Koji Asai of Aravan Lilian What are the origins and merits of these names, what do they think of them, and what kind of people are they? We interviewed Mr. Koji Abarai, a host who has made 160 million yen a year at his host club “Aravan Lilian” in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.
It may be unnecessary to explain again, but Koji Abarai is a major character in Kubo Taito’s “Bleach,” which was serialized until 2016. He borrowed the name as a source name and is currently working as a producer (head of operations) while continuing to work as a host. This year he also made his debut as a manga artist in KADOKAWA’s ComicWalker magazine, demonstrating his multiple talents.
Mr. Asai started hosting four years ago at the age of 22. He says that his name has remained the same since he first joined the company, but the inspiration for the name came to him on a spur-of-the-moment idea.
“When I was in high school, there was a TV show called ‘Guess how much a grandfather knows about his grandson’s hobbies,'” he says. “One of the grandfathers guessed his grandson’s favorite character and said, ‘Koji Asai!” I have never been able to forget it.
Isn’t it interesting to hear an amateur grandfather suddenly answer, “Koiji Asai! Isn’t it interesting that an amateur old man suddenly answers, “Koizi Asai! Just thinking back on it makes me laugh. It’s such a memorable name that it’s easy for customers to remember it, and since I was an anime and manga geek myself, I thought it had something in common with them, so I took on the name.
I hear that there are many hosts with jump names in Kabukicho as well. I am not sure where each of you comes from. Since it is no longer unusual, I am not particularly conscious of it anymore. By the way, one of our hosts also has a source name, Yonezu Genshi.”
It seems that hosts who like anime and manga are nowadays players with more than 100 million yen, but he says, “To be honest, I’m not extremely familiar with ‘BLEACH’.”
However, the name, Koji Asai is very useful for serving customers. Even if I meet a customer for the first time, if he or she responds, “It’s Koiji Asai!” I can tell they are from the same generation that read Jump magazine.
From there, I can draw a picture of an anime character or talk about the manga series. If there is no response at all, you can switch to another subject. It’s a convenient way to find out what kind of interests your customers have.
The first advantage of the Jump Name is that it is easy to remember, and the second advantage is that you can gauge how much the customers are interested in the topic of anime and manga. Incidentally, Mr. Asai was once presented with a replica of a zanpakuto (sword used by the characters) by Kubo Taito’s staff. It seems that it has become the official name of the character.
There is another reason why Mr. Asai has become a famous host in Wide TV. Before becoming a host, he attended a correspondence college, and the type of business he wanted to pursue was far removed from the mizu-shobai business.
After voluntarily dropping out of high school, I attended a correspondence university. When I was a student, I worked part-time for the president of a design company that I had connected with through my Nico Live broadcasts, and later I worked for a major cosmetics company designing cosmetics.
However, none of these companies lasted long, so I looked for a place where I could earn money and ended up working in-house at a delicatessen. It just so happened that one of my seniors at work was working as a hostess at Aravan Lilian, and through his introduction, I was able to join the company.
This is how Mr. Asai became a host, and he quickly became one of the most popular hosts. The month after he joined the restaurant, he became the number 5 host, and six months later he achieved the number 1 position. In addition, he currently has just under 40,000 followers on Twitter, one of the highest numbers of followers among active hosts.