Photo: Press release

AI Japanese bar Mama-san is ready to listen to your troubles at her virtual bar

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In Japan, the owners of small neighborhood bars are usually referred to as “Mama-san,” since they generally cultivate an image as a kind and comforting presence. A good Mama-san is always ready to open her heart and lend an ear to her customers, and many earn a loyal group of regulars who come not just to quench their thirst, but to unpack their troubles.

However, with the continuing coronavirus pandemic, many bars in Japan are temporarily closed to help prevent infection vectors. One Mama-san who’s still ready to listen, though, is Yoshiko, who also happens to be an AI.

There’s also a human Yoshiko, shown in the video above. She runs a bar in Miyazaki Prefecture’s Nishitachi, one of Japan’s foremost bar districts, and the AI. was developed based on 50 hours of interviews with her, during which the designers took careful note of how she listens and responds to someone laying out what’s troubling them.


The AI Yoshiko’s virtual bar, which was created in conjunction with suit maker Yofuku no Aoyama, is free-to-use, with no registration required. Once you’ve clicked to enter the bar, Yoshiko will greet you and ask what’s on your mind, giving you a lengthy list of common concerns, which you can then narrow down to more specific stress sources.

As a virtual bar (which can be found here – click on よしこに相談 to get started), it’s a BYOB deal, so as we cracked open a can of Asahi Super Dry from the fridge, we selected the “daily life” category, followed by “coronavirus” and “I’m stressed out because I can’t see my friends and family.” Yoshiko then offered us the following words:

“Times like these, when you can’t get together with other people, really are stressful, aren’t they?…I think creating a space where you can talk with someone you trust, whether it’s through video chat or taking other precautions against infection, is the best thing to do. And if you’re not the type who ordinarily chats with your parents very often, maybe this is a good opportunity to give them a call.

This is really the sort of time when it’s important to talk to one another. Talking with someone, anyone, helps get rid of the stifling feeling a lot of people are experiencing, just like how we’re talking with each other about the things that have been weighing us down.”

Of course, there’s plenty of non-corona-related stuff to feel stressed out about in life, and the list of things Yoshiko is ready to talk about also includes friction with your boss, family, or romantic partner, loss of motivation at work, trouble sleeping, or the difficulties of moving to a new apartment, among many, many more.

There’s even a text box in which you can type in your own specific problems, although at the moment that has a chance of AI Yoshiko politely saying she doesn’t have any specific advice. However, as the pro she is, the AI asks that you come back and ask her again at a later date, since right now she’s still in her Yoshiko Version 1 form, and the more experience she gets talking to people, the more topics she’ll be able to reply to, showing that communication really is a two-way street.

Related: AI Yoshiko website

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Revolutionary A.I. voice software produces incredible vocals that sound just like a real human

-- The sweet smell of virtual YouTuber success – Kizuna Ai’s new fragrance on sale now

-- Japan’s newest virtual YouTuber boasts 17 years of idol experience, is only 12 years old【Videos】

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Perfect for all the keitai zombies who prefer staring at their phones all day instead of interacting with the real world

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Mix that with alcohol and it's bound to give you some nightmares.. WTF?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Scary and gross.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The great philosopher Marvin gaye once said, 'Ain't nothing like the real thing'.

This is so unhuman, I can't stand it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This "business" is possible only in Japan.

Nothing for me sorry,I prefer to meet and talk with real people.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think this sums up perfectly everything that is wrong with Japanese attempts at innovation. What talent there may be is squandered on crap like this.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I believe that the buzzword "AI" is most abused in Japan. You want to sell some crap, fast and at a decent profit? Slap an AI sticker on it. So what if it's a simple algorithm that hasn't seen any learning.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

thats looks so creepy holy

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a horror movie

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sounds like Eliza, the Rogerian Therapist computer prgorams from the mid 60s

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites