Hostessing is a popular job

erika momoeOne quarter of high school girls in Japan say they don’t mind becoming a hostess. We are not talking about hostesses who takes customers to tables in restaurants. Hostesses in Japan are modern “entertainers”, who are getting paid to chat with (business) men and serve alcohol at hostess clubs. There are host clubs so there are male entertainers as well. Westerners are often puzzled by this system because men are paying hostess girls just to chat. Usually prostitutions aren’t involved in hostess business even though it does happen due to the nature of the business. Hostess girls are usually in their early/mid 20’s and their job is to flirt with patrons so they keep coming back to see them and order expensive alcohol. Hostesses normally get commissions and they work under enormous pressure. The hostess job is glamorized because of the media and there are some former hostesses turned successful business owners.

Eri Momoka is a successful former hostess. Post hostess career, Momoka started her own business and her business became very successful with an annual revenue of approximately 5 million dollars. That is pretty good for a girl in her late 20s. I even feel a little jealous! lol 

Japanese media has glamorized the life of hostess and more and more young girls are wanting to work as a hostess because they think they might have an opportunity to be like Momoka after she leaves hostess job. In reality, only a few hostess girls can make it to the top level and there are many no so glamorous life will be waiting for these young girls if they just jump into this field without doing their homework. Hostess job is also physically draining because the club usually opens at 9 or 10pm at night and they are open until 5 am or so. And Hostess has to make their patron customers order as many expensive bottles as possible so she will have to drink a lot with these men and as some hostess said in this documentary, it can be physically challenging because of the schedule and excessive drinking she had to do every night. That will get old so fast..let alone their liver will be messed up in a few years.

So this isn’t for everyone and hostess usually leaves this job once they managed to save certain amount of money to get her own place or start a business like Momoka. The only problem that I have with this whole hostess industry is that the media gives an impression that this is a be-quick-rich type of thing. If you are lucky, healthy and have the personality and beauty, maybe you can get more patrons to meet your sales goals but a lot of hostess girls will end up burned down and in the worst case, they start visiting host clubs in where good looking Japanese entertainers work and these hostesses may spend all their earnings. That did happen before.

I think for all these high school girls who dream of becoming hostess so they can follow Eri Momoka’s footsteps don’t really understand the reality of hostess business. It is not that glamorous. Some men are quite nasty and mean. They may yell at you, touch you and make you an offer into your ear to see if you will be willing to go home with him that night. Basically you have to be ok with people treating you as a sex object. Kind of like bunny in Playboy. Still Japanese mainstream does not acknowledge hostess as a “career” and in fact it is still frowned upon due to the controversy.

When I was studying in Los Angeles, they had huge Japanese community in where several Japanese style night clubs were located. My friend was working there, and she would tell me American police comes in to do periodic checkup to make sure that there is no prostitution going on like other massage parlor. Nothing like that was going on but it is confusing for westerners that men are paying for some appetizers and expensive drinks and conversation with girls…That is a little strange. Hostesses have ranking so if you want #1 to come to your table, you have to pay a lot of money to reserve her. If you are interested in this aspect of Japanese culture, you should definitely google hostess clubs in Tokyo and try it out. But make sure to bring your credit card and plenty of cash…because depending on the club, they charge outrageous amount of money. The top hostess is said to make $100,000 a month..a month! Can you believe that? Normal people wouldn’t make that much even in a year.

But I believe in hard work and I know as a fact that hostess is a tough job and it is stigmatized. So you wouldn’t want your parents or relatives to know about your job if you decide to be a hostess. In reality, these aren’t even escorts, but often flirtation and romance could develop between hostess and her it is still deeply stigmatized career. If you do this kind of job, you will have a hard time returning to a normal 8-5 job because you aren’t going to make that much money if you work in the office.  I don’t judge girls for becoming hostess because of financial reasons and I understand that they may just see the glamorous side of princess like life in the beginning, but she will soon realize that it is a pretty competitive field. Their job is to sell ridiculously overpriced liquor to their patrons and keep making them spend money.

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