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"That leaves a bad taste for some people who think we're just ripping girls off." - Raging libidos - Ichijo argues that it is simply a case of supply and demand."Hosts exist to fill a void in someone's life," he said. We pamper to a woman's every need -- listen to her problems, tell her she's beautiful, act out her fantasies." With harsher restrictions on opening hours, regular police checks and far less 'yakuza' gangster involvement, the host business has cleaned up its shady image in recent years."When I was 20 a customer bought me a Porsche," said former host Sho Takami, who owns a chain of clubs and likens a host's role to that of a psychiatrist, with benefits.
"We're selling them dreams, so you lie about loving them in return for serious money," added the 38-year-old club manager, freshly blow-dried and shirt open to reveal a medallion.
But online dating websites and apps seem tailor-made for adulterers, time-wasters and players to run amok unchecked, leaving those who are actually seeking a genuine connection having to wade through a sea of nonsense in order to potentially find love.
For Japan’s single women in their 30s, an extra layer of “marriage desperation” can make this search even more fraught.
But the promise of sex is still dangled as bait in a cutthroat industry, admits Ichijo, whose plush apartment screams bling.
"Sex is not necessarily part of a host club's service," he said.