Should Japan Create a “Hostess Visa”?

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.

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One thought on “Should Japan Create a “Hostess Visa”?

  1. Not all Filipino women are working as hostess or club dancers in Japan.

    Most Filipinos have bachelors degrees especially those younger generations.

    The “hostess” or “Japayuki”, a term which is known as counter part of Japan’s “karayuki” era have long gone since 2010s. But not denying the fact that Japayukis era boomed in 1990s. Let me share the point of view here. Japayukis (a term which Filipinos used to refer to women working in Japan as enterainer), have a history how it all began as they were refered to as Japayuki or hostess. Before, they only work as entertainers, the ones who are only working as waitresd, dancers and singers. But unfortunately, as club businesses become larger and larger, a certain mafia began exploiting this field. Those mafias, Japanese refer to as Yakuzas. Some customers whom other suspected as yakuzas began taking out women and get them start to work not only as an entertainer but also an undertable worker,sidelining for one night stands in exchange of large sum of money. No differ from hostesses which Filipinos look down as big no no in their own country. That’s how it all started. Most clubs in mid to late 90s were run by yakuzas. It was said that they exploit and traffked women by recruiting Filipinas, making them sign a contract with huge allowances but in turn, they only give half of what was promised. Even Filipino community did not tolerate this scheme.

    Now adays, Filipinos work not as hostess but in delicate tough jobs of their perspective fields like medical, factories, business companies.. The only problem is their opportunity to stay longer legally in Japan because Alien visa have very limited time allowed for foreigners to stay in Japan. Another problem is the language barrier. Though many Filipinos had passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, some companies does not entertain foreigners who are not fluent in Japanese. Only 50-60% Filipinos are lucky enough to have decent jobs in companies.

    The hostess thing is also a problem in the Philippines that they want to give an end. That is why only a few are allowed to travel in Japan even if you have legal documents. The only ticket they get is that sham marriage. Which is also a big problem at the Immigration. They cant say no to legally married couples.

    We should not stereotype Filipino women. My mother is not a hostess and my father is a Japanese. Most Filipinos have abilities and skills, it is just that they have less opportunities and chances because Japan only have limited opportunities offered to foreigners. The sad thing about this is that clubs are open to any applicants. But not all Filipinas who are jobless in Japan are applying in clubs. Some prefered to work in low skilled jobs like janitress, encoders, dish washers than work as hostess.. That’s how my family started. lol

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