Books and beautiful boys beckoning women to Shinjuku’s Kabukicho?
Upon first seeing Kabukicho, part of Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, some people think it’s got a bit of a misnomer. Kabukicho literally means “kabuki town,” and references a long-ago abandoned plan to build a classy kabuki theater in the district.
What Kabukicho ended up with instead is the densest concentration of hostess and host clubs in Tokyo, offering intoxication and attention from the opposite sex all night long. But now there’s a proposal to bring some culture to Kabukicho, not in the form of kabuki, but as a unique bookstore.
The vision for the Kabukicho Book Center is a bookstore stocked entirely with books on the theme of “love.” However, Kabukicho being what it is, the planners seek to combine a traditional bookseller with aspects of a host club, in which women pay to drink with handsome men.
The Kabuki Book Center isn’t going to combine a bar with a bookstore, though. Instead, the employees will be men with host-quality looks and conversational prowess. Smappa! Group, the bar, restaurant, and host club consortium behind the Kabukicho Book Center, says that salespeople will provide one-on-one service to customers, helping them find a book that perfectly suits their tastes, talking with them about it, and listening to their romantic troubles and worries.
It’s unclear whether patrons will have to pay extra for this individual attention, but for an additional fee they can have their purchases delivered by their book-host to the closest station to their home or another designated location.
In addition, the Kabukicho Book Center will be publicly displaying rankings of how much its employees have sold. This is a common practice in the host (and hostess) club industry, encouraging customers to spend more so that their favorite guy can claim the coveted number-one spot.
But before all that, the Kabukicho Book Center is seeking crowdfunding money to get off the ground, with a campaign going on now through crowdfunding site Makuake. The campaign has 42 days left to go and reward tiers start at 3,000 yen (US$27), which includes a book and signed message from one of the hosts, and can be found here.