by Sayaka Kuroiwa
Now there are many Filipinas who work as hostess in Japan. Besides some of them stay in Japan illegally. What makes them do so? One of the answers is ‘poverty’. They had little money in Philippine, so they come to Japan to earn money. They have ‘Japanese dream’. They are choosing ‘unfreedom of hostess work’ than ‘unfreedom of poverty’.
They are often despised because of illegal stay and characteristic of the work. Then, what does a hostess do? They sing with customers, play games, and drink alcohol, and so on. Most of customers are middle age men. The customers go to hostess bar to experience male superiority. Maybe Japanese superiority, too. And they go to feel exoticism. This work is not above other works in social status. But they are working to lead a rich life.
How are hostesses different from/similar to geisha?
There is a similarity between hostesses and geisha. They entertain male customers. But many people have better impression on geisha than hostesses. Actually geisha is tourist attraction in Kyoto. Why? It is because geisha has become one of Japanese traditional things, and many people regard them polite. On the other hand, hostess work often link with sex-work and human trafficking. Actually, the number of Filipinas who became a victim of human-trafficking is increasing in Europe, America, and Japan. So, in 2000, “Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime” was adopted. In Asia, ASEAN set a subject to remove women-trafficking.
Should Japan create a “hostess visa”?
I think that Japan should not create a hostess visa. To be sure, I want Filipinas to be protect by law, however, if Japan do so, Japan must allow sex-industry to come into Japan. The difference between hostess work and sex-work are so obscure. If create a new visa, Japan can’t help poor Filipina women truly. Japan should remove poverty in Philippine first. As Japanese do, Philippine should raise the standard of education of Filipinas. And Japan should help Philippine with ODA, NPO…etc. I insist that creating a hostess visa does not become an essential solution to help Filipinas.