In Japan, it’s not uncommon for successful women to pay attractive young men huge sums of money for a few cocktails and an hour of platonic companionship.
VICE in conjunction with Schweppes sends correspondent Joel Cornell to Shibuya to explore this strange world and to find out if he can cut it as a professional boyfriend for hire.
Like many single ladies, their solution is simple: a hosuto kurabu, (or a “host club” for those who don’t read syllabic Janglish). It’s not so much a disco for maître d’s as it is a swanky lounge for lovelorn ladies to indulge in the company of men. Soon after choosing a name from the list they emerge from the dark, greeting you with a smile and a wink. Expect to dish out every last yen in your purse as they delightfully liquor and loosen you up ‘til you start seeing double. It’s what they do best.
I saw a documentary on Osaka host clubs called “The Great Happiness Space,”z which took an entertaining look at this oft-speculated industry. (FYI, for the uninitiated: Few women I know have actually stepped into a host club. On top of cost, it’s unbecoming of a Japanese woman to be a red-light district regular. Men and hostess clubs, on the other hand, are a different matter.) What they found were women willing to spend thousands every night on their favorite host, Issei, vying with money and gifts for his affection, even proposing marriage from time to time. Of course, he’s yet to accept.
The sad reality is that most of these women are themselves club hostesses. So after serving out the champagne fantasies of Japan’s jaded businessmen, they transferring their fortune to a man who’ll return the favor.
Of course on the surface everyone seems happy. And there’s lots of money to be made. Hosts do all they can to keep their client in good spirits. But that doesn’t necessarily include sex. Repeat clients are always good for business, so it’s all about keeping them happily in the tease.
Credit goes to: VICE News