If you are an English speaker who has been on the internet more than once in the past 15 years, then you probably think you know what “JK” means. It is one of the few instant messenger abbreviations that stuck around even after most messenger apps disappeared following the explosion of Facebook.
However, this is a blog about Japan and, in Japan, “JK” does not mean “just kidding.” It is short for “jyoshi kosei,” which translates to “high school girl” and refers to an entire industry constructed around the underage girl next door.
So, maybe you are giving this the benefit of the doubt right now. Maybe you are thinking that JK businesses must market beauty and fashion products to high schools girls.
It is a compensated dating industry and it is all kinds of shady.
Does sex sell? Or are we just selling sex?
Profiting off of the sexualization of school-aged girls is not an issue unique to Japan. Just take a moment to consider the big names in the American entertainment industry over the last decade or two – Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez…the list could go on and on.
But, there is just something straight up creepy about a middle aged man being able to buy a “date” with a high school girl in her school uniform. And by “date,” I mean “go for a walk” or “have a fortune telling session.”
Vice News: Schoolgirls for Sale in Japan
Vice News is one of my favorite online news sources. In addition to the articles posted on their website, they also upload documentary style videos to their YouTube Channel on a regular basis.
Recently (well, semi-recently), they produced a mini-doc about JK businesses and their relationship to the exploitation of young girls. It is short and sweet (maybe a poor word choice there?), so if this topic interests you, check it out – and if you do, let me know what you think!