Male hostess at Shangrila restaurant.

The sounds of congratulations surrounding her made the young woman feel like she was a princess, being praised by dozens of princes even in just a short time.

Shangrila is a male bar in Kabukicho, the famous red light district of Tokyo, where young men make a living by entertaining female customers.

Boy pubs have developed in recent decades and become popular and socially accepted, along with `kaba kura` which in Japanese means pubs with female hostesses serving male customers.

Customers can have sex with hostesses, usually outside of clubs, but in bars, the gigolo’s main job is to stroke the customer’s ego rather than their flesh.

Shangrila in literature is described as a mysterious oriental paradise on Earth that the club owner wants to create such an imaginary land where attractive and seductive young men meet all of their needs.

Almost every need

`Women can talk to many types of men here, who spend many hours grooming themselves every day, different from the types of men they meet in real life. Many even have plastic surgery,` Ryo

`Basically, customers spend money to buy the time and effort of gigolos. They have to compete with each other to see who buys more expensive alcohol to be served by the best looking guys.`

Outside the pub, there are pictures of famous gigolos ranked according to customer reviews each month.

The profession of a gigolo in Japan

Miyu, 23 years old, goes to Shangrila 7-8 times every month.

Women often take out their wallets and spend money to buy a tower of champagne or cognac for the flight attendant’s birthday.

`A lady once spent $34,700 on a champagne tower for my birthday,` recalls Hiro Kousaki, 30, currently the second-ranked male flight attendant at Shangrila.

Most male escorts expressed reluctance when talking about income, only Kousaki freely revealed that he earned 70,000 USD in his birthday month.

However, the cost of maintaining an attractive appearance is not cheap.

The gigolo job also requires strong health and psychology.

`There will be countless times when you get drunk or get bloated from alcohol so you have to go to the toilet and vomit it all up. If you drink too fast, you will also pass out early. One night, we usually had to drink about 10 bottles of beer. During the first year

The profession of a gigolo in Japan

The male hostess ranking board hangs outside the pub.

In addition to regularly drinking alcohol, many male flight attendants also become addicted to gambling or shopping, according to Tachibana, a manager with 24 years of experience.

Onizuka recalled that the female customer who spent the most money he had ever seen was the daughter of a wealthy real estate family.

Dark corners

About 60% of Shangrila’s patrons work in Japan’s huge sex industry.

`They are mentally tired because of work pressure,` Onizuka said.

`About 15 years ago, there was a customer who splurged at the club. One night, she gave me $2,600 to eat the fried noodles she had just spit out under her high heels,` Tachibana recalled.

`Working in the sex industry, she has to do everything the customers ask all day so she comes here to relax and use the money she earns to order someone to do what she wants,` Tachibana said.

Another dark side of this industry is that young women who accidentally splurge at clubs will be tempted to sell their bodies to pay off their debts.

Similar cases happen frequently, according to Aki Segawa, a lawyer at Lighthouse, an anti-human trafficking NGO in Japan.

Tachibana believes that this industry is now cleaner than before, as there are fewer scam clubs, opening hours are limited, police regularly check, and gangsters are less likely to intervene.

`When I first started my career, most of the high-end escorts came from street gangs or yakuza clans,` Tachiba said.

Miyu, 23 years old, an attractive girl, said she works in the `entertainment industry`.

`I can temporarily forget about work for a few hours here and then regain my strength to work the next day. The flight attendants here listen to me and frankly advise me because they don’t really know me. Summary

The profession of a gigolo in Japan

Onizuka (right), owner of Shangrila and manager of Tachibana.

She is not interested in dating male flight attendants like some other women.

`The relationships and roles here are very clear. I am the one in power,` she said.

`We like to have fun with customers who understand we are just hostesses,` Kousaki said.

However, no matter how much money he spends, Kousaki admits that male escorts are not capable of realizing any woman’s dreams.

`I think we don’t really satisfy them, maybe we just fill the void in their hearts.`

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