Is Hostess a Dirty Job

by Tomotaka Isono

I want to write about the topic which is talked with my classmate in the class. The topic is why we see hostesses as dirty or shameful job, but, on the other hand, we see Geisha as Japanese traditional culture. Are both of them something same? What is the diference between hostess and Geisha? I watched the movie “SAYURI ~Memories of a Geisha” to know about Geisha. (This story is about Geisha girl before WW2.)

First, I mention the common thing. Both of them talk and drink with their customer, sing a song and dance, and sometimes they play games. Thus, business is very similar. Is the diference only clothes (Geisha: Japanese kimono, Hostess: dress)? So why does hostess be seem as dirty job?

You can know the big difference when you learn about Geisha for the first time. Of course, Geisha is similar occupation with hostess. However, if you want to be geisha, you have to go to Okiya (置屋; a Geisha house), and receive hard training from youth. (Once, poor family sell their girl to Okiya and get money.) These apprentice Geisha are called Geiko (芸妓) in Tokyo, Maiko (舞妓) in Kyoto. Everyday they do housework, take care of senior Geisha, practice of singing and dancing. Moreover they have to obey the severe rules for modern girls; for example, they can’t go to convenience store, or can’t go to Karaoke, bowling something like that. Finally They become Geisha in severe rules and environments.  I think people seem them as great culture because these severe process to Geisha. And geisha’s patience and perseverance are also Japanese traditional virtue.

On the contrary, anyone who want to be hostess can become as soon as possible regardless of good singing or dancing. And illegal foreign hostess come to Japan, hard work like indentured servitude, and to force to play sex with customer etc., many factor makes hostess job minus images to people.  This is a result which the owner and government could not help them by rule or something like that. Many of them force to work as sex workers.

So, I think we should  protect them by establishing more severe rules for owners and customers. And also they should obey the rules like Geisha. We should know about hostess and Geisha, especially Geisha system and Hostess problem.


Rob Marshall, “SAYURI~Memories of Geisha~”, SPE, 2005 (Movie)


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