Risqué Business: Japan (2023-…): Season 1, Episode 5 - Episode #1.5 - full transcript

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SHINJUKU KABUKICHO

A GO-TO DESTINATION FOR NIGHTLIFE
SINCE 1930

STREETS OF ENTERTAINMENT
WITH DRINKING, SINGING, AND DANCING

OVER 90 YEARS,
IT HAS BECOME

THE GREATEST
ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT

KABUKICHO IN 2023

THE STARS OF KABUKICHO

ARE THE HOSTS

THE MEN AT HOST CLUBS

THAT CATER TO
FEMALE CLIENTELE

THERE ARE 10,000
HOSTS IN KABUKICHO



WORKING IN 300 HOST CLUBS

NO.1 OF THEM ALL

THE LEGENDARY HOST

THE KING OF KABUKICHO

ROLAND

So the people that we are
going to be meeting soon…

- They're well-known among young people.
- Indeed.

- I didn't know they were that famous.
- They went viral on YouTube.

- What on earth is that?
- What is that?

Dong-youp. Aren't
they good-looking?

- Yes. They're hosts, right?
- Yes.

Look at all the
host advertisements.

Oh, my goodness.

There are so many.



This is a totally
different culture

- from ours.
- It's different.

It seems so unfamiliar
and interesting at the same time.

But are we really
visiting a host club?

Aren't you curious?

What could drive so many women

to spend hundreds of millions of yen
on hosts in a night?

Right, I heard that
some women do that.

I wonder what
the driving factor is.

Should we interview some people?

Excuse me.

We're from Korea.

- Do you have time for an interview?
- Sure.

- We're filming something for Netflix.
- I see.

Is there a place
you could recommend for us to visit?

Kabukicho is famous
for its host clubs.

Have you ever been to one?

I've been to one just once.

- How was it?
- I had a great time.

It was really fun.

What about you?

I haven't been to one,
so I'm curious as to what it's like.

I don't have the money for it.

It doesn't cost you much
on your first visit,

but it gets more
expensive after that.

That's why you only went once.

You two should visit too.

If it doesn't cost much
on your first visit,

why don't people go around
and visit all the host clubs just once?

It'd be a good idea
to visit different clubs

and try to find a
host that you like.

Look over there.

Let's number the
photos one through six.

Which guy would
you say is your type?

- The one in the middle.
- The middle one? Itsuki?

- The middle one? Itsuki?
- Yes, Itsuki.

I like number four.

It's good that you
like different guys.

They won't need to
fight over the same guy.

You can stay friends.

If you like the same person,
it could really become a problem.

What about that guy
with his tongue out?

How about the
guy with the tongue?

Is that supposed to be cute?

Is he trying to be cute?

I think he was trying
to make an impression.

- Maybe it's his character.
- Yes.

He might be the best-looking guy
if he doesn't make a face.

- That's possible.
- He might be trying to hide his looks.

People might visit to see
what he looks like.

Yes, out of curiosity.

Hope you have a great night.

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

People have such
different preferences.

Everybody has different tastes,
and the hosts cater to their preferences.

But are we really
going to a host club?

Why would two
men go to a host club?

They say this part of town
is known for it.

Are these all host clubs?

Looks like it. It
says "Player's Club."

"SOPHIA, OPUST,
Select, NEXT, HYDROGEN…"

The club we're
going to visit is…

- THE CLUB.
- THE CLUB.

It's THE CLUB.

- As in, the best.
- Right.

Like you're the Shin Dong-youp.

Dong-youp, I never thought

we would go to a
host club together.

- I know.
- In a foreign country, at that.

We usually go to
Chinese restaurants or something.

What's this noise?

The two princesses
under the spotlight right now

are the most beautiful people
in the world.

PRINCESSES?

I want to be number
one this month.

So please order the
LOUIS XIII cognac.

Let's go for another round!

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

It's not too late to leave.

What's wrong?
This is fun.

How is this fun?

- Welcome.
- Welcome.

- May I show you in?
- Please.

Here's your seat.

You can sit here.

May I join you?

Excuse me.

Let me introduce myself.

I've been a host for four years.

I'm the number one host at this club.
My name is Shun.

- You're number one?
- Yes, I am.

NO.1 SHUN

And I'm the number
two host at this club.

But I'm aiming to be
the number one host in Japan this year.

I'm Tsubaki.

- Aiming to be number one in Japan.
- That's my goal this year.

NO.2 TSUBAKI

Would you like
something to drink?

- What's this?
- It's peach-flavored.

And this is Chardonnay.

Is this alcohol?

Yes. We also have
non-alcoholic drinks.

This is fine.

Allow me.

They're being so
hospitable to us.

You're very hospitable.

Can they describe
what being a host exactly means?

Q. WHAT IS A HOST?

Hosts are unique to Japan
so it might be difficult

to fully understand
what hosts are.

To put it simply,
hosts are idol stars you can meet.

- Idol stars you can meet.
- I see.

Idol stars are
out-of-reach to fans.

But we're people
you can pay to meet.

So we're idol stars
within your reach.

Most people
think that a host club

is simply a place
where people go to drink.

But everyone has
difficult or sad times.

Hosts like us can provide
a shoulder to lean on.

We stay by your
side and console you.

We may exchange
contacts with the client

and become a part
of their daily life.

Is it okay to exchange
personal contacts?

Of course.

Q. HOW ARE HOSTS RANKED?

At a host club,
clients designate a host every month.

They buy drinks
and contribute to sales.

The host with the highest sales
becomes number one of the month.

The top ten hosts are ranked.

THE AMOUNT OF SALES
DETERMINES THEIR RANK

As the number one and number two hosts,
how much are your sales?

I bring in 40 million yen
in sales a month.

400 MILLION WON A MONTH

My popularity
increased last year,

and my sales in the past 3 months
amounted to about 100 million yen.

But Shun makes more than me.

I bring in 60
million yen a month.

Last year, I generated
about 174 million yen in sales.

Amazing.

How much money would it take

to get a drink with the number one
or number two host?

There are two systems
within host clubs.

One is a "first-timer system"
without a designated host.

Your first visit
doesn't cost you much.

If you don't designate a host,
our club charges 3,000 yen an hour.

You can get
unlimited canned drinks.

And the hosts go
around and take turns

introducing themselves
for about ten minutes each.

So you basically pay 3,000 yen an hour
to see if there's a guy you like.

If there's someone you like,
you can designate them.

What's the cost to designate?

The minimum cost is 20,000 yen.

And you can have
unlimited time with them.

We have a roster of hosts.

You can choose someone you like.

What if someone else has already
designated a host that you like?

- You can still designate them.
- Really?

Yes, that's completely fine.

Then does the host move around?

Each client spends
different amounts of money.

Some people buy champagne,

whereas some people
just stop at canned drinks.

When multiple clients designate us,
we prioritize the one who spends more.

That's bound to
spur some competition.

Yes, we see it
happen occasionally.

Have you ever lost
the number one spot to somebody else?

Yes, last November.
To Tsubaki.

Are you still on good terms?

I don't consider us friends.

We're rivals.

I see.

There's definitely a boundary
since we're rivals at work.

What are your charms
as number one and two?

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR CHARMS?

For me…

it's my looks.

My face and my discipline
when it comes to diet.

Hosts drink every day.

So many hosts tend to gain weight
as time goes by.

I usually don't brag
about my physique,

but I try my best to stay fit,
so I have abs.

Not too bad, right?

I take care of myself.

He has a cute face,
but his body's jacked.

He takes care of his body.

He's very strict in
his self-discipline.

Before I became a host,

I used to be a hikikomori.

A recluse.
Hikikomori.

I experienced some dark times.

So I was struggling mentally,

and when I hit rock bottom,

I understood for the first time
what it felt like to be weak.

Having that experience,
I've become a good listener.

That's important because a lot of people
who are struggling mentally come here.

Maybe that's why you seem brighter
and you seem darker.

People do say
we're like yin and yang.

The body and the mind.

The two of you together
would make an invincible duo.

- They'd have no match.
- That's right.

You must get
exhausted sometimes.

What motivates
you to keep working?

The best thing
about working as a host

is the money,
women, and alcohol.

To put it simply.

That's the reason I got into it.

I came to Tokyo
from a small town.

My family wasn't very well-off.

During my childhood,
my choices were very limited.

I wanted to make a lot of money
and turn my parents' lives around.

That's admirable.

Things like buying my own house.

I dreamed of things like that.

I want to root for this guy.

It's actually not that difficult
to start working at a host club.

