Department H Tokyo, Japanese fetish alternative club! Bagelhead & body modifications art exhibit.

japanese kigurumi, dollers, anime costumes

Tokyo has many crazy club nights, but which takes the cake? Department H, a monthly party that celebrates the wildest aspects of underground culture.

You’ll see monster costumes, sexy tentacle performances, anime-head masks, drag queens, extreme piercings, lesbian wrestling… read on for incredible photos!

japanese horror film, tokyo gore police woman

At the entrance, a woman covered in fake blood writhes in this glass coffin — like a scene out of Tokyo Gore Police. Next to her is a realistic, decaying corpse with a very long appendage…

japan alien costume, tentacles monster

Inside, we met an alien. While I struggled and ran away screaming, Yukiro decided to mount and conquer him.

carnival rococo fashion, tokyo alternative lgbt club

I wore a carnival type of outfit. No fake eyelashes today; everything’s drawn on with black eyeliner pen.

Striped pastel goth skirt: Peace Now, from Closet Child Ikebukuro
White ruffle top: Spider, Hong Kong
(I kept the same hair that Kukukachoo styled for my magazine shoots.)

keroppy maeda, anime full masks, kigurumi dollars

Department H takes place in the unassuming Kinema Club (Address: 6F 1-1-14 Negishi, Taito-ku) near Uguisidani station. On the lower level, there are booths that offer extreme body modifications and sell alternative goodies.

Keroppy Maeda, who you may recall from our Taboo bagelhead adventure, is there every month. He invited us to his art exhibit (at the bottom of this post).

asian drag queens, ladyboys

While the DJs spun disco, Kanashimi no Belladonna (an old anime inspired by Art Nouveau aesthetics) projected on the backdrop. Then, the stage cleared, and the drag queens strutted their stuff.

japan drag queen fashion

Each showed off their handcrafted outfits, which expressed different personalities.

tokyo drag performances, drag shows

Such as a full body latex suit with green eyelashes.

strawberry princess costume, ichigo dress

This strawberry princess worked it to the max: as she walked the runway, her outfit exuded the scent of strawberries!

fetish gay party tokyo, japan crazy nightlife

Hanky-panky and nudity are not a problem here. This is a safe space; nobody ever makes you feel uncomfortable.

japanese female wrestlers, girls wrestling

Next: girl-on-girl wrestling! In the words of Naomi (who took all these images): “The match usually has two or three judges who are dressed in various monster/sci-fi costumes, and two participants who start out dressed up. However, as the match progresses, the wrestlers are encouraged to remove each other’s clothing as part of the match. It’s raunchy and ridiculous! The “fighting” is more for show than serious but they are very good at faking it.”

priest costume japan, jake adelstein, tokyo vice

Look who joined the party… Jake Adelstein of yazuza memoir Tokyo Vice fame, dressed as a naughty priest. This photo says it all.

japan hentai costumes, bodysuits

Many people cover their faces entirely. Anyone can be in these suits.

hula hoop burlesque dancer, tokyo burlesque performer

Japanese burlesque performer Naomi wowed us with her light-up hula hoop act.

gay japanese boys, lgbt tokyo men

Now that’s a power couple.

gay clubs japan, department h tokyo

Thanks to organizer Gogh (center) for this incredible event, which has been going on since the 1990s!

asian fetish fashion, department h

Department H occurs the first Saturday of each month. Please consult my Tokyo nightlfe guide for details on this and other parties.

japan bagelhead, keroppy maeda

Many of Dept H’s regulars took part in an art show, curated by Keroppy Maeda, at Vanilla Gallery in Ginza. This little space often holds underground exhibits, such as one dedicated to burlesque. This one was titled “死と未来 – la mort et le futur” (Death and the Future).

drill hole in skull, electric drill head hole

On display were works by eight artists, including Keroppy. He’s currently fascinated by trepanning, or drilling a hole in the skull (a Medieval medical procedure).

trepanning, trepannation, trephination

Keroppy performed trepannation on an animal skull, and took the photograph on the wall. Behind him plays a stop-motion film of a forehead saline inflation (which he is explaining to his friend!)

katana art, japanese underground art exhibit

Also in the exhibit: photographs of katana, corpses, and post-earthquake destruction. All the pieces reflect the theme, “The reality of death shows truth and the possibility of the future predicts a new vision for humans and our world.”

vanilla gallery, ginza art, body modifications

I enjoyed speaking to the artists about their process. The works ranged from stream of consciousness collages, to mistress photographs, to cultured human skin.

tokyo body mods, extreme body modifications, bagel head keroppy

Keroppy Maeda is continuing to push forward with extreme body modifications and art in Japan. I can’t wait to see the projects he takes on next. (See his site for more.)

tokyo gay nightlife, clubs, events

For more about Department H, see my reports from 2009 and 2011.

Would you attend a nightclub like this? What do you think of Tokyo body mods and underground art scene?

PS: Today, I did something involving bagels in Montreal… did you see it on my Twitter?


  • CBS

    First heard about bagel heads from you. It is very interesting the culture in Japan.

  • Trina

    Cute burlesque girl ;)

  • Lana

    *_* I must. Go

  • Helge

    Weird Japan is weird.

  • Few lines

    Amaze balls! Those gore police effects are everything.

    Few lines

  • Suz

    Looks like my sort of night . . . the art sounds fascinating, if a bit disturbing . . ,

  • izze

    crazy pictures!!

  • RetroBetty

    That looks like an epic club night! Love it!

    • It’s probably my fav Tokyo club night!

  • Amber

    Seems pretty awesome to me!

  • Natsu

    Why Im not there

  • Dave

    Gwar – Carry on My Wayward Son

  • kayla

    ♡ such a cute look ♡

  • Aurora

    you’re one lucky lady

  • shena sez

    this blog is the best!

  • N.A.

    wow, i’m speechless O_O

  • Suteki

    I wish I’d live in Tokyo u.u

  • Juan

    Genial. Es algo de visita obligatoria, gracias por la nota

  • Knight

    (◕ ◡ ◕)

  • Syn

    there are some awesome costumes there.

  • 99balloons

    Thank you ♥

  • Ely

    cool pics

  • Televangelist

    Hey, is Department H still going? I went a year or so ago, but their website is down now… nothing on the Tokyo Kinema Club website either… :(

    • Yes it’s still the first Sat of each month! hope you can go!

  • Amina Oliveros

    Hi! My bf and I are traveling to Tokyo this July 21st through August 3rd. Sorry if this is a bothersome question, but do you know of any cyber/goth events going on while we’re there? We’ll be staying in Kabuki-cho ^_^ any party recommendations at all will be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much and love your blog by the way! <333

    • Hey, I’m afraid I’m not sure if you made it to Heavy Pop (sorry, just got this!) Def stop by Decadance Bar, above Christon Cafe Shinjuku – I think that’s all for those dates!

      • Amina Oliveros

        thanks I will check it out! I found this flyer for what looks like Heavy Pop happening this sunday, is this the same pArty you were talking about?

  • Tasha Johnson

    Love it. Hope I can be the next foot artist who joins!