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Is dancing still illegal in Japan?


Japan’s dancing laws have been a topic of controversy for many years. The country’s strict regulations on dancing in public places have had a significant impact on the nightlife industry. In this article, we will explore the history of Japan’s dancing laws, how they have changed over time, and whether or not it is still illegal to dance in public places in Japan.

The Origins of Japan’s Dancing Laws

Japan’s dancing laws can be traced back to the post-World War II era when the government was concerned about maintaining public order. At that time, dance halls were seen as places where criminal activities could take place, such as drug use and prostitution. To combat these issues, the government introduced the “Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses” in 1948, which required dance halls to obtain a license to operate.

Japanese Snack Box

The Impact of Japan’s Dancing Laws

Since the introduction of these laws, it has become increasingly difficult for businesses to obtain licenses to operate as dance halls. This has had a significant impact on the nightlife industry in Japan, with many clubs and bars unable to offer dancing as part of their entertainment offerings. As a result, many people have turned to underground clubs that operate illegally.

Changes to Japan’s Dancing Laws

In 2015, Japan introduced the “Amended Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses,” which relaxed some of the restrictions on dancing. Under the new law, businesses no longer need to obtain a license to allow dancing on their premises. However, there are still certain restrictions in place, such as rules around the volume of music and the closing times of clubs.

Public Perception of Dancing in Japan

While there has been some relaxation of Japan’s dancing laws, there are still many people who believe that dancing in public places is inappropriate. This view is particularly prevalent among older generations, who see dancing as a form of public indecency. However, younger generations are more accepting of dancing and have pushed for changes to the laws.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Japan’s Dancing Scene

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Japan’s dancing scene, with many clubs and bars forced to close their doors. The government has also introduced restrictions on public gatherings, making it difficult for people to dance in public places. However, some clubs have adapted by offering online events and virtual dance parties.

Enforcement of Japan’s Dancing Laws

While the laws around dancing in Japan have relaxed somewhat, there are still restrictions in place, and authorities do enforce them. In 2017, police raided a club in Tokyo for violating the “Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.” The club was forced to shut down, and its owner was fined.

The Future of Dancing in Japan

Despite the challenges facing Japan’s nightlife industry, there is hope that things will improve in the future. With the relaxation of some of the laws around dancing and a growing acceptance of the activity among younger generations, there is potential for a resurgence in Japan’s dancing scene.

Impact on Tourism

Japan is a popular tourist destination, known for its vibrant culture and nightlife. However, the country’s strict regulations on dancing have been a turnoff for some visitors. By relaxing some of these laws and promoting a more welcoming environment for dancing, Japan could attract even more tourists.

Dancing vs. Other Forms of Public Entertainment

Japan’s laws around dancing raise questions about why this activity is seen as such a threat compared to other forms of public entertainment. For example, karaoke bars are widely accepted in Japan despite being just as loud and potentially disruptive as dance clubs.


Japan’s dancing laws have been a source of controversy for many years, but there have been some positive changes in recent times. While restrictions on dancing still exist, there is potential for a revival of Japan’s nightlife industry. By promoting a more welcoming environment for dancing, Japan could attract more tourists and offer its citizens more opportunities for leisure and entertainment.


1. “Japan Eases Restrictions on Dancing After Decades-Long Ban.” The Guardian, 15 June 2015
2. “Japan’s Dancing Ban Lifted After 67 Years.” BBC News, 15 June 2015
3. “Nightlife in Tokyo: Is Dancing Still Illegal?” CNN Travel, 24 January 2018

Why is it illegal to dance in Japan?

Around 70 years ago after World War II, the Japanese government banned dancing and targeted dance halls in an attempt to eliminate prostitution. This was enforced through the Fueiho Law, which required venues to obtain a license for dancing.

Why is dancing at night illegal in Japan?

The ban on dancing after midnight was introduced as a measure to combat prostitution, which was rampant in Japan after WWII. The law had a wide-reaching impact on various entertainment industries, including ballroom dancing, as it required couples to dance in pairs. Nightclubs also had to obtain a permit to allow dancing.

Can you dance in nightclubs in Japan?

There are many nightclubs where people can dance in Tokyo and it is not against the law. However, there used to be a law in Japan, established after World War II, that restricted dancing after midnight and only allowed it in licensed venues.

Are nightclubs illegal in Japan?

Japan has recently lifted a 67-year-old law that prohibited dancing in clubs after midnight and effectively banned prostitution. This is great news for club-goers who can now enjoy extended hours as some clubs can now stay open until 5 am. Japan Times, via RA, reported this as a significant victory for the club scene.

Which country has banned dancing in club?

Public parties are prohibited by German and Swiss laws, but individuals are allowed to dance in their own homes.

Where is it illegal to dance in USA?

Elmore City in Oklahoma is a Christian town with a ban on dancing since 1898 due to moral reasons. However, in 1980, high school students of Elmore City High School decided to challenge the ban and requested to have a senior prom. This proposal faced opposition from the town’s religious leaders, including Reverend F.R.

4. Despite the challenges faced by the nightlife industry in Japan, there are still many places where people can dance legally. Some clubs and bars have obtained licenses to operate as dance halls, and there are also outdoor festivals and events where dancing is encouraged.

5. In recent years, there has been a growing movement in Japan to promote dance as a form of exercise and stress relief. Some companies have even introduced “office dance” programs, encouraging employees to take a break from their work and dance for a few minutes each day.

6. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Japan’s nightlife industry, it has also led to some creative solutions. Some clubs have begun offering drive-in dance parties, where people can dance in their cars while listening to music through their radios.

7. There are also concerns that the restrictions on dancing in Japan could have a negative impact on the country’s cultural heritage. Traditional Japanese dances such as kabuki and noh have been passed down through generations, but there are fears that they could be lost if younger generations do not have opportunities to learn and practice them.

8. The debate over Japan’s dancing laws is not unique to Japan. Similar debates have taken place in other countries, such as New York City’s “cabaret law,” which required businesses to obtain licenses to allow dancing. The law was repealed in 2017 after being criticized for being racially discriminatory.

9. Ultimately, the future of dancing in Japan will depend on a variety of factors, including changes in public opinion, shifts in government policy, and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is clear that dancing continues to be an important part of Japan’s cultural identity, and many people are working to ensure that it remains a vibrant and vital part of Japanese society.

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