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Host and Hostess Clubs are a common feature in the night-time entertainment industry of Japan. They employ staff and cater to clients of specific genders; serving drinks and attentive conversation. The staff who tend to the clients, known as Hosts or Hostesses, light cigarettes, pour drinks, offer flirtatious conversation, and sing karaoke to entertain customers; basically acting as "hired boyfriends/girlfriends" for the night.
In addition to their on-site duties, hosts/hostesses are generally obliged to engage in paid dates with patrons outside of the bar and regular working hours. This system generates repeat patronage of a particular bar by developing attachments between particular customers and hostesses. Sometimes sex occurs on these paid dates. Hosts/Hostesses may be deducted pay for not having enough dates.
- Hosts and Hostesses can be seen as the modern counterpart of Geisha, providing entertainment to the likes of groups of salarymen after work.
- Host and Hostess clubs are distinguished from strip clubs in that there is no dancing or nudity.
- Hostesses often drink with customers each night, and alcohol problems are not uncommon. The light or no alcohol content of the drinks purchased allows the maximum profits and assures the hostess does not become intoxicated after only a short time at work.