Kyoto Moves To Make Upskirting a Painful Offence


Earlier today, The Japan Times released that officials in Kyoto, Japan, had revised ordinance in order to crack down on the practice of upskirt photography (making unauthorized photographs under a woman’s skirt). The highly popular tourist destination in Japan is flooded with tourists every spring, mostly high school students, and “upskirting” had reached disturbing levels, with even “a whole subgenre of magazines” existing for individuals to sell their images.

This perverted practice has always been outlawed in Japan, but only in public places such as shopping centers, railway stations, and public transport. Individuals taking these photographs had found a loophole which made them untouchable by police by taking their photos in places not covered under the definition of a “public place.” The change in ordinance has seen the expansion of the “scope of protection” to include places such as schools, workplaces and hospitals, and has increased penalties for the use of hidden cameras in areas such as hot spring baths, changing rooms and public restrooms. Penalties can now be as high as ¥1 million (about $9815) or a year in jail.

This isn’t the first time that we report on “upskirting” and the harm it causes. Just earlier this year, we wrote about a case in Massachusetts where the judge ruled the ‘photographer’ was within his rights as the individuals he had photographed were in public and neither nude nor partially nude. I am sure I am not the only photographer who finds “upskirting” abhorrent, though, and despises such practices for multiple reasons.

This move in Kyoto is a great step in the right direction for those taken advantage of in such a vulgar manner. Protecting people in such situations is the key, here. But there is the added advantage that it is helping protect the integrity of genuine street photographers, photographers and tourists alike.

We do recommend all photographers learn their rights and what they are allowed and are not allowed to take photographs of in public. But, at the same time, we do hope that responsibility will be taken and people’s privacy will not be invaded.

The question remains is the punishment enough? What else can be done to stop this poor practice and help protect photographers, particularly street photographers, from being labelled the same as those who create “upskirting” materials? We only hope that move places take measures to eliminate it as much as humanly possible.

[via The Japan Times | image by Elvin]

  • Wil Fry

    Good for Kyoto. It is really sad that there has to be a law like this, but people can be jerks.

  • Jeffrey Friedl

    Unfortunately, the amount you reported (a million yen) is correct, but the conversion to dollars is way off… it’s about US$10k (AU$10.6k, €7200).

    • udi tirosh

      I was probably misusing google conversion rate. sadly you are right. 1,000,000 sounds threatening, so does a year in Jail. sadly, 9800 USD less so.

      • Peter Bower

        I don’t know, $10,000 is still pretty scary to me! Cheers for pointing it out, Jeffrey, and fixing it up, Udi. :)

  • ext237

    Finally I can feel more comfortable in my kilt! :) lotta folks don’t know this, Hustler paid models to walk around in public being “upskirted” to sell books. This practice has unfortunately always been around, I heard about a guy sticking a mirror in his shoe at a local mall — in the 70s. But the upskirts and down blouse culture has “legit” commercial porn to thank for the popularity. Well, that and smaller cameras.

  • Bob

    What is fabulous is that on this forum everyone finds “upskrit” disgusting, but you’ll be the first to ogle the pictures once on the Net. What a destestable hypocrisy! Fortunately, I live in Europe, and a photo of panties makes more laugh than offends. And it is healthy, much healthier than this hypocrite pseudo puritanism.

    • Peter Bower

      G’day, Bob. I would not assume that to be the case. Not everyone is thrown into the same bucket. Personally, not a fan, either of the practice nor the product. And I know a lot like that. Is that to say that adult materials have no place in society? No, of course not. Nor does viewing such materials. But those are materials created with consent. *shrugs* I’m not saying that some wouldn’t enjoy such materials, but, personally, I find upskirting disgusting. If that makes me a hypocrit, for disliking both practice and product, throw the label on me.