lifestyle

The truth behind maid cafes—are they that quirky?

18 Comments
By MADINA BAYGELOVA

The cute and adorable exterior of maid cafes will catch the eye of passersby, and we doubt you will resist the temptation to have a look inside. The place itself resembles a quaint coffee shop, which seems to be dragged outright from an anime, skillfully nestled on the corner of an actual city street.

Maid cafes, places which seem to be renowned solely among otaku and slightly eccentric people. Or is it so? What is hidden behind the maid cafes’ Narnia door and is it as quirky inside as it’s believed to be?

Crossing the threshold

Once you decide to brush off your social anxiety and finally get inside, plenty of cute girls will meet you at the entrance, welcoming you with enchanting smiles and shouting Irasshaimase. They usually clad in aprons-like gnaws trimmed with lace, making them look like pretty anime or manga characters.

Depending on the cafe, visitors can be called Goshujinsama ( ”Master” in Japanese) adding some peculiar charm to the place. Fluffy armchairs and colorful tables give to the atmosphere some childish vibes, and it seems like the place itself suggests visitors to act playful and relax. 

Oh my! Should I wear this?

You can be offered to wear a cute rabbit or cat ear headband, just to blend more into the local atmosphere—but no one will insist if you turn down the offer. While they serve food and drinks, the maids will also entertain you and even teach you how to dance and sing along with them.

Sometimes, they also conduct special performances on a lit-up main stage, with dances and anime-like songs. Those who are not into this sort of entertainment might find the offer quite weird, and depending on the person, the impressions and feedback on the experience will vary.

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© Savvy Tokyo

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18 Comments
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Fun, harmless, escapism. Good for them!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Too childish for me.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

They are extremely disturbing. I was taken once by a Japanese friend, and it was the creepiest 30 mins of my life. Most of the other patrons looked like they were chain-smoking serial killers. And half the "maids" looked like they were from broken families with rampant child abuse.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Quirky? No

A gateway for maladjusted perverts to indulge kiddiep0rn fantasies? Yes.

A profoundly disturbing industry.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It can be somewhat scary for some girls. There are many instances of stalking. Some guys even blackmail the girls if the girls are from more conservative families.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It’s just only a part ( maybe the cutest ) of all that same pattern entertaining , idol, cosplay, animation sector. Whatever you think about it, it contributes to the fact , that we have low crime rates, women can walk without great fear alone at night and so on, although of course a rest of risks remains. But compare it with other countries, where you will as a woman even may find yourself raped or dead at daylight in the city centers, still not to speak about dark corners at night.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

...making them look like pretty anime or manga characters.

Giant eyes and blue, green, etc hair would do so -- anime must have that.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A gateway for maladjusted perverts to indulge kiddiep0rn fantasies? Yes.

Projecting?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Only in Japan. I dont think there is any other country that would allow this type of cafe to operate.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The beauty of Japan is in the willingness to innovate and try things which seem a bit 'different' without any hesitation or embarrassment in doing them as best they can manage. This is indicative of the Japanese ability to adapt themselves to new circumstances and helps to explain their consistent successes in cultures around the world. And the serious commitments they make to what they do means that it will be done well. However 'strange' or 'quirky' such a cafe may seem is just a measure of how little a person may value true innovation in search of a market. However 'closed' Japanese society may be, the Japanese Mind seems as open to new 'seeds' as a spring paddy but with an amazing variety of Life taking root in their perceptions of this Universe we are embedded in. The rest of us can only watch and wonder. Nihonkabure? Sometimes it's just not possible not to be...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

With the above said, there is, of course, also things like:

New Products

Make a bold statement with this striking Zero Fighter Model 52 kimono

Dec. 3 05:48 am JST

A Maid Cafe nay seem 'strange' to some but a kimono emulating a Zero fighter... hmmm,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A good friend and co-worker was on a visit to Japan and one of the memorable things he saw was a man dressed head to toe as a bunny walking down a busy street, and nobody seemed to even notice.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Brian WhewayToday 04:43 am JST

Only in Japan. I dont think there is any other country that would allow this type of cafe to operate.

Believe i saw a few maid cafes in the States. Definitely nowhere near as many as Japan, but they are there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sven Asai Dec. 3 08:46 pm JST

It’s just only a part ( maybe the cutest ) of all that same pattern entertaining , idol, cosplay, animation sector. Whatever you think about it, it contributes to the fact , that we have low crime rates, women can walk without great fear alone at night and so on, although of course a rest of risks remains. But compare it with other countries, where you will as a woman even may find yourself raped or dead at daylight in the city centers, still not to speak about dark corners at night.

Since you are not a woman, you can be forgiven for not knowing this. The truth is, women in Japan get the same levels of harassment that women in other countries do, and the rape stats say that only 4% of rapes, compared to 20% in other countries, are reported. In other words, these types of establishments don't fend off sex crimes. There is no evidence for that whatsoever, and I would even go so far as to argue that such establishments harm women in other ways that may not be immediately evident. For example, women in the workplace being treated like sex objects instead of employees.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

ArtistAtLargeDec. 3 08:49 am JST

Fun, harmless, escapism. Good for them!

Escapism from having to treat women as full and equal human beings that have sexual autonomy and a brain. Yes, I see ...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I don't get it and i'm not interested.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For example, women in the workplace being treated like sex objects instead of employees.

That happens in every workplace or place of business and it's emphatically not confined to men objectifying women. It goes every which way now, men hitting on men, women on women and women objectifying men even. Some people are not in control of their libido. It controls them.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Desert Tortoise has a point, for example there is actually quite a lot of harrassment of straight men by gay men in the workplace. Thats just a fact but it is not even aknowlegded. We need a more comprehensive debate on such things. I have never been in a MC and I wont be either because they are just not my...cup of tea(Pun intended) , but if the gils like it and they get paid, its their own business, and they should be left get on with their own lives. If people want to go there, its their business also. Its not for me or for feminists or, especially men to exaggerate and misrepresent and criticise something they clearly are threathened by.

The "Liberal west", tolerance of the extreme levels of homelessness & drug-abuse concerns me more than Japans tolerance of Maid Cafes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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