If you’ve spent some time in Japan, you probably know that kyabakura, a kind of hostess bar or nightclub, are an established part of Japanese nightlife. There are kyabakura for all price ranges, and men can enjoy drinks and a friendly chat with young hostesses, or kyaba-jo, who fix you drinks, treat you very nicely and generally make you feel very good about yourself— all for a price of course.
And although the line can be fine sometimes, this usually doesn’t involve any sex at all. But if that’s the case, why do men pay good money just to drink and talk with girls? And if there’s no sex or infidelity involved, and if it’s so common in Japanese society, why does it bother women so much when their boyfriend or spouse goes to a kyabakura?
Many women think it’s a waste of money to pay for overpriced drinks and snacks at a kyabakura, but according to Hiramatsu, men don’t really go to kyabakura to drink. To that, women might say, oh, then men do have a naughty “ulterior motive” when going to a kyabakura after all. But that’s not really it, either. Well, okay, there may be a tiny bit of that too, but the truth is, these men mostly just want to communicate and interact with girls.
Hiramatsu says that psychologically, men have a stronger urge compared to women to control and dominate others. This, unfortunately, doesn’t happen often in real life. If you go to work, you have your boss or clients to answer to. Try it at home, and you’ll create a domestic dispute quicker than it takes to boil a pot of water. So, what do Japanese men do to vent their frustrations? They go to kyabakura, where the girls treat you like a king and patiently listen to all your woes with a kind smile. Well, no wonder men like it so much!
And why should this be so upsetting to women, beyond just being jealous of a boyfriend or spouse spending time with other women? In theory, women should know that men are just enjoying drinks and conversation at kyabakura and the chances of things going beyond that are minuscule.
The real problem, Hiramatsu says, lies not in what the men may be doing at kyabakura, but in the fact that the boyfriend or spouse is going to kyabakura at all. Japanese women in general tend to care a great deal, whether consciously or subconsciously, about what others think of them. A woman with a boyfriend or husband who is overly fond of establishments like kyabakura may be perceived as a woman to be pitied who is left alone while her partner is out spending time with other girls. So, in a way, a partner frequenting kyabakura can reflect negatively on a woman’s sense of worth, which Hiramatsu claims is the real reason for women’s intolerance of men going to these clubs.
Of course, this explanation is not meant to justify men going to kyabakura. If it were the other way around, men probably wouldn’t feel too happy about their partners going to a “host club“. (Hmm, actually, visiting a host club may not be such a bad idea if any of you ladies want your partner to see how they like it with the roles reversed.)
Yes, men will be men, and women will be women, but it’s natural for people to want to vent their frustrations somewhere and also to care about how they’re perceived by others, regardless of gender. The article ends by summarizing that what’s more important than the difference in opinion between the sexes is communicating with our partners (whether it’s about men going to what may or may not be seedy clubs, or any other topic), so that we can be more aware and considerate of their needs and feelings — which I guess is common sense really, but still good to keep in mind, since I’m sure we can all be happier that way.
▼Inside a typical kyabakura
photo by: mxmstryo