In most regards, Host bars are hostess bars with the genders swapped. The responsibilities of the host is the same as a hostess. They are both paid to be attractive, to give the opposite sex non-sexual attention in the form of flirtation, lighting cigarettes, listening to their clients problems, laughing at jokes and most importantly topping off expensive drinks. Host can make anywhere from ??? While hostesses generally make more around ??? per month. The top host can make up to ??? While a hostess can make ????? more.
Like the hostesses, hosts might occasionally sleep with customers and receive expensive gifts (including cars and apartments) in return. Generally, both host and customer are realistic about the economic nature of their relationship, and genuine romance is rare. Nevertheless, hosts are occasionally recruited to act as surrogate boyfriends when their single clients want a piece of eye-candy on their arm at weddings or other social events.
Hosts with the most
The most successful hosts aren’t necessarily the best looking. The bars’ more discerning customers seem to value a twinkle in the eye and conversational dexterity as much as biceps and Colgate smiles. Good hosts are often the most pragmatic, remembering seemingly insignificant personal details of their numerous clients, and discreetly recording them just in case. Host’s who invest enough effort and flattery into a customer are rewarded by becoming a customer’s “shimeisha”, or designated host, giving him the exclusive right to entertain (and wring money out of) her. This system prevents infighting and unnecessary competition between the hosts, preserving the harmony of the club.
Hierarchy, as in most areas of Japanese society, is paramount. The “Number 1” hosts who bring in the most drinks commissions receive massive bonuses, and some bars post the ranking of their hosts on the street outside. A good host can make more in a month than most salarymen make in a year. On the other hand, greenhorns are usually forced to do the most demeaning jobs, like scrubbing the lavatories or going out into the street to get customers into the club.
Host bars were on the fringe of Japan’s entertainment industry for a long time, catering mostly to desperate singletons and sugar mummies. Gradual shifts in gender guidelines have allowed them to enter the mainstream, catering to Japan’s new generation of confident, well-paid, savvy young women. In some cases, these women are young, single, and highly desirable, but lack the time or inclination for a serious relationship. While Japan’s women wait for the male domination of their society to erode, host clubs offer an escape from the passive roles many women are still forced into. Now, the industry is worth more than £300 million a year in Tokyo alone.
Late at night, host bars may also provide welcome rest and entertainment to hostesses and other girls who have finished their shift in nearby bars and brothels. Having spent hours pampering others, they are quite happy to pay for the same treatment. In many cases, these girls are, like the hosts themselves, financially comfortable but lonely – their lifestyle making it difficult to form relationships outside the sex industry.
Dangers and Problems
It’s not all glamour. For most hosts, a meagre basic wage is supplemented by a commission of up to 50% on drinks their customers buy (“uriage”). This is a brutal popularity contest, and less successful hosts are weeded out very quickly. As the uriage includes drinks bought for them, hosts are encouraged to drink as much as possible. Many hosts entertain multiple customers in an evening, forcing them to drink a massive amount every night. Not only does this force hosts into frequent trips to throw up in the bathroom, but many hosts are also worried about developing alcohol-related health problems, and might conceal or secretly dispose of drinks rather than imbibe them. Combined with the