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The First Year

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ELIZABETH NAVARRO
ELIZABETH NAVARRO

The Love Hotel


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A love hotel is a type of short-stay hotel found around the world operated primarily for the purpose of allowing guests privacy for sexual activities. The name originates from "Hotel Love" in Osaka, which was built in 1968 and had a rotating sign.[1] Although love hotels exist all over the world, the term "love hotel" is often used to refer specifically to those located within Japan.


Love hotels can usually be identified using symbols such as hearts and the offer of a room rate for a "rest" (休憩, kyūkei) as well as for an overnight stay.[2] The period of a "rest" varies, typically ranging from one to three hours. Cheaper daytime off-peak rates are common. In general, reservations are not possible, and leaving the hotel will forfeit access to the room; overnight-stay rates become available only after 22:00. These hotels may be used for prostitution, although they are sometimes used by budget-travelers sharing accommodation.


Although cheaper hotels are often simply furnished, higher-end hotels may feature fanciful rooms decorated with anime characters, be equipped with rotating beds, ceiling mirrors, karaoke machines,[4] and unusual lighting. They may be styled similarly to dungeons or other fantasy scenes, sometimes including S&M gear.[5]


These hotels are typically either concentrated in city districts close to stations, near highways on the city outskirts or in industrial districts. Love hotel architecture is sometimes garish, with buildings shaped like castles, boats or UFOs and lit with neon lighting.[2] Some more recent love hotels are ordinary looking buildings, distinguished mainly by having small, covered or no windows.[6]


The introduction of the automobile in the 1960s brought with it the "motel" and further spread the concept. Japanese housing trends at the time were characterized by small homes with sleeping areas being used as common areas during the day and, as a result, little opportunity for parents to engage privately in intercourse. Married couples therefore began to frequent love hotels. By 1961, there were around 2,700 tsurekomi inns in central Tokyo alone. Hotels of the time featured unusual attractions such as swings and vibrating beds. The Meguro Emperor, the first castle-style love hotel, opened in 1973 and brought in an average of approximately 40 million monthly.[3]


In 1984, the Businesses Affecting Public Morals Regulation Law placed love hotels under the jurisdiction of the police. For that reason, new hotels were built to avoid being classified as "love hotels"; the garish, over-the-top, bizarre designs and features of the past were significantly downplayed. Beginning in the 1980s, love hotels were also increasingly marketed toward women. A 2013 study showed that couples' selections of rooms at love hotels were made by women roughly 90% of the time. The Businesses Affecting Public Morals Regulation Law was amended in 2010, imposing even stricter limitations and blurring the line between regular hotels and love hotels.[8] Keeping in mind legislation and a desire to seem more fashionable than competitors, an ever-changing palette of terms is used by hotel operators. Alternative names include "romance hotel", "fashion hotel", "leisure hotel", "amusement hotel", "couples hotel", and "boutique hotel".[6]


Love hotels (Korean: 러브호텔), also known as love motels,[11] first appeared in South Korea in the mid-1980s. They were originally called "Parktel" (Korean: 박텔). Their boom and growth was originally attributed to the 1988 Olympics which took place in Seoul.[12] The hotels have historically been seen as seedy, with some residents speaking out against them and not wanting them within certain distances of schools and residential areas.[13][14] Some hotel owners have tried to remove that element from their business by upgrading, offering cleaner modern services, and removing some of the more sexual elements from their decor.[12] They are considered a taboo topic in South Korea and a photo exhibit of love mot




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