With a large number of non-essential businesses in Japan–and across the world–temporarily closed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, a lot of people are out of jobs for the foreseeable future. No less is that true than for the host club industry, whose business is in entertaining women (and some men) with one-on-one attention from handsome men.
While ordinarily the best of the hosts can make as much as tens of millions of yen per month, the host clubs being closed means they can’t make a dime. And with everything closed and the Japanese government highly recommending that people stay home, more and more people are likely to feel a lack of social connection in their lives, which is, until now, a hole that the host club industry has always been able to fill.
Don’t worry, though; there’s a win-win solution! C-FU, Inc, a Japanese entertainment, fashion, and marketing company, has re-released their app, toU (pronounced “to you”) especially for the host club industry and the people they entertain.
toU is a live stream app for male influencers that was released in December last year. It allows influencers to stream live videos for 30 minutes, during which fans can send them “gifts” in the form of hearts. At the end of the session, the fan who sends the most hearts to the streamer gets three minutes of a one-on-one chat with them.
While this is a little bit different from the traditional host club system, it’s easy to see how it might appeal to the host club industry and its customer base. The app allows hosts and their regular customers to meet face-to-face once again through live streams and chats, so it’s brimming with possibilities for the host industry. And not only that, but those who have never been to a host club or are too shy to go can try it out from the comfort of their home!
Though the app was fairly new, the service was temporarily closed in February for improvements, with plans to reopen it again in June, but with the changes brought about by coronavirus, the company decided to restructure their plans to launch the re-release sooner for the sake of the host club industry.
The new version of the app has streamlined its process to be focused on communication. There are no more special gifts or flashy animations that users can send to their favorite streamer. They can only send hearts, which they can purchase in-app. The idea was to make it so that anyone, even first-time viewers of live streams, can feel comfortable participating, and so that fans can simply enjoy the conversation between the streamers and the viewers.
▼ Like on Instagram, the hosts can share photos of their daily life, and go live while their followers send hearts and comments.
The makers of toU hope that the release of this app will help people who are feeling lonely and isolated from their friends and family enjoy a little bit of their time stuck at home. And of course, they also want hosts to not have to worry about paying their rent; during the special period that this version of the app is available, toU is offering increased pay for live streamers, to make sure they can make ends meet during these difficult times.
The service started on April 9 and will be available for an undetermined period, so if you are a handsome guy looking to entertain some ladies (or guys), or if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps with everything that’s going on, why not give toU a try? The app is free to download from the Apple Store or Google Play, with the option for fans to buy “gifts” in-app, so it might be fun to take a look at. You never know; you might find that the host club world is actually kind of cool!
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