Even when handing out cash to customers… How “touts” have not disappeared from Kabukicho
The real life of Piena, as depicted by a writer who is currently a student at Keio University. 4 years after Reiwa, Kabukicho is now ...... #37
If you have ever visited Kabukicho, you have probably been approached by a tout at least once.
Touts are illegal. Don’t follow them! Don’t follow me!
Such announcements are echoing from loudspeakers installed throughout the city, but they are everywhere, and they call out to you with impunity.
Why don’t the touts disappear, even though the police are actively patrolling the streets? It is because there is a certain “demand” for them.
It is true that Kabukicho is full of rip-off stores. But on the other hand, that is also the reason why touts are necessary. Customers don’t know which stores are safe, so they negotiate with touts. Sometimes you can get cheated by them, but if you can spot the touts and negotiate properly, you can get a cheap drink,” said a restaurant owner in Kabukicho.
In the front part of Kabukicho, there are many touts for restaurants, and as you go deeper into the area, you will find more touts for adult entertainment and cabarets, and next to the TOHO Cinemas building, there is an old lady who is a veteran tout with several decades of experience.
Among these touts, a special type of tout unique to Kabukicho is the “free touts” of host clubs. In Kabukicho, they are called “gaikokujin. In Kabukicho, where host club cast members do not tout host clubs themselves, the gaikan brings women to the host clubs.
I have been an outside salesman for about six months. My friend asked me to join as a part-timer.
Masaki (a pseudonym) is a 22-year-old student at a university in Tokyo.
I know some of my male friends at college who work part-time at night as hosts, scouts, or outside salespeople. I think it’s easier mentally because you don’t have to make relationships with anyone in outside sales. Just by introducing one customer to a host club, I usually get 5,000 yen. If I can make someone use me every time, I can earn a steady income.”
Unlike other touts, outside salespeople sometimes “hand over cash to customers.
There is a rule that I can give up to half of what the customer pays. If the initial fee is 3,000 yen, then it is 1,500 yen. We can only do this if the host club pays us more than that as an introductory fee. There are many girls who use the outside sales system to play cheaply at host clubs. We call them “first-time trolls,” and we make a lot of money if they spend a lot, but the host club loses money. We make a lot of money when we have a lot of these girls, but the host clubs lose money, so we sometimes get nailed on the side of not letting obvious first-time trolls in.
In addition, the host clubs sometimes make requests such as this.
When I call the host club and ask, ‘Can one person go now? they not only check my ID, but also ask me what I look like. They ask me if I’m going to spend money or not. I once guided a girl with a really big attitude and was told over the phone to get a better girl (laughs).
Although illegal, touts will not disappear from the streets of Kabukicho as long as there is demand for them. It could be said that touts are what shape the landscape of Kabukicho. There are urban legends such as …… that there are phantom touts who guide you to special backstreet entertainment. Why don’t you walk around Kabukicho paying attention to touts of various types of businesses while being careful of botter stores?
Born in Tokyo in 2000. After attending an integrated school in Tokyo from elementary school to high school, he went on to Keio University. 15 years old, he has been going to Kabukicho and has a wide range of personal connections. At university, he is studying the sociology of the downtown area, including Kabukicho.
His book, ” Pien” to shakai” (“The Disease of ‘Pien’: Consumption and Approval of the SNS Generation”), is now on sale.
Interview and text： Sasaki Chihuahua