The kyabakura, or Japanese hostess club, is a phenomenon that most people in the West are at a loss to understand. Misconceptions range from the belief that these clubs are fronts for prostitution to assumptions about women being treated as objects. While the way women are treated is certainly not what one might call “gentlemanly”, the truth is a little less black-and-white than that.
Performing sexual acts as part of working in a kyabakura is something that brings scorn and contempt upon the woman who does it. The culture of the hostess club is one of entertainment, and prostitution is generally looked down upon. There are still those who are tempted by the money and gifts that men bestow upon them, especially when they offer their bodies as part of the deal, but these incidents are fairly rare.
The goal of a hostess is to entertain her clientele, making them feel like all their needs are taken care of and putting them as the center of attention during their stay at a club. From top-of-the-heap executives to the average salaryman, all types of clubs exist for all types of people. The classier ones can extract a heavy toll from a customer’s wallet, especially if the hostesses are skilled in their trade. The more a hostess gets their customer to spend in a night, the more they earn, so luring them into spending big bucks on bottles of champagne is as art all its own.
Visiting a Kyabakura has become an integrated part of the business world, a way in which potential partners treat each other when trying to secure a deal or how bosses reward their productive employees. It may be hard for the typical Westerner to understand why one might go to a club, spend a great deal of money and at the same time be resigned to the fact that the woman who is fawning on you all night is not going home with you. When we go out to a club to meet women, we’re usually hoping to hook-up for the night. Most of the men who attend kyabakura are married and know that will not be the case. They are there simply to indulge their egos a bit and are willing to pay for the service of a woman who knows how to do it well.