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Foreign women catching on to 'papa-katsu' as a means of economic survival

42 Comments

The coronavirus pandemic has brought hard times for young women in Japan. According to a Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications survey, from April to June this year the average number of women out of a job for more than six months reached 340,000, considerably above the average of 280,000 for that quarter of 2020.

Some Japanese women have found it expedient to sell their bodies to older men, an activity referred to as papa-katsu. The katsu suffix was originally abbreviated from kekkon katsudo (marriage hunting), but has spread to other endeavors and activities, such as shukatsu (activities in preparation for death). Papa-katsu refers to the search by young women, usually via social media, for a sugar daddy to shower them with gifts and money in exchange for sexual favors.

Spa (Nov 2) introduces several foreign females who have fallen upon hard times due to the pandemic and, taking a hint from their Japanese sisters, have been engaging in similar activities.

Annie, a 21-year-old Indonesian who had posted on a site, was described as having an "exotic" appearance.

"I'd been working part time in a gaikokujin pub in Roppongi, but in April of last year, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the number of customers began tapering off, and my hours were cut," she relates. "I was unable to keep up repayments on the 2 million yen I'd borrowed to come here. One of the Japanese girls at my university showed me a site online that was recruiting people for papa-katsu."

In her case, the remuneration turned out to be better than expected.

"I'm in 'adult relationships' with three men I've met online," she told the reporter. "I meet up with them periodically and it brings in between 250,000 to 300,000 yen a month. That's more than twice what I was earning in Roppongi, and takes up less than half the time. I'm back on track with my loan repayments too."

She informs the reporter that last May, she had invested 700,000 yen of her earnings in a fertilizer supply business in her hometown, a village on the outskirts of the capital city, Jakarta.

"After I save up a bit more, I'd like to start up a real estate and construction business, and sell homes on converted farmland."

At the end of their conversation, the reporter was dumbstruck when she propositioned him -- at 50,000 yen for a one-time roll in the hay. He chose to make a quick exit and they made no further contact.

Phem, a 21-year-old native of Hanoi, had been attending a Japanese-language school. She agreed to meet with Spa's reporter over a cup of tea and a gift of 5,000 yen.

"She hadn't taken special pains to make herself up, but she was quite pretty. Reminded me of Taiwanese actress Vivian Hsu," the reporter writes.

"I had planned to return to Vietnam from May, after completing the Japanese language course," she says. "But I was stranded in Japan due to the coronavirus. I was granted a special 6-month extension of my visa. The Vietnamese restaurant where I'd been working part time was forced to close. My Japanese still isn't that good, so I couldn't find any other work. When things began getting really tight, my Vietnamese girl roommate told me about a site and I registered. So far I've met four ojisan (older men).

"I'd only expected to pick up a little money by letting them take me out for a meal or to karaoke, but when the subject came up, I agreed to sleep with them for money."

Coco, a female of indeterminate age who claimed to be from Singapore, had posted "I'm looking for a relationship by which a gentleman can provide assistance. Shall we meet up?"

She turned out to be a petite "Chiborg," a term applied to ethnic Chinese females of almost unworldly beauty.

Meeting her in a coffee shop, the reporter wrote that she spoke Japanese poorly, and her Singaporean English was non-existent, making her claim to that nationality somewhat suspect. But what she said next left no doubt of what she had in mind.

"Hotel. San-man-yen. Okay?"

When the reporter declined her offer, she demanded 5,000 yen as a "cancellation fee." "I came a long way, and have to pay for the train ticket!"

She agreed to accept 2,000 yen, and she quickly left the scene. A locally based Chinese journalist was able to provide an explanation.

"She works for an 'international delivery health,'" the writer was informed. "They are working on the sly, and to keep their employers from knowing about their other activities they post photos of other women, so when one shows up, she appears completely different from the one shown online."

Ryuji Demachi, a reporter who specializes in covering foreign women in the sex trade, tells Spa that one impact of the pandemic has been a change in so-called international matchmaking sites, with more women logging on solely for the purposes of prostitution.

"One thing people should watch out for is any proposals connected with investing in cryptocurrencies," he warns. "Many of these women are from Taiwan or Hong Kong. As an incentive they'll propose both stripping to the buff for a video chat, but afterwards tell the men that they've recorded the exchange and will 'expose his naked body to the whole world' if he doesn't pay up."

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
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Spa . . . introduces several foreign females who have fallen upon hard times due to the pandemic and, taking a hint from their Japanese sisters, have been engaging in similar activities.

Let's instead call this for what it really is: human trafficking. You know . . . the ugly offspring of international organized crime. Behind every foreign female in the trade, there is a couple of foreign men making a considerable amount of money, who are not very nice, but may be well familiar to Interpol. Not to mention their assorted criminal activity on a global scale, like kidnapping. And worse.

Here is where you can go for more information on the subject: https://endsexualexploitation.org/about/ .

And here is where you can go for resources and referrals if you know a victim who needs help: https://victimbar.org/available-resources/ .

