The Practice of Enjo Kosai: Dating for Assistance

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  • Topic: Japan, Enjo kōsai, Age disparity in sexual relationships
  • Pages : 1 (296 words )
  • Download(s) : 166
  • Published : March 13, 2013
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Compensated Dating
A recent development in modern Japan has been the appearance of the practice of enjo kosai, translated as "subsidized dating", "compensated dating", or "dating for assistance". Japanese girls, often still in high school or even junior high, make arrangements with older men who pay them for dates. The arrangements are usually made through telekura (telephone clubs) or merukura (email clubs). While the arrangement is not explicitly for sexual services, the nature of the activity is such that such activities are known to occur with some regularity. Up until very recently, the low age of consent in many areas of Japan and the restricted legal definition of what constitutes prostitution has protected the participants from legal repercussions. Even with new laws, enjo kosai is still a widespread and controversial activity. To non Japanese this seems to be a form of softcore prostitution. The high value in Japanese culture for youth, along with the incompatibility of Japanese consumer culture with the lowered economic prospects of the average family since the boom of the 80s collapsed, have been cited as driving forces. Enjo kosai has also been strongly identified in the public eye with the kogal subculture. It is no surprise, then, that recent anime have begun to portray enjo kosai, particularly if it is trying to be a youth series, or socially relevant. The practice itself is rarely given a positive light, but the portrayal of the participants varies widely. A young girl is usually a sympathetic Hooker with a Heart of Gold variant, dealing with financial problems, emotional turmoil, or peer pressure. Ironically, if the young girl is shown to be in control or enjoying the situation it's a sure bet she'll be marked with the proverbial scarlet letter and written off as irredeemable.
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