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Japanese women fall prey to host clubs

55 Comments
By Tomohiro OSAKI

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© 2023 AFP

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55 Comments
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It's their own fault for getting lured in the first place.

Says the person who also blames the Ukrainians for being attacked by fascist Russia.

I see a common theme here.

26 ( +43 / -17 )

They should just crack down on these scammers. The old astronomical drinks bill scam has been around for decades. Why is it still so prevalent?

25 ( +28 / -3 )

Media should stop calling these scumbags, hosts, or scammers, and call them for what they are, pimps. Japan seriously needs safety nets for the vulnerable, and stop protecting only those crusty old geezers.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

It’s the same story the world over except in different shapes and forms.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

A jobs a job.

If I have a choice between clearing radionuclide materials in Fukushima for ¥1000 an hour, or drinking alcohol and getting presents and maybe some kind of secret pleasure, what would I choose?

Not really sure these male hosts - mostly around 55kg wringing wet - would be suitable candidates for outdoor, physical work!

Probably their other preferred job would be phone scammer.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Japanese women fall prey to host clubs

In theory, host clubs are a nice idea. Imagine for a moment an industry that has completely flipped the gender script on traditionally male-dominated Japan, providing a place where young, cashed-up hostesses and sex-industry workers go to have their cigarettes lit, alcohol poured and their egos massaged, all the while having a man subservient to their needs, rather than being subservient to a man’s.

Enter the host club, selling whatever the opposite of loneliness is.

While the majority of hosts are probably downright soulless scam artists, I have come across a handful who, in all seriousness, consider themselves the modern-day, male counterparts of the traditional **geisha, and while they may not carry the same refinement, having advanced conversational skills, along with the right looks, are generally considered absolute prerequisites for the job. As with geisha, the suggestion of lovemaking is more central to the work of hosts than the act itself. For the most part, it’s the egos of customers that are to be stroked rather than body parts, the role of the host being to entertain, flatter and listen to the female customers; to play the perfect boyfriend, albeit one who needs to be bought outrageously expensive drinks**.

All but the most naive of women understand that while a host deals in dreams and illusions, the real currency is cold, hard cash.

These vile evildoers should face serious time in prison. They are parasitic leeches, vermin in human form, more than likely psychopaths.

Although the entire profession is obnoxious and its purpose vague, for a lot of equally naive young men, becoming a host has traditionally been a lucrative career that can net them a monthly salary in the millions of yen, simply for companioning some of the country's most physically attractive young women. Who wouldn't be forgiven for getting sucked into chasing that dream?

13 ( +22 / -9 )

this is truly a tragic state of the world isn't it. money rules all and real humans lives are eyed as a numerical value. the host-club system needs a massive reform, but I won't hold my breath as it is built upon predatory practices.

(side note, this makes me miss reading Tokyo Reporter.)

12 ( +13 / -1 )

These vile evildoers should face serious time in prison. They are parasitic leeches, vermin in human form, more than likely psychopaths.

Get them off the streets and protect the women.

Will we hear now from those who advocate prostitution, saying it’s the women’s choice and they enjoy it?

8 ( +31 / -23 )

Very sad when any member of our society is taken advantage of. A recent case was a young woman training other women to make up fake stories of woe to get older men to pay them millions of yen.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

"I wanted to be loved,"

And that lies at the root of about 99% of human problems.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

Very sad when any member of our society is taken advantage of. A recent case was a young woman training other women to make up fake stories of woe to get older men to pay them millions of yen.

I'm assuming you're talking about the girl who naively did an interview about it on YouTube. Ironic how she took every single yen she got from scamming and used it at host clubs as well, only to end up in court with no money to her name.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It is un-cool to not have a host in young women and girl’s social circles now. The social pressure alone is enough to continue to drive exponential growth of host industry in Japan

This is a gross exaggeration. Most young women get all the preening and pouting dyed-hair action they need from K-Pop or Johnnys.

There are something like two million young women (by my definition) in the general Tokyo area. If they all went once a week, Tokyo would need more host bars than convenience stores (7,500).

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Awareness campaigns need to be intensified.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It's the same the whole world over,

It's the poor what gets the blame, While the rich gets all the pleasure, Ain't that a ************ shame.
6 ( +9 / -3 )

Make the girls pay for the drinks up front. Not sure why not doing so was allowed in the first place.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

''Lured by the promise of romance, women can find themselves tricked into abusive relationships, towering debt and even prostitution"

Welcome to the world. No need of hosts for that, they just package it better.

And replace "women" with "men" and you multiply numbers exponentially.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Start offering more help for all these minors in Kabukicho. The rise in Toyoko-Kids these past few years should be the last straw.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is a part of Japan I've never understood. Establishments for young women entertaining older men and men entertaining women. It is very sad what happens to some people who decided to visit these places.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

YubaruToday 03:25 pm JST

One solution always overlooked, legalize prostitution again. But that isnt the problem here with the young woman in the story. She started on the path she is on, for whatever reasons, at 14, when she ran away from home.

Never says anything about why she didnt go back either. But for whatever reasons, at 18 what is she going out drinking for? She thinks she was "street smart" but got used and abused. Yeah it's a sad story, and one heard the world over.

Another solution, nail the people who are buying hookers, and out them. Leave the girls and women alone!

So either legalize prostitution or go full Nordic model? Seems like a middle ground and women taking responsibility for their actions would be more reasonable.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Such a revolting part of the culture here. Both host and hostess clubs, cabaret clubs, even ‘snack’. Exploitative, misogynistic, demeaning. Most of the locals I know will never see this as a bad thing.

4 ( +20 / -16 )

Sounds no different to women luring men in on the same promises.

we all want to be liked, wanted and loved. These people, men and women who do this are scum. No different than the women who was charged with grooming men to get their money, on emotional blackmail. I believe she sold a manual on how to scam people. Scum!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Since April the age of sexual consent is 16 with some other restrictions.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

wallaceDec. 21 06:26 pm JST

There are host and hostess bars in all European countries and America. Not unique to Japan.

Like one? There are a few male strip clubs but I think this phenomenon of fake socializing is pretty uniquely Asian.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I still don't ubderstand how one can be entertained by fake people.

I have been once and seriously, women are more dolls than anything else.

And why price of drinks would more than the ones in a bar, except if it was not for scamming.

3 ( +18 / -15 )

@thuban: They all know how vital this is to the stability of their economies.

The above is typical of those that blame victims, and for example say civilians, that get raped or murdered, and have their homes, school and hospitals destroyed and fight back against invaders are at fault for defending themselves from the invaders.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Girls,

Knowing what happens, don’t think you’re unique or a special case, no matter how clever or attractive you are- You’re all looked upon as marks, nothing more.

Spend your time and hard earned money bettering yourself, or donating your time where it’s appreciated, not looking for companionship in a den of vipers, no matter how shiny the scales...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I live in a small city by Japanese standards. You should see how thick and heavy the local magazine for delivery health and soaplands is. I was amazed. Then again, being able to earn 50,000 yen per day is all a lot of these girls want.

2 ( +22 / -20 )

That's what glitz does to people.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

s:@Yharnam very sad when any member of our society is taken advantage of.

Yet there are many who support politicians that have spent their lifetime grifting, and have even been convicted of fraud, and on top of that have paid money to prostitutes and porn 'stars, then forced by courts to pay for trying to cover things up.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

One solution always overlooked, legalize prostitution again. But that isnt the problem here with the young woman in the story. She started on the path she is on, for whatever reasons, at 14, when she ran away from home.

Never says anything about why she didnt go back either. But for whatever reasons, at 18 what is she going out drinking for? She thinks she was "street smart" but got used and abused. Yeah it's a sad story, and one heard the world over.

Another solution, nail the people who are buying hookers, and out them. Leave the girls and women alone!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

 still don't ubderstand how one can be entertained by fake people.

I have been once and seriously, women are more dolls than anything else.

And why price of drinks would more than the ones in a bar, except if it was not for scamming.

That's why I'd rather go to a sports bar. People are themselves and I don't have to dish out thousands of yen for women pouring me drinks and kissing my (you know where). I don't see the point.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are something like two million young women (by my definition) in the general Tokyo area. If they all went once a week, Tokyo would need more host bars than convenience stores (7,500).

Even the highest spenders in host clubs generally only go to the host club once a month, where they will use their entire savings. Other will save up for months for 1 donation. Almost no young women would want to share in their social circles that their love is not a host.

I personally know many women involved in the club business (not prostitution) here and what drives them into it.

Some have at least two if not three jobs and obviously a high work ethic.

It is simply the cost of living and the desire to be independent.

That is a very different crowd than prostitution, although a significant portion are host club users especially if they are young. In prostitution, especially for the under 30s crowded, it is 90% due to hosts or host club debt. You only need to check their twitter to see things like "I live for my host/tantou). Most of them will lie to their customers regarding this, you should never trust what girls in the night industry say to you.

So, the scapegoats are the male host clubs?

When you have a industry that can regularly bring in 10M+ yen a month (significant portion paid in cash which is untaxed) even for an average host, and is the key driving force behind japanese women going overseas on prostitution trips, that is not a scapegoat but an underlying cause. Most hosts also double as scouts for prostitution shops, overseas brokers, yamikin brokers, etc. Many women in prostitution have used well over 100M+ yen to their hosts. If police raid a host's house they would be able find several hundred million yen in cash.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The choice is always a choice. There are millions of other choices these girls could have made.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Well done, Kishida! You are urging the police to do what is their job. But seriously, do you think your urging will make any difference.

I have always suspected that their is some sort of agreement between the police and the yakuza. The yakuza with few exceptions do not mug people in the streets, are not pickpockets. I believe they, not the police, make the streets of Kabukicho pretty safe, they take care of the freelance would-be pickpockets and so on. It is in their interest to do so because in my wild magination doing so allows them with what amounts to police permission charge what they like in the clubs and bars their, run prostitution and other rackets. The police will crack down on drugs and physical violence though. No drugs, no physical violence keep the streets clean and anything else goes. That seems to be the deal.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

For the love of money or for the money comes love!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are thousands of hostess bars in Europe, Check online.

