Embodying Japan: Cultures of Sport, Beauty, and Medicine 2017

Hostessing: A Role in Maintaining Corporate Relationships

An increase in capitalism causes an increase in salarymen. This has also given a rise to the hostess industry, which has commodified women. The market for hostessing is extremely large, and most of the customers are working salarymen. These working salarymen tend to see hostesses as a stress reliever, which sexualizes women and enforces the nationalistic identity that women’s labor should go into appeasing men (Allison 14). Shannon Brook's article explains how in modern day Japan, the stigma around sexual labor has decreased because it was seen as a "gratification and stress relievers for good workers and citizens" (Shannon Brooks).

However, there is a bigger role for hostesses than just having sex. This is not a requirement of their job, although most hostesses do tend to sleep with their customers in order to make more money (Quinn 3). Hostesses are actually in charge of harmonizing coworkers in the workplace. By doing so, they appease the men with whatever it takes, whether it is talking to them or allowing them to feel pleasure (Allison 14). This job of womanhood lies not only within harmonizing the family, but harmonizing the overall company as well- which is supposedly the hostesses’ ultimate goal (Dixon 1).

The job of the salaryman and job of a hostess both have labor that contributes to the overall health of society. As mentioned earlier, the salaryman is required to not only make money for the individual, but also to consider how their work is contributing to the overall well-being of society: the economic growth of Japan (Ryu 4). However, a woman’s job is to make sure the health and well-being of the salaryman is taken care of (Dixon 11), and thus allow the company the salaryman works for succeed.


With men feeling overworked and culminating diseases such as karoshi, the role of a hostess is more important than ever (Kanai 209). However, the job itself undermines the hostess’ self worth, promoting the idea that anything a woman does must be in the best interest of the male patriarchy and that a male’s comfort is the top priority (Dixon 11). As this gender identity of womanhood imposed by the state becomes increasingly commodified, women are deemed less valuable. This is indicative in Akemi’s story, who found it hard to cater towards what her male customers wanted. She felt like a “modern geisha”, by having to hold back from talking about events she cared about so a customer did not feel bored, but still having to sound smart in order to be liked by customers (Dixon 20). This double standard imposed by the capitalistic venture of hostesses in order to appease overworked salarymen puts a woman’s own credibility in jeopardy. (Dixon 12). David Takimiya's article also mentions how the salaryman and corporate companies utilize women for their own benefits, whether it is being active members at host clubs, or even giving out marriages bonuses. Women play a big role in fulfilling the salaryman's success and gratification, but sacrifice their own needs as a result.

Works Cited
Allison, Anne. UChicago Press. N.p.: UChicago, 1994. Print.

Dixon, Dwayne. "Women Serving Men: Hostess Clubs and a Genealogy of Gendered, Affective Work." Scalar. Scalar, 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <https://goo.gl/0BJ8Hg>

Quinn, Suzanne. "The grim truth about life as a Japanese hostess." The Telegraph. N.p., 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/9524899/The-grim-truth-about-life-as-a-Japanese-hostess.html>.

Kanai, Atsuko. "“Karoshi (Work to Death)” in Japan." Journal of Business Ethics(2009): 209-15. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <https://goo.gl/DQiM43>.

Ryall, Julian. "Karoshi Crisis: Why are the Japanese Working Themselves to Death?" N.p., 22 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

This page has paths:

This page has tags:

Contents of this tag:

This page references: