A growing trend—billed as a means to combat stress—for Japanese women is to buy the time and attention of doting males at designated "host" clubs. Much like Japan’s famous geisha industry, where women sing, dance and coddle their male clients, these "geish-os" can earn as much as $200,000 a year complimenting female clients on their appearance, engaging them in intelligent conversation, and keeping their drinks full and flowing.
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Critics of Japan's male escort business fault the proclivity for paid flirtation to lead to paid sex, a reputation that the better known clubs deny and blame on seedier joints. Crossing the line from entertainment to sex is bad for business, one male host reported to British newspaper The Guardian in 2004.
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(Photo courtesy of Hiragana Times)