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Japan Hostess

Wed 2011/01/26 20:51 JST

After learning about Japanese culture, you will sooner or later come across the term "Kyabakura" [キャバクラ] which refers to a bar that employs ladies to sit next to you who will light your cigarettes (if you smoke) and pour drinks for you - and if you don't drink then you cant get in as that's one of the main ways these establishment make their dosh.

"Kyabakura" is a compound word made up of "Cabaret" [キャバレー] and "Club" [クラブ]. Ladies that work at these establishments are called Kyabakura Jyo [キャバクラ嬢] which is often shortened to Kyaba Jyo [キャバ嬢] or Hosutesu [ホステス].

These clubs make their money in varying ways. The one in the poster above charges 3,800 yen for 40 mins where apparently you get to drink as much as you want. They charge 3,000 yen for every extra 20 mins you spend in the place and if there is a particular girl who you want to look after you then you pay an extra 3,000 yen. They also charge 15% tax when the national tax rate is only 5%.

Usually what happens is that one of the hostesses will accompany you at a table and chat with you. They usually make a commission depending on how much you drink - the more you drink, the merrier you and her purse will be. She will probably try to keep you in the bar beyond your initial 40 mins in this case where you will have to fork out more dosh - and again the merrier your hostesses purse will be.


These photos were taken when we visited Hokkaido a while back - was surprised to see that Sapporo had so many ^^; In Tokyo, hostess bars/clubs are usually found in the night districts such as Shinjuku and Ginza.

Many business men spend their time at these clubs and would often get attached to a particular hostess. Many hostesses are required to meet some of the clients outside of the club to go on a date which builds the relationship between the club and the customer. While some of the dates end up with hanky panky, much of it ends up with the customer buying a load of expensive clothes, jewelery and in some cases cars and apartments for the hostess.

Folks do not generally go to a kyabakura for hanky panky - just to sit with a girl who will listen, talk and casually get you to stay on and drink as much as possible ^^;

There are also Hosuto [ホスト] or "Host" bars for women too where strapping handsome lads will do exactly the same for women. The drama Yaoh [夜王] was a great drama which depicted the lives of hosts in Shinjuku.


The world of the Hostess and Host are often featured in drama, some anime and on TV variety shows too. A young lady called Yuka Saotome is one of the hostesses who has been featured in the press of late. Shes in her twenties and currently works part time at a Kabakura to make ends meet to support herself and her young son. She was born deaf and converses with customers through her notebook and pen.


Looks like these ladies want you to give them a whirl. You got the photo annotation tool - go ahead and highlight your fave out of these photos.

Kyabakura sound like a place you would want to visit?

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Tokyo · CEO Mirai Inc

Director for Culture Japan. Creator of Mirai Suenaga. Member of the Japanese governments METI CIIC.


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