Adapting to the Current Market Value: Evolution in Host Clubs Post-Abolition of Pre-Selling | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Adapting to the Current Market Value: Evolution in Host Clubs Post-Abolition of Pre-Selling

The Real Life of Piena by a writer who graduated from Keio University and is crazy about hosu: Reiwa 6 years later, Kabukicho is now ...... #89

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The author graduated from Keio University, where he had been enrolled for six years. After the graduation ceremony, he went to Kabukicho.

In April, pre-selling was finally completely abolished in most stores in Kabukicho. In line with this, there’s been an increase in host clubs abolishing the previously added “card handling fee” of 10%. On the other hand, there are establishments quietly increasing their service fees from 35% to 37%.


“The club I go to charges a 40% service fee. With consumption tax added, the actual payment becomes one and a half times the menu price. But now, it’s hard to judge whether it’s expensive or cheap. Some places have low service fees but high prices for tequila, or they offer limited types of champagne. Prices and menus really vary from one place to another. Well, if you like your host, you’ll just keep going to the club according to their policie.” (Misa, pseudonym, 22)


Police guidance has led to changes in host club menus, such as prohibiting the listing of prices for luxury brandy as “ASK”. There’s also an increase in efforts towards transparent accounting, including clearly listing the fees for champagne towers on the menu.


“If hiding the price of alcohol is a no-go, then all high-end sushi restaurants should be out too, right? But well, it might be good that girls won’t complain anymore after ordering, ‘I didn’t know the price!'” (Yukito, pseudonym, 24)


Since the voluntary regulation of pre-selling began in January, various changes have been observed in host clubs. One is the fluctuation in customer visits by the date.


“The number of customers who work at night has decreased at the beginning of the month. They all want to come together after earning enough, so it tends to be crowded at the end of the month. Therefore, host clubs have become quite quiet at the beginning of the month because we can’t just say, ‘Come, even with pre-selling.’


Also, when customers come to the club, they now ask the girls about their budget. Honestly, until now, if the budget was exceeded a bit, we could just put it on pre-selling, but not anymore. So, the unit prices that could be increased ‘in the heat of the moment’ have decreased. Sales from girls who have money but leave it at home have decreased. There are fewer girls with cards for night use.” (same source as before)


In host clubs where it’s becoming difficult to increase the average spending per customer, changes are also happening on the “closing day” at the end of the month.


“Until now, during the last order on the last day of the month, a piece of paper was distributed to the table, and everything written on it, including drinks, was counted as sales. So, we used to predict by observing the situation at other tables, like ‘If we don’t add another 500,000 yen, we might lose to another host in the rankings,’ and ask the girls to pour more champagne, for example.


But now, we can’t do that anymore, and the sales only increase by the cash the girls bring. There are fewer negotiations between the customer and the host, like the one that used to happen. The original closing day was a world where ace customers were called in, and if the sales were insufficient, they would be asked to pre-sell or forcibly reconcile the accounts. It was rare for customers with low budgets to come on the closing day.” 


Yukito, who said this, also mentioned, “But sometimes I don’t want to lose, so I keep 2 million yen in the locker at the club. Just in case I need to lend it to the girls.” The tension on the closing day, which was caused by pre-selling regulations, disappearing feels a bit lonely.

A new book that compiles this series, “Host! Tachinbo! To Yoko! Overdose na Hito-tachi” (Kodansha) is now on sale.

From the April 19, 2024 issue of “FRIDAY

  • Interview and text Chihuahua Sasaki

    Born in Tokyo in 2000. After attending an integrated school in Tokyo from elementary school to high school, he went on to Keio University. He studied sociology of downtown areas including Kabukicho. After graduation, he has been working as a writer.

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