Sometimes, it's the final destination
for people who have nowhere to go.

I think of it as a place
where even a person with nothing

can get back on their feet
and look for opportunities.

Looking at
you in the eyes…

How can I put this?

He's charming.

I can't explain it, but…

I find you riveting.

Thank you.

Before we came here…

I was grumbling,
saying I didn't want to come here.

But after talking to you guys,
I think he's becoming intrigued.

I'm slowly getting into this.

Slowly…

Are you falling for us?

You can designate me.

When we came in,
you were all standing together

and doing this.

You were cheering.

THE SPECTACLE THEY
SAW UPON ENTERING

You were making quite a commotion.
What was that about?

It was a champagne call.

- A champagne call?
- Yes.

When someone orders champagne,
we do something called a champagne call.

It differs depending
on the price.

The cheapest ones
start from 150,000 yen

and the expensive ones
start from a million yen.

TEN MILLION WON?

The most expensive
drink at our club

is over there on that shelf.

That one in the middle
is 60 million yen.

It's 60 million yen?

In December, one of my clients

ordered a 20-million-yen drink.

Shall we order a bottle?

At a host club?

We should contribute
to their sales.

- Let's order something then.
- Let's go.

Are we starting now?

Which drink?

The one that's
1.5 million won.

If we order the
15-million-won drink,

the producers
might cut ties with us.

We'd like the champagne please.

When there's a champagne call,
the credit for the sale goes to a host.

Who would you like
the credit to go to?

What should we do?

They have to choose one of us.

Both of you have been so good to us.
Can't you just split it?

We can't do that.

A MOMENT TO DECIDE

What do we do?

These guys enjoy
the competition.

What about letting
number two have it?

I think giving it to number two
would make for good competition.

Tsubaki then.

He's so disappointed right now.

He's tearing up.

Let me have it.

No wonder he's number one.

- Seeing as you're number two…
- Tsubaki then.

Yes!

Thank you.

I'm so happy.

I'm upset.

He feels wronged.

I'm going to beat
you this month.

- Okay, we've decided.
- Let's go.

We're ready!

- Here we go!
- Here we go!

The amazing
gentlemen at table A-3…

have popped open a bottle
of high-quality champagne!

Everyone gather up at table A-3.

Please say a word.

- What should I say?
- Anything.

I wish you the best
of luck. Thank you.

I wish all of you will become
the number one host.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.

I told people I was planning
to visit a host club in Japan

and asked about
the owner of this club.

I was surprised to find
that many younger Koreans knew him.

ROLAND, the owner of this club,

is pretty well-known
even in Korea.

Does he still work as a host?

Yes, he still gets designated.

The cost to designate him
starts from 100,000 yen.

20,000 yen for you two
and 100,000 yen for him.

He's famous in Japan too, right?

Absolutely.
He's one-of-a-kind.

He's written books,
he gives lectures,

and he continues to do
a lot of other work.

- He's beyond a host. He's a celebrity.
- That's right.

THE ONE-OF-A-KIND HOST

HE HAS APPEARED ON TV

AND HAS PUBLISHED COLLECTIONS
OF HIS FAMOUS QUOTES

THE KING OF KABUKICHO

Since we're here,
we'd like to meet him.

He said that special guests
would be coming

and told us to show you in.

ENTERING THE VIP ROOM

Welcome.

Welcome.
Pleased to meet you.

- Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.

Make yourselves at home.

Hello, thank you for visiting.

It's nice to meet you.

First of all, I'd like to
give you my business card.

Of course.

This…

TAKEN ABACK

Here.

Here. Thank you
so much for coming.

That's why you kissed…

- Sorry for using just one hand.
- Thank you.

This is how I give out my business card.
You might have been a little surprised.

It's a business card
but it only has his name on it.

There's no phone
number or address.

I don't list my phone number.

I only give my number to people

I truly want to get close to.

I don't want to give
my number too easily

so I only share my number

if I really want to
get to know someone better.

- That's a high hurdle to pass.
- It is.

What you experienced out there
was like the appetizer in a course meal.

I'm the main dish.

You're very eloquent.

In Japanese culture,
when you meet someone new,

it's considered good manners
to show humility.

Being humble.

But for us, our job is to sell our time
and make clients pay a lot for it.

So for us, it's good manners
to say "I'm the best guy here."

Even if you personally don't think so,
I believe that's the right thing to do.