Papa-katsu is abuse. And exploitation. And it can be stopped.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

I wonder if the spa reported was curious about the 2 million yen debt to come here. And earning about 150 00 a month in a hostess bar in Roppongi?

16 ( +17 / -1 )

More on target here: “A reporter’s limited encounters with a few Southeast Asian women in Japan leads him to speculate … economic survival”.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

@Skeptical.

So you don't think women are capable of making their own decisions on this? Every case is trafficking? Do you think of women as 'the weaker sex'?

There is trafficking and there is simple old-fashioned escort work. Women get a rubbish deal in society but can turn the tables and earn cash.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

@ GBR48

Spa . . . introduces several foreign females . . .

With respect, the patterns and practices described in this article are largely and disturbingly consistent with human trafficking. All too often, the (at least initial) decision to enter into the trade (all too often as a child!) was not their own to make, and was not done willingly, but by force.

For too long, this was thought to be a victimless crime; a way for women - and men! - to make a harmless living. The reality is unfortunately far, far different.

I would strongly encourage people to use available resources, to understand the trade, the victimization behind the trade, and bring aid to its victims. SharedHope International is a great place to start: https://sharedhope.org/the-problem/what-is-sex-trafficking/ .

I sincerely hope that SPA will consider posting notices, informing victims how they can seek help.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

All this supposition from encounters with just 3 women, (allegedly)* **from Jakarta, Hanoi & Singapore ***??**

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Reads like someone, ‘perhaps’, has a certain proclivity?:

- “a 21-year-old Indonesian who had posted on a site, was described as having an "exotic" appearance.”

- “She hadn't taken special pains to make herself up, but she was quite pretty.”

- “Reminded me of Taiwanese actress Vivian Hsu," the reporter writes.”

- “She turned out to be a petite "Chiborg," ethnic Chinese females of almost unworldly beauty.” -

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Covid,should be an excuse, not too frequent prostitutes

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

All this supposition from encounters with just 3 women, (allegedly)* **from Jakarta, Hanoi & Singapore ***??**

I think its just an attempt to shoe-horn the trendy expression "papa-katsu" into an article, because some people think it is clever/funny slang like "ikumen" or "chouberiba" or other words from the past.

fwiw, there is absolutely nothing new about informal prostitution like this. The article even talks to someone working in a hostess bar in Roppongi, as if none of them have ever been available for paid sex. The vast majority aren't, but some of them are.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

One more resource:

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

URL: https://catwinternational.org/

Email: info@catwinternational.org

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) and their partners engage in advocacy, education, and prevention programs for victims of trafficking and prostitution in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America, including the United States. CATW and partners provide multi-level services, financial aid, psychological support, housing, and legal advocacy for victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Many of these women are from Taiwan or Hong Kong

I highly doubt many are from HK. You can just about write anything in these articles.

I'd been working part time in a gaikokujin pub in Roppongi

Gaikokujin, as in the hostesses are gaikokujin and the customers are not allowed to be gaikokujin?

She works for an 'international delivery health,

God, I love that expression. However, there's nothing healthy about STDs.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Misogyny and SE Asia bashing: keeping it classy, Spa.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The Covid pandemic has created hardships for lots of people and we're not out of the woods yet. As for Spa, well occasionally it does run articles about foreigners in Japan, but not all of them are negative. In all too much of the J-media foreigners are practically treated as invisible. Which is better, to be seen and heard, seen but not heard, or to be ignored?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Cant’ agree entirely @NCIS Reruns 10:52am: “*it does run *articles about foreigners in Japan, not all of them are negative”…

with the exceptions here daily of the “Crime”, “National”, “*Politics*, “*World*” AND “Entertainment” sections.

The “Crime” and “National” sections particularly seem to focus on S.E. Asians and the others focusing heavily on the social & political chaos in the U.S.

Sports” is definitely “Anglocentric’, so to speak. (Obviously, yakking about footy is stress relief for many.)

*- @NCIS Reruns 10:52am: “As for ‘Spa’, well occasionally it does run articles about foreigners in Japan, but not all of them are negative. In all too much of the J-media foreigners are practically treated as invisible. Which is better, to be seen and heard, seen but not heard, or to be ignored?*

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Hotel. San-man-yen. Okay?"

Good to have options.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Let's instead call this for what it really is: human trafficking. You know . . . the ugly offspring of international organized crime. Behind every foreign female in the trade, there is a couple of foreign men making a considerable amount of money

I am sure you are well-intentioned, but not every case of prostitution is trafficking. Many women (and men) do this for themselves.

In this article, the only exploitive man I could see was the reporter. He arranged meetings with these women under false pretenses. They arrived expecting make some money. Instead he plies them with questions so he can sell their story, and then begrudges them anything for their wasted time. A custom in Asia is that such women are paid just for their company. They are usually paid more for actual sex. But to send one home with nothing is exploitive and very poor manners.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I'm back on track with my loan repayments too

let me edit that for you, Rookie: “I’m back to making my human trafficking payments to the Yak-connected Chinese gangs.”

