I have written a 여성 알바 previous post about Japanese Hostess clubs (see here), so I thought I would also shine some light on the workings of Japanese Hostess clubs. Hostess clubs are a common feature in Japans late-night entertainment scene, East Asian countries, and other areas that have large Japanese populations. Hostess clubs are usually found in the most densely populated areas in Japan, with notable numbers being located in areas of Tokyo like Kabukicho, as well as Osakas Umeda and Namba.
Host clubs are institutions in which attractive young men dressed in suits drink and dine women, who pay for the pleasure of their company. Hostess clubs mainly employ women employees, and serve men looking for drinks and careful conversation. They are found at hosts clubs–the male version of more popular hosts clubs–which began opening when women became more independent and liberated in Japan.
The host clubs were preceded in history by the hostess bars, in which Japanese men would fork over cash to attractive women, who would flirt with them, serve them drinks, and listen to the Japanese mens angst about their own problems. Hosts are male equivalents to hostesses, male performers for whom women pay to have their company, though usually they are not visited after-work by nomikais with their colleagues, as a hostess bar may be. While hostess bars in Tokyo usually have designated men outside on the streets begging customers to enter their clubs, it is common for some hosts to be sent outside to look for customers, which are called catching (kiyatsuchi, kyatchi), but they are often younger, less experienced hosts. In Japanese hostess bars, women will engage with male customers over drinks and engage in flirtatious conversation with them, whereas at the clubs where men are hosts, they will do a similar thing to their female customers.
Kaori Koga, the head of the Association for the Nightlife Industry, told the Asian Times that, whereas the patrons in hostess bars are men — and usually high-status men — patrons at host clubs are not only women, they are also often sexually active workers in their own right. Noriko, a manager at one hostess bar, said foreign hosts bars provide something unique and appealing for her customers, who are often having a hard time connecting with Japanese women. Michelle said she has seen hosts new to Japan shocked at how women are objectified at work. Hostessing is a popular choice for employment for young, foreign women in Japan because there is high demand.
Although currently it is illegal for foreigners to work at a Japanese housekeeping club unless they are Japanese citizens or hold a spouses visa, many women find jobs still taking up the occupation, which is seen by some as the modern-day incarnation of the geisha. Now, according to strict laws, it is legal for foreign women to work as hosts only if they are Japanese citizens or have a valid spousal visa. Japan promised to crack down on the illegal hiring of foreigners at hostess bars, but a 2006 undercover operation found several hostess bars were willing to hire an illegally-based foreign woman.
Business hours were changed by police orders in recent years because of the increasing number of cases of illegal prostitution from customers at the hosts clubs, who were unable to repay hostess bar debts that had accrued. Along with this came other forms of nightlife entertainment — including clubs and bars for both hosts — and naturally, the demand for those types of jobs has increased as well.
Many works of fiction from Japan have shown just how accepted the Kyabakura hosts became within general society. There are a number of Japanese fictional works, such as television dramas, novels, video games, manga (and anime adaptations), that revolve around hostsesses or hosting clubs, such as the 9 Club, Bloodhound, and the lighter-hearted Ouran High School Host Club.
All types of women attend these clubs, ranging from the desk-bound to those who are employed at the clubs themselves. The modern day house club is a similar kind of institution, with mostly male employees attending the women. A hosts club (hosutokurabu, Hosutokurabu) is like a hostess club, except female customers pay to have the mens company.
Sometimes, if the customers, for example, pay a high sum and/or the hosts like them back, hosts may engage in sexual intercourse with customers. Naturally, hosts pride themselves on being great partners, as the more likeable they are, the more money they can convince their customers to spend in the club, and thus, earn.
If the host or hostess gets repeat customers–those who ask them out in particular–and their ranking at the club goes up, the higher the pay is. The average yearly pay for a host or hostess greatly differs depending on ones rank in the club, reputation within the club, and the types of customers. Hosts engaging customers in conversations over drinks, found to be suffering from coronavirus, are paid 100,000 yen ($934) for time off.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike has been especially harsh on the clubs of hosts, who are located densely in Kabukicho, a red-light district of Tokyos Shinjuku-ward. Men working in Tokyos Kabukicho-area host clubs often encounter prejudice from people opposed to the adult entertainment industry, attitudes that hardened recently after authorities identified such clubs as hotbeds for the coronavirus.
Most Kabukicho-area host clubs issued a joint statement in late March, before Tokyos government declared a state of emergency, saying they would stay closed on weekends. It was also an announcement of intention; most of the host clubs in Kabukicho wanted to make it clear that Kabukichos hosts were taking the situation at hand seriously. I have also interviewed some hosts that I have met in Japan at random other places, in order to get an idea about internal operations as well.