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Mampukah Pariwisata Seks Menyelamatkan Kota Kecil di Jepang dari Kepunahan?

Sumber Gambar: The Japan Times

Negara kepulauan ini meraih rekor 31.2 juta pengunjung tahun lalu, tetapi hanya sedikit yang menghabiskannya di ‘jalanan gelap’. Migrasi perkotaan mengancam eksistensi desa, tetapi pariwisata digembar-gemborkan sebagai solusi untuk masalah permukiman

Jepang dengan cepat menjadi salah satu tujuan wisata terfavorit di Asia. Pada 2009, negara kepulauan mengatakan “Konichichiwa” kepada 6.8 juta pengunjung, yang oleh Organisasi Pariwisata Nasional Jepang jumlahnya meningkat menjadi 31.2 juta.

Survei Badan Pariwisata Jepang baru-baru ini menemukan bahwa, selain toilet umum yang di bawah standar wisatawan, kemacetan lalu lintas yang dipicu oleh bus wisata adalah keluhan utama. Sementara dampak dari lonjakan wisata menimbulkan masalah pada beberapa titik wilayah, sebagian besar dari jutaan orang itu tetap melewati jalan yang sama. Meninggalkan kota-kota di luar Tokyo, Kyoto, dan Osaka yang memohon-mohon untuk mendapat perhatian yang sama dari para wisatawan.

Sementara itu, kota-kota kecil di seluruh negeri terancam lenyap ketika tingkat kelahiran turun, populasi menurun, dan generasi muda melarikan diri dari pedesaan Jepang menuju kehidupan kota dan tidak pernah kembali lagi. Di beberapa permukiman yang dilanda kesulitan, rumah-rumah terlantar dengan mudah diberikan cuma-cuma untuk menarik orang dari gemerlap kota-kota besar, dan pariwisata juga disebut-sebut sebagai solusi penyelamat. Bagi Xiaochen Su, seorang kandidat PhD di Universitas Tokyo, itu berarti pariwisata seks.

“Mengingat kesediaan penggemar AV [adult video  / video dewasa] untuk membelanjakan uang demi kesukaan mereka, dapat dibayangkan betapa banyak penggemar asing ingin datang ke Jepang untuk mencoba sesuatu yang mirip dengan ‘yang aslinya’,” tulisnya baru-baru ini dalam sebuah opini untuk platform berita daring Asia Times.

Su menambahkan bahwa membatasi wisata seks ke daerah-daerah tertentu yang jauh dari tempat-tempat wisata populer dapat meningkatkan ekonomi daerah pedesaan, membantu mengatasi distribusi wisatawan yang tidak merata, dan “melindungi kehadiran industri [seks] dari kota-kota besar dimana sebagian besar penduduk lokal dan wisatawan berada.”

Meskipun prostitusi secara teknis ilegal di Jepang, tampaknya tetap tidak mempengaruhi pemikiran Su. Memang dalam undang-undang anti-prostitusi Jepang dinyatakan “hubungan intim dengan orang yang tidak ditentukan dalam pertukaran untuk pembayaran”, sehingga memungkinkan adanya beberapa celah.

Hal ini memberi sedikit dampak pada industri seks yang berkembang pesat di negara ini, yang mana lengkap menawarkan – setidaknya secara resmi – layanan non-koital seperti menari, mandi, dan berbincang-bincang (serta aktivitas yang lebih intim dengan orang-orang “tertentu”, menurut The Japan Times) untuk memuaskan nafsu primitif konsumen. Industri ini diperkiraan bernilai 24 miliar dollar AS per tahun.

“Banyak warga negara dan politisi Jepang akan beranggapan bahwa gagasan kampung halaman mereka menjadi tujuan wisata seks akan mengakibatkan gangguan logistik dan moral,” Su mengakui. Ia memberi contoh Pattaya, tujuan yang identik dengan seks terlepas dari niat terbaik pihak berwenang, mendapat reputasi buruk kota Thailand bagi para skeptis.

Su bukan yang pertama mengutarakan ide ini. Mengutip sebuah artikel yang diterbitkan di majalah pria Jepang Spa! Mei lalu, surat kabar daring Japan Today mempertanyakan apakah industri seks ibukota memungkinkan untuk dipindahkan ke tempat lain menjelang Olimpiade Tokyo 2020. “Ada orang yang mengatakan hal tersebut dapat menambah kebangkitan ekonomi untuk daerah,” kata Spa!, sesuai dengan saran Su bahwa “membuka pariwisata seks untuk wisatawan asing di daerah tertentu di luar tujuan wisata utama dapat menjadi solusi efektif untuk mengurangi ‘ketimpangan pariwisata’.”

Wisata seks tentu bukan satu-satunya cara untuk mendistribusikan wisatawan di seluruh Jepang, masih ada proyek lain yang lebih mudah diterima dan terbukti berhasil. Di Yoshino, sebuah kota dengan hanya 6.700 penduduk di prefektur Nara, properti Airbnb Yoshino Cedar House yang dikelola masyarakat telah membantu menarik pengunjung internasional ke suatu daerah yang dulu dikenal hanya untuk hutan cedarnya.

Dikelola oleh sekelompok 31 penduduk, banyak di antaranya masih bekerja di industri kayu, properti itu telah membangkitkan semangat pembaruan di kota itu, menurut sebuah artikel Quartz baru-baru ini. Saya tidak yakin apakah rasa kebanggaan yang sama akan muncul jika kotanya dikenal bukan karena Rumah Cedarnya, melainkan sebagai rumah prostitusi.

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Diterjemahkan dari “Could sex tourism save Japan’s small towns from disappearing?” oleh Mercedes Hutton. 19 Juni 2019

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