The individual words that form Crystal Love Starlight appear to be three rather innocuous words forming a typically Japanese phrase of kitsch romanticism. Each word possesses an air of rarity and suggests a respective association with colour: the prism of crystal, the red hue of love and the shimmering white of a star. In this sense the title of Mayumi Hosokura’s book acts as a shortened poem; however, the title is a deliberately misleading subversion of the true story upon which it is based. Crystal Love Starlight is not a story of romance and delicate beauty, but a tale of prostitution and suburban criminality.

As in many other countries, Japan has had a blurred relationship with the idea of prostitution stretching back centuries. In all those years, under various native and occupying bureaucracies, attempts have been made to regulate the

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