The Perks Of Being Japan’s Top Gigolo
The profession? Being a gigolo — or more politely, a “professional host”.
The video introduces you to Japan’s top host, Akaya Kunugi. He works at Japan’s largest host club called “Acqua”.
As he arrives in a roaring white Lamborghini, it becomes immediately clear that boyish-looking Mr Kuguni is not your average host.
When asked about the car, he told the interviewer that it was a gift from a customer.
And in case you’re curious, it’s a 2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante. The elegant vehicle will set you back roughly US$370,000 (S$509,582).
Duties of a professional host
Maybe you’re wondering, what does a professional host do?
They drink and chat with customers. At the end of the day, their job is to get customers to buy drinks from the club.
Mr Kunugi revealed that hosts have many ways of enticing customers to make more purchases. For example, some would pretend to head to another table for more drinks. In a bid to keep them at the table, their customers would then order more.
This also inspires “competitiveness” within the club — with each table trying to outdo the other in terms of orders.
Most hosts are required to bring in at least US$4,500 (S$6,200) in sales – purchases made by customers – every month. Failing to hit sales targets means they’ll have to perform club cleaning duties.
Mr Kunugi added that newer, less popular hosts have to drink a lot more than the top-level ones. And if they get tipsy, they’ll be reprimanded and relegated to – you guessed it – cleaning duties.
No easy road to the top
Getting to the top was not easy for Mr Kunugi.
When he was younger, he failed to get into a top school thrice. Because of that, his parents “gave up on (him)” and told him that he ought to try making a living for himself. So with US$53 (S$73) in his pocket, Mr Kunugi headed to Tokyo, where he would begin his career as a professional host.
As with most sales jobs, starting at the bottom is tough. In the first year, Mr Kunugi took home roughly US$400 (S$551) a month. He had to pay for rent and phone bills, which left him little money for food. For weeks, he would eat only 1 packet of fried noodles a day from the convenience store.
At least there’s quite a good selection
But of course, with persistence and determination, he made it to the top. For the month of November, he took home a whopping US$186,000 (S$256,242).
Every host has his style
When the interviewer asked Mr Kunugi if he had anything to say to aspiring hosts, he replied,
Please don’t copy what I do.
He explained with bashful confidence that not many people can succeed by doing what he does.
As for those currently in the industry, he advised them to look for their own style of hosting rather than try to imitate him or other top hosts.
Don’t get too excited
At this point, if you’re a guy, you may already be scheduling an appointment with your hairdresser and preparing a picture of Mr Kunugi for reference.
But remember, you’re looking at the top host in Japan. For all you know, there could be thousands of other hosts struggling at the lower rungs, living on a single packet of fried noodles each day for a year.
Still, what a job!