There, that’s more accurate.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Foreign women catching on to 'papa-katsu' as a means of economic survival

Obligatory addition: Japanese women catching on to 'papa-katsu' as a means of economic survival

Not just foreign women, Japanese women are also suffering from poverty.

Misogyny and SE Asia bashing: keeping it classy, Spa.

Bashing the SEA people so much, then Japan later begs them to come back to work. In fact, there are better opportunities across the ASEAN (especially Vietnam) very soon, so these foreign people won't need to come to Japan for works.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I have known a few women who used one form of sex, or another, to survive during their college years. The ones I knew went on to have respectable careers, and lives.

College should not be only for the sons and daughters of the wealthy, and until we have socialized education in the US, I expect women will try to pay their expenses by ways that are often frowned upon.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Prostitution is the oldest and most convenient profession for both men and women, always has been, always will be. Just make it legal, tax it, AND ALL THINGS WILL BE A HELL OF A LOT SMOTHER.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Yes, uniquely Japanese.

Women in other parts of the world, throughout history, have never, ever thought about using the lure of sex to entice men to buy them gifts, dinners, jewelry, clothes, handbags, houses, vacations, etc.

And it's definitely not used in advertising either.

Japan and foreigners in Japan could learn a lot from the rest of the world about morality.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

YrralOct. 31 09:55 am JST

Covid,should be an excuse, not too frequent prostitutes

I don’t think covid is the main concern if one frequents prostitutes. Even if one has been vaccinated, it still has other drawbacks. Just like the proverbial man who was stabbed and bleeding profusely. Laundering his bloody shirt was the least of his concerns.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Indistinguishable from prostitution.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

For reasons that should be obvious, most men paying prostitutes are old. It is merely a euphemism to call them "sugar daddies" or "papas" and not other words, like "johns" or whatever you call men who use prostitutes.

If servicing an older man for money on a one-off basis like the women in the story qualifies as "papa-katsu", the majority of prostitution is "papa-katsu". This resort to euphemisms is no different to "escorts" or "GFE" or the other expressions out there.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It is merely a euphemism to call them "sugar daddies" or "papas" and not other words, like "johns" or whatever you call men who use prostitutes.

"John" is also a euphemism.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Prostitution is the oldest and most convenient profession for both men and women, always has been, always will be. Just make it legal, tax it, AND ALL THINGS WILL BE A HELL OF A LOT SMOTHER.

Mark, it is okay to have a smothering fetish, but maybe keep it off of JT.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

So... Foreign women catching up to the oldest profession there is.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So... Foreign women catching up to the oldest profession there is.

Sex work is not the oldest profession.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Sex work is legitimate.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The type of person who reviles sex workers is the exact type of person who would pay them, then blame the worker for their own urges.

All glory to sex workers.

Shame to the haters.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Sex work is not the oldest profession.

Which is it then?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

By the way, it was Rudyard Kipling who coined the expression world's oldest profession, in connection with a character in his short story set in India.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Many of these women are from Taiwan or Hong Kong

I highly doubt many are from HK. You can just about write anything in these articles.

I agree. Shows just how little the author knows about anything. They are mainly southeast asian, PRIMARILY from the Philippines.

I'd been working part time in a gaikokujin pub in Roppongi

Gaikokujin, as in the hostesses are gaikokujin and the customers are not allowed to be gaikokujin?

One of those catchy Japanese phrases.

She works for an 'international delivery health,

God, I love that expression. However, there's nothing healthy about STDs.

HAHAHAHA! Brilliant!!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Most women do papa-katsu to support their hosts, rather than real economic needs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

2 million yen? What does anyone do with that much money just to move to Japan?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Express sisterNov. 1  02:15 pm JST

So... Foreign women catching up to the oldest profession there is.

Sex work is not the oldest profession.

Exactly. Hunter, fisherman blah blah blah but it certainly is very old.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Skeptical: "Behind every foreign female in the trade, there is a couple of foreign men making a considerable amount of money"

Ummm... this is a Japanese site recruiting women, so it would be Japanese men (or women) behind these foreign women, and it is a big thing in Japan to begin with anyway. It's not trafficking unless they are bringing them here for that purpose, by the way. The women who are already here (Japanese included) and choose to do it (or men) are engaging in prostitution, not trafficking.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The way you end "SEX TRAFFICKING" is to eliminate the source of the need unfortunately that is not going to happen. They say prostitution is the oldest profession there are some evil men and women in the game just to make a buck!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wow! I love how the reporter finds such surprise when he’s propositioned by women from another country-who would’ve thought it?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Kurisupiu:

He sounds naive , an easy mark, susceptible to flattery, and has no real knowledge of anyone abused or worse by sex traffickers.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Soo….this guy is saying NON-Japanese chics,….we’re not talking about domestic population

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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