Virtual kyabakura on the rise as Japanese hostesses use Zoom to keep working during coronavirus pandemic

We recently wrote about the various ways that the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the adult industry in Japan.

While certain prostitution services are attempting to exploit the crisis for its marketing potential, the plight of hostesses is gaining attention. Kabukicho, where many hostess clubs are located, has been identified as one of the probable causes of the spread of the virus in Tokyo due to the closely confined nature of the clubs. One-fourth of people in Shinjuku infected in March were working in role connected to nightlife services.

With nightlife in the capital essentially dead for weeks and central areas like Shinjuku ghostly quiet, especially since the state of emergency was declared, what about all those hostesses, bouncers, touts, and so on now out of work? The compensation package lined up by the government will not, at least it was initially announced, provide for such people, provoking a response that this constituted job discrimination.

Some enterprising hostesses, though, have found ways to continue working in the age of corona: through virtual kyabakura, or virtual hostessing. (Kyabakura is a Japanese word for “cabaret club,” a euphemism for hostess club.)

A Japanese television show highlighted this trend, demonstrating how it works with a video link placing the hostess and client in the same “room” digitally speaking. This is done using the now globally popular Zoom, hence the particular service that has pioneered this approach is called Zoom Kyaba! (sic).

zoom kyaba cabaret club hostess japan zoom coronavirus pandemic

zoom kyaba cabaret club hostess japan zoom coronavirus pandemic

The trend was also featured on Yahoo! News in Japan. We are not sure how widespread it is yet but this particular service was set up by a guy in his thirties, who was interviewed in the article.

An hour with a hostess costs ¥3,000, with an addition ¥2,000 charged if you wish to specify which hostess. (This is quite a bit cheaper than the cost of an actual hostess club, where you typically pay ¥5,000 for an hour — plus have to pay for the hostess’s drinks, which have a heavy markup.) There are currently over a dozen ladies with whom you can chat on Zoom, though only between 7pm and 12am.

Incidentally, though it has been prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, this virtual/digital hostess clubs is not without precedent.

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1 Comment

  • Dafty April 13, 2020

    So sex services during the pandemic is limited to online sex? I guess you can’t really ask too much at times like these.

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