The room with the sharp knives
Japan's 'geisha guys' the latest accessoryMon, April 7, 2008 - 1:44 AM
TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- At first glance, the man and woman at the nightclub look like any other couple on a date. He flirts and pours champagne. She looks at him and laughs.
Businesswomen in Japan pay up to $50,000 a night for male companionship from "hosts" like Yunosuke.
This isn't a date, though. It's business.
The woman, a successful executive, has joined a growing number of professional women in Japan in forking out from $1,000 to $50,000 a night for male companionship.
They meet their "hosts" in hundreds of clubs that have sprung up around Tokyo - the industry says only compliments are exchanged. The women pay for a man to lavish them with undivided attention.
"There's nothing wrong with a woman paying to be entertained by a man," one female client says. "It's just another step in equality."
It's a dizzying reversal of traditional gender roles in a country long known for geishas pampering male clients with conversation, singing and dancing. Now a new breed of entertainer has cropped up -- think of them as male geishas.
"I give women things that men normally don't do, like complimenting their appearance," says one host, 24-year-old Yunosuke, who only goes by his single host name. "I make women happy."
And they make him happy: Yunosuke says he earned more than $200,000 last year, enough to let him visit a salon once a day to have his hair dyed and blow-dried.
"Women see us as one of their accessories," he says. "They like to wear nice things, so I try to look prettier for them all the time."
What drives the business boom is an increase in the earning power of Japanese women, according to Air Group, a company that owns a chain of "host" clubs.
"Japanese women are now working hard and making more money," says Yuko Takeyama, a woman in her early 30s who manages Air Group. "The see this as a way to de-stress."
Women love being treated well without the pressures that come with dating, she says.
Yunosuke's customer from the nightclub agrees.
"This is a gift for myself," she says. "It's the same as spending money on a trip or buying
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|I'd rather have a butler. A smart, understated but attractive man who keeps my house maintained, my pantry stocked, my back rubbed, fresh flowers and candles lit (for relaxation not sex) to meet me at the door with a perfect martini after work. No sex, as I have someone for that, but I would like him to be a CMT.|
A butler would creep me out. My wants and needs are pretty basic. Weird as that may sound from me!
I was just thinking that some aspect of this topic signals something a bit sad about where sociaties heading regarding the growing preference for buying love as a commadity rather than experiencing love with someone who you don't have to pay to be with.
Gee... Am I cheery or what!