New Biz in Japan: Ear Cleaning

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Five years ago, the Japanese government deregulated ear cleaning, removing the requirement that the cleaner have a medical license. Since then a new type of business sprung up in Tokyo and other big cities: ear-cleaning parlors:

The basic service at Yamamoto Mimikaki-ten lasts 30 minutes and costs ¥2,700 (about US$32). The customer is first introduced to a kimono-clad young woman who serves him tea and makes small talk.

She then places his head on her lap and covers his face with a handkerchief.

Using a “mimikaki,” an ear pick made of bamboo, metal or plastic with a small scoop at the end, she gently and lovingly scrapes excess wax out of his ears, as well as massaging them and then tapping the shoulders, followed by more tea.

Photo by Voronin76/ShutterStock.

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