And in the US? BTW there are "thousands" of hostess bar type places in Tokyo and the surrounding area alone. It aint the same. Not even close. Damn near every town and village in Japan has a place where a woman or women work, serving drinks, and catering to mens wants every single day!

Dont be so naive about Japan and pointing fingers elsewhere is just going off topic again!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nothing new to see here. This hosting scenario is as old as Japanese culture going back to when the overlords had concubines. These money spinning host clubs really came into fruition during the bubble years of the 60’s to the 80’s. As the economy started to slow over the last forty years or so these clubs have become more ruthless in their recruiting and payment structures to the point where the girls don’t work for the clubs, they are owned by the clubs. It’s a very dirty and corrupt business that is based solely on exploiting young women and taking copious amounts of money from desperate men. TIJ!

0 ( +14 / -14 )

kurisupisuToday  09:29 am JST

So, the scapegoats are the male host clubs?

Surely some gaslighting going on No? .

Placing the blame solely on male hosts is deflecting from the real issues that girls prostitute themselves.

I don’t think so. They’ve had articles on men who’ve been screwed over by women. I don’t think it’s scapegoating but pointing out these places are heir to get your money! On the dream that there is love, caring that might be genuine. Probably no different than catch fishing but more in your face.sadly how many victims never go to the police because of victim blaming.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

These things doesn't exist in Western Countries

I should go back home

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There are host and hostess bars in all European countries and America. Not unique to Japan.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

TaiwanIsNotChina

   wallaceDec. 21 06:26 pm JST

>    There are host and hostess bars in all European countries and America. Not unique to Japan.

> Like one? There are a few male strip clubs but I think this phenomenon of fake socializing is pretty uniquely Asian.

There are thousands of hostess bars in Europe, Check online.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Imagine all those prostitutes, sorry, "hosts", would start to pay taxes based on their real income, what boom the Japanese economy will receive. To understand the level of corruption, even the politicians that frequent those places and spend millions of public money knows that those prostitutes don't pay any taxes.

The point is, nothing is going to change with those establishments, as long as the Politicians and people in charge continue to sponsor them callously.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shouldn't be foolish enough to go in these establishments.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Sounds no different to women luring men in on the same promises.

Yes women do it too. However, the appropriate female equivalent to a host is not a hostess, it is a gold-digger wife or girlfriend, a wannabe talent/Tiktokker who exploits oshikatsu people, an onlyfans person, or any other "send me money" kind of swindler. A hostess is not a scammer by comparison. I doubt many women working in hostess bars manage to empty their customers' bank accounts. The sums of money involved and the lengths the customers go to to patronize hostess bars are trivial compared to host bars.

My favourite documentary made about 21st Century Japan is about hosts and can be watched on Youtube. It's called "The Great Happiness Space, Osaka Love Thief". It was filmed with incredible (truly incredible) access to a top Osaka host bar and its customers about fifteen years ago. It serves as a sobering deep dive in humans, our motivations, and the lies we are prepared to tell ourselves.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan is pretty great for many reasons, tho not a good county for women.

-2 ( +26 / -28 )

As much as I want to say it’s their fault, and let’s face it it is, these guys have a professional racket going. They specifically target certain people that are going to be easy enough marks for the long run.

The whole industry needs to be focused on and stopped both men and women. It’s shady as heck and preys on the weak willed at worst and is just a dumb waste of money at best.

Can literally just go to any event, bar. Izakaya and talk to people. Why pay someone to fake interest in your life while you drink over priced cheap high balls for 30 minutes?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Meanwhile the clubs with many many women up and down Japan for the male workers are not even mentioned?

So, the scapegoats are the male host clubs?

Surely some gaslighting going on here, no?

I personally know many women involved in the club business (not prostitution) here and what drives them into it.

Some have at least two if not three jobs and obviously a high work ethic.

It is simply the cost of living and the desire to be independent.

Placing the blame solely on male hosts is deflecting from the real issues that girls prostitute themselves.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Imagine that all those grey zone, criminal, sex and similar business activities wouldn't count into taxes and GDP. We would all end in an economy ranking among the global south countries. So that's of course not unique to Japan, but surely also here quite a very big and decisive factor in economy. If we like that whole red light sector or condemn it, it's somehow important for our reached level of wealth , social welfare systems, working infrastructure and so on. Finally we have to live with it, if not wanting otherwise quickly sinking into poverty and economical disaster.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The age of consent is 13,not a good start really.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

No accountability on these women who like to date "bad boys" - choices have consequences

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

It is too late to stop this now. Years of positive media including manga and dramas, etc. have made hosts seen very positively by girls and young women. Regretting hosts is also very rare, unlike the women in the article, most host customers remain extremely loyal to their hosts even after they accumulate significant debt.

The innate demand for hosts is already there, no amount of regulation or even criminalization could stop it. It is un-cool to not have a host in young women and girl’s social circles now. The social pressure alone is enough to continue to drive exponential growth of host industry in Japan

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

City life!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Yeah, let's blame Tiktok for everything. Instagram is WAY worse. And then there is Twitter (X). Basically a soliciting cesspool in this country.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

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