JIN-458 -- What do you know about hostessing? Part Three

J@pan Inc Newsletter
The 'JIN' Japan Inc Newsletter
A weekly opinion piece on social, economic and political trends
in Japan.
Issue No. 458 Wednesday March 26, 2008, Tokyo

What do you know about hostessing? Part three


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This week's JIN comes from a young woman who worked in the
hostess trade in Japan. It chronicles some of her experiences
and wider observations about the industry. To read part one
please visit: www.japaninc.com/jin429 and to read part two go
to: www.japaninc.com/jin252

In response to our reader 'C.J.' I decided to continue this
series by focusing on what happens outside of the hostess club.
C.J asked me to elaborate on the practice know as 'dohan.'

Most hostess club and some snack bars require their hostesses,
per month, to spend time with the customers before or after
work. The only required extra time is called 'dohan.' In the
hostess business 'dohan,'which literally means 'to accompany'
or 'going with,' is a paid for date. The customer or the hostess
will arrange to meet a few hours before work starts, have dinner
and then the customers will accompany the hostesses to the club.
The hostess clubs charge a flat rate for the customers to take
the hostesses out which varies from club to club. The customers
of course pay for the dinner and other activities like any other
date. High-end clubs will require the hostesses to go on
anywhere from 3 to 5 dohans per month; if they do not meet this
requirement then they will be docked pay. There are also
'afters' which is when after the club closes (usually between 12
and 2 am), the customer takes the hostess(es) out for more
drinking and usually eating. The most popular places to go are
dart bars, karaoke bars, and other snack bars that are open in
the morning for the purpose of the 'afters.'It is also very
common for hostesses to participate in other activities besides
dinner dates, and more drinking. One of the most popular
activities is golfing, which many hostesses pick up because most
of the customers play golf. The golfing outings can be like a
dohan, where after the 'date' the hostess brings the client to
the club, or they sometimes happen on weekends. To re-iterate,
the difference between a dohan and a date is that a hostess will
bring the client to the club and then the club will charge the
client for the hostesses' time.

As C.J. mentioned (http://www.japaninc.com/jin429#comment-762),
dohans and afters are essential for a hostess to maintain her
customers. By spending time outside of the club with clients
hostesses can build a more personal relationship which
facilitate entertainment in the club setting later. Dohan are
also essential if the hostess is to build enough client decent
relationships to sustain a good income, or money from tips or
gifts to be able to set up independently. However, this is where
the lines between hostessing and prostitution begin to blur.
Most will not have intercourse with a customer for pay, however
others feel that they should in order to maintain a good
relationship with their customers. Others get taken advantage
of. I can not say definitely whether or not any of the hostesses
that I know ever had sex for money. But in any other work
environment, this would not necessarily be an issue of
prostitution. For instance, you work in office and your client
happens to be attractive, so you ask her out on a date. You pay
for the meal, the taxi, the movie, and the after dinner drinks
at the darts bar and then you take her 'back to your place.'
This is a common scenario. Would that be considered

It is important for a hostess to have one or several big
customers if they are to be successful. These men can make or
break a hostess, they provide financial support through gifts,
and if they spend enough in the club, they can make their
hostess number one. The 'number one' receives an extra cash
bonus at the end of the month, and if the number one continues
to bring in money they also receive priority in other aspects of
work, such as getting put on the track to be a chi-mama
(vice-mamasan/manager). This aspect of the work is where dohans
become very important, because not only does the hostess get to
spend more time with her client but she also earns more money
for the club via the dohan charge/fee.

Both establishments where I worked did not require me to attend
dohans. The foreign club where I worked did not require it of
any of the hostesses, and the high-end Japanese club did not
require me to because they did not think I could. I did however
go on dohans, afters and dates with customers. Many months I
was at the bottom of the payroll and in ranking at the hostess
club because I was not required to go on dohans so I never
arranged them. However one month I actually did go on a few
dohans with an older hostess, her customer and his son, so I
was not at the bottom. The way we would know who made the most
for the club was through the payout system. We would have our
monthly meetings and envelops filled with our pay would be
giving out in order of number one, number two and on down the
line. The number one would also receive her extra bonus at this

By 'June'


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Dear June,

Thank you for your answer in extra article.
Even I wrote nothing about prostitution, you answered me in one discussible sentence. I dont want to say that hostesses are prostitutes but you mix prostitution and promiscuity together. You asked me the question: "For instance, you work in office and your client happens to be attractive, so you ask her out on a date. You pay for the meal, the taxi, the movie, and the after dinner drinks
at the darts bar and then you take her 'back to your place.'
This is a common scenario. Would that be considered prostitution?"

My answer is no, but if was it for any andvantage (for example future deal or contract) I would answer yes. If hostess girl goes to love hotel with customer only because of he is attractive,that is 100% OK.
But if hostess girl sleeps with customer because of keeping customer longer and he will bring more money to bar, that is kind of prostitution.
I dont want to blame hostess girl I just wanna know, why should I take hostess girl out of hostess bar and spand or waste such a huge money?
Thank you June

Dear C.J.,

Thank you for your comment, and you make a very good point. The mizushobai/hostess business has many 'gray areas' and the line between promiscuity and prostitution is blurred. In regards to your comment...

'I dont want to blame hostess girl I just wanna know, why should I take hostess girl out of hostess bar and spand or waste such a huge money?'

To the clients, they are not wasting their money. To them they are not only helping the hostess but they also enjoy their times with each other. For most clients of hostess clubs who choose to take the hostesses for dates and such, they are usually in unsatisfactory relationships, or they have no significant other. Many of the customers who do not participate in Dohan have families, children, wives etc. and use the hostess clubs as places to relax and bring their colleagues. The men who participate in the Dohans do not have that; either they have been divorced, or were very busy in their early careers and were not able to maintain a serious relationship. These are the men who have the thousands of dollars of disposable income but have 'past their prime', ie they have past the socially accepted age to marry.

This is of course from my experience in the industry, and I do not know the characteristics of every customer, and everyone has their own reasons.


Dear June,

you made this topic clear for me.

Thanks a lot


Dear June,

My husband has been having an "affair" with a hostess for several months. He claims that they have feelings for each other and that it has nothing to do with her business. We have a family together and I can't believe he is throwing it away for this. I know he has feelings for her, but how likely is it that she actually has feelings for him. She calls him occassionally and they go out on a date about twice a month. He isn't a wealthy man.