.

What I get from this description is the fact that the rigid polarization of gender roles in Japan and the continued focus on formalized systems of interaction has created an atmosphere where female sexuality is still a social taboo outside of certain accepted institutions. In the past this was somewhat less of a problem since marriage was for family and social purposes and not for the gratification of the individual unless they were unusually lucky. However, the roles allowed for women to be taken care of financially and protected by their fathers and husbands, in exchange for providing them with domestic services including sex. Under those circumstances women were not expected to engage in sex unless they were either married or prostitutes of some kind and since marriage was not necessarily personal men could find sexual fulfillment outside, provided that they remained discreet.

How this differs from today though is that after the effects of feminism changed our perception of gender roles, women began engaging in other types of services which would allow them to financially support themselves to some extent and made them less dependent on men. This led to lessening of the sense of obligation towards men for the support that they provided and thus a lessening of the desire to satisfy them sexually. However, this also led somewhat paradoxically to the protection of women by cultural inertia rather than by men in particular thus making it less acceptable for men to find alternative outlets for their sexual needs while continuing and even strengthening the taboos for women. This leads to a situation where women's sexuality is virtually nonexistent except for commercial purposes which provide another incentive and where men's sexuality is strongly repressed. Not surprising then that fantasy hotels would be required to allow both men and women to express themselves, or that women's expression should end up being limited to a mostly commercial style.

This repression also explains the rise in sex related crime, whereas being able to play out those fantasies in a hotel might actually lower the incidence in actual public venues. Strangely enough companies hiring women still limit their wages and involvement because the reality is that most women are going through the motions until such time as they can obtain a husband. So the major changes in gender roles are primarily on the surface but the overall result has been a continued and gradually escalating restriction on sexual expression on the part of both genders. I find it ironic that to western minds the existence of love hotels seems like a lowering of moral standards in the context of promiscuity when the reality is that their existence points more towards a lowering of moral standards in the sense that a natural expression of basic human needs has been so perverted as to require an artificial commercial venue to allow it to occur at all.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Japanese Adult Theme Parks
Comment: Japan's infamous love hotels are a cultural art form. This is not a guidebook to the erotic world of Japan. Neither is it a collection of pornographic photos of hot Asian chicks and where to find them. This is a book of fine art photographs of the interiors of hotel rooms. There is not a photograph of a live person in the entire volume. The rooms in these hotels appear that they were designed by the animation artists of Disney. I kept expecting to find a "Pirates of the Caribbean" room. I had to settle for a room entitled "Pirate Room." It was pictured near an aquarium motif with the name "Underwater Room."
Each of the rooms shown in the book appears like an individual cell out of animated film. These rooms definitely represent individual rides in a pleasure park for adults. In most of the beautifully reproduced color photographs the viewer has to look carefully in order to tell if the room really exists or is just a skillfully done cartoon painting of a room. While every detail of each room seems almost like an unused exhibit in a museum, the one tip-off that the scene is real is that the beds shown in each location look like they had just been sloppily made. The spreads are usually slightly rumpled as if the maid was in a terrific hurry to get done before the photographer arrived. Another feature of the beds is that almost every bed has some form of chains with leather cuffs or other type of restraint in each corner of the bed and on top of the bed spreads. Many of the rooms also have S&M; restraints hanging from the ceilings or attached to the walls or on crosses against the walls. A simple list of some of the picture titles for the Osaka hotel rooms says much about the content of the pictures. "Igloo Waiting Area", "Naughty Nurse Play Area," "Hello Kitty S&M; Room," "Prison Cell," "Alien Abduction Play Area," "Subway Room," " Disco Ball," "Spider Room," and "Bondage Bathroom." There are many more amazing rooms with amazing names. There seems no lack of kinkiness and kitsch in these first-class establishments.
The photographer has a real gift for capturing the sensuality of these love hotel room designs. If sex is mostly above the neck, then the creators of these fantasy adventures are true erotic geniuses. The photographs are straightforward and amazing. It's difficult to show people living and loving without showing any people. The photographer has a real talent for recognizing the skill of the interior designers of these fantasies.
If the reader wishes to see real people working in the near-cousins of these Japanese cartoon fantasy worlds, Joan Sinclair has done a wonderful job with an entirely different approach in her book "Pink Box: Inside Japan's Sex Clubs." Since non-Japanese aren't usually allowed in these clubs, Sinclair's book is even more amazing and will be eye opening to any western audience. The American equivalent to the book "Love Hotels" is Timothy Hursley's "Brothels of Nevada." His architectural studies of the legal Brothel Industry occasionally show a real person within their gaudy architectural fantasy world created mostly through a system of combining over-sized trailers into sexual playgrounds.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Amusing
Comment: A fun collection of photos from love hotels throughout Japan. There is such a variety of different themes for love hotel rooms that this book, of necessity, can only contain a small fraction of examples. So after looking through it, I mainly felt I wanted more photographs of more rooms at more love hotels.

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