Seldom Asked Questions: Sukebe Isu?
Q. I went to a love hotel with my girlfriend, and there was a little stool in the bathroom that looked like the regular ones you see in public baths, only it had a U-shaped hole in the seat. My girlfriend said it’s called a sukebe isu, but she didn’t know what it’s for. Can you enlighten us? – Question submitted by an anonymous reader
A. The sukebe isu (literally, “perverted chair”) is one invention that you’ll never see in those “Genius of Japanese Design” books. Originally developed in nursing homes, it was used for giving sponge baths to invalids, the U-shaped hole allowing nurses to scrub patients’ nether regions. However, it was swiftly adopted by Japan’s soaplands – sex parlors where women soap down their bodies and rub themselves all over the customer, “washing” them – and employed for rather less wholesome purposes. At these establishments, the customer sits on a sukebe isu just like a regular bath stool, but the hole enables the soap girl to “access all areas” as she lathers him down. It is generally only for washing, and using one for sex would probably be quite dangerous.