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Host Clubs

Two things motivated this article: a spanking new music album by Club Prince and a side story, “The Man from Kabuki City” by Yuzuha Ougi featured in the manga “Abiru Junjou“.

Reality if often far from the fantasy that fiction creates for us. Ouran Host Club , a popular manga and anime series, definitely glamorizes the truth. More depictions of Host Clubs in popular media include the mind-numbingly plotless movie Gigolo Wannabe, starring the delicious Oguri Shun, and manga Blood Hound by Kaori Yuki, which was turned into a Live-Action dorama The Vampire Host. The host club concept and occupation is also commonly seen in BL manga. Shinjuku boys is a documentary, focusing on a specific type of host clubs: staffed exclusively by FTM transsexuals.

So what’s the real identity of a Host? A positive definition is that they are men dedicated to serve their female clients, meeting their emotional needs by providing them with dreams that make their happy. Host Club‘s clientèle run from wealthy middle-aged career women to workers of the “soapland” industry, all with the common need for attention and affection that can be bought as long as they are willing to foot the bill. However outrageous the inflated bottles of Dom Perignon may cost, these women are willing to pay, even if it may put them in debt. Thus, the truth is far from ideal as dreams that are promoted are essentially illusions and lies that trap women in a vicious cycle, where those unable to break free eventually turn to prostitution to continue dreaming.

Many sympathize with their female counterparts, often faced with withstanding the nasty advances from perverted old men and other gestures that outrage the female modesty for money. Host face similar difficulties, which are often tenfold thanks to the tenacious nature of some of their women clients. I venture to say that society is bias towards the female gender, and the plight of these hosts have been sorely overlooked.

Drinking in the delights of men, USAGI NAKAMURA: Shopping queen shelves host ‘illusion’ and Casanovas for Hire are three dated, but still relevant, articles on Host Clubs featured on The Japan Times Online.

Tokyo plays host to sexual shift, Rent Boyz andBoy toys take center stage at host clubs are articles based on interviews with some of the most popular host clubs in Japan. Club Dios and Club Ai are just some of the Host Clubs who have risen above the rest. Club Prince has even ventured beyond the comforts of their clubs and into the J-Pop music industry, with catchy dance numbers and glitzy outfits. Their blogs (Ran, Sora and Tsuyoshi) are adorable mono/photo-logues of their daily life. They also have an official club blog. The host club concept has even been modified to be made “deliverable”. Much like escort services, Blanc Noeria and Precious provide hosts that are delivered up to your doorstep.

Host – Thor WILLIAMSON is one of the few non-Japanese host that can be found partying into the night. Williamson’s choice of occupation could hardly have been predicted from his upbringing. Born and raised in Hiroshima, his father is a former protestant missionary from Canada who sent his son to international schools in Japan. After graduating from high school in Kobe, Williamson went on to study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Yamagishi Reiko explores the stereotypical view of Japanese and Western men on this unique career choice.

Some Hosts have shifted their focus off entertaining clients to handling the business aspect of things, and turned into budding entrepreneurs and businessmen in their own right. One such example is Takashi Totsuka, who uses the host name Reiji. But in order to excel, there is a price to be paid. Hosts live a damaging lifestyle, of excessive drinking, endless chain smoking and sleeping hours that defy the norm. Many hosts become cynics when it comes to relationships, unable to belief in ‘True Love’ and find it hard to be honest with women.

Documentary by Jake Clennell: “The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief” looks in depth into their world through Issei, a successful host from Osaka, and his club :Trailer. The feature is earnest and honest, digging beyond the superficialities of the industry to touch on the serious issues hidden underneath. An interview about the award winning documentary and be found here: CinemATL .

Issei starts with introducing the “Neverland” concept, referencing to the fairytale land in the story of Peter Pan. Apparently this is an idea that most host clubs adopt, the term being repeated in many of the articles I came across when researching this article. Two main perspectives are explored in the documentary: The Hosts and Their Clients. The interviews cleverly flips from one side of the coin to the other, as both parties voice their thoughts.

This documentary basically reviews the workings of a “Host Club”, providing the viewer with an enlightened understanding of the occupation and industry. How accurate is the depiction? I would say that this documentary is validated by all the articles, linked above, I have dug out. My thoughts on “the scene” was radically changed after watching this. It was quite an emotional journey looking into the lives of Hosts, as their world is really a reflection of a society where dreams are mere illusions to sustain a hopeless hope.

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  1. Gia
    July 29, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I watched Love Thief last night…some of those boys are so cute, it would be easy to spend flexible income on them. And personally, I think it’s a great idea. One hand washing the other, as it were.

    It’s all a dream.

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