That makes sense.

If you present yourself
in a confident manner,

people tend to think,
"Maybe this guy is really something."

When and how did he become
the King of Kabukicho?

It took me two years
to become number one at 20 years old.

Looks are important,
but so is attitude.

For instance,
hosts are chosen by clients, right?

But I didn't want to be
a host that was chosen.

I wanted to be one
that chose his clients.

I maintained that determined attitude
when I met with my clients.

People have said that I was too arrogant
when I wasn't even that popular.

But I couldn't let go of my philosophy
and pride just for the money.

Sometimes, extremely rude people
throw money at me saying,

"You're a host, so
you should do anything for money."

But when that happened

I asked them to leave.

On the other hand,
when clients with little money

come to me and tell me
they saved up just to meet me,

I accept their designation.

So there are things
that you do and don't accept.

If there's something
I truly want to do,

I'll do it for no compensation.

That's amazing.

If you try this
drink, you'll see…

- What is it?
- It's just tea.

Do you not drink?

No. I work as a
host without drinking.

I don't know what
you guys might think,

but being a host
comes with heavy drinking.

But I don't drink.

I drive myself to work every day
in my Rolls Royce.

We didn't ask about your car.

I wanted to brag a little.

Driving myself to work

lets people in the industry know
that I work without drinking.

It might seem arrogant,
but people think,

"He's making sales without drinking.
He really is the king."

It gives a strong impression.

Are there clients that plead with you
to have just one drink with them?

There are.

But I have to provide the best service
to every client whenever they come.

If I get drunk,
I'll lose control of myself.

And the client visiting me
on a rare day that I'm drunk

would have to leave
without receiving quality service.

So I don't drink
in order to maintain my condition

to deliver the best
service that I can.

That's the reason I don't drink.

Did you have another job
before becoming a host?

I used to play soccer.
Do you watch soccer?

- Soccer?
- Do you watch it?

No wonder his thighs are…

You're right.
I played for quite a long time.

I was really into soccer,
so I did nothing but play for ten years.

I had an away game in Brazil.

I'm about the same age
as some of the famous players

such as Coutinho or Neymar.

I watched some games there

and realized I'd
never get to their level

even if I tried all my life.

The players that I trained with
are stars now,

scoring goals with large crowds
cheering for them.

Seeing that makes one
feel defeated as a man.

So I decided I would show them
that I could succeed

and came to Kabukicho at 18.

But of all the jobs,
you chose to become a host.

Isn't that rare, even in Japan?

In Japan, if you want to
turn your life around…

Even if you aren't born into money,
don't have famous parents,

don't have talent,
or didn't graduate from a good school,

there are still some jobs
you can get into to turn your life around.

Becoming a professional athlete,

a singer, or a celebrity.

In most cases, that's it.

But in Japan, there's something called
mizu-shōbai.

You don't need
any qualifications,

and you only need
passion to work.

By getting into that business, you can
make enough money to turn things around.

Unfortunately, I
wasn't a good singer

and I wasn't smart either.

I had nothing.

I had absolutely nothing.

For someone like me to become a man
that could change the world,

coming to Kabukicho
was the only way.

I didn't want to be someone
with an ordinary job

who watched his former teammates on TV
and longed for the lives they had.

So I started out in Kabukicho
to turn my life around.

It's like a movie.

It seems like there are
many host clubs here in Kabukicho.

How many are there?

Probably around 300.

300?

Just in Kabukicho…

There are about 300 host clubs
and 10,000 hosts.

In any country other than Japan,

a business like
this wouldn't flourish.

Spending 100,000 yen a night
at a host club

may be unheard of in Korea,
but it's an everyday thing here.

Spending hundreds of thousands
on someone you can't even touch

is rather common here.

It's because Japanese people

highly value the
time spent drinking.

For example, in
Brazil, there are people

who spend their entire fortune
on the Rio Carnival.

There are people who would do anything
for the Rio Carnival.

It's the same with us.

Japanese people spend a lot of money
on time spent drinking.

They want to spend the money

- because they enjoy that time.
- Exactly.

That's quite different from us.

We love to devote
ourselves to others

and value the time spent drinking
more than any other people.

That's what
drives this business.

He's written books
and given lectures.

Q. WHAT OTHER WORK DO YOU DO
BESIDES BEING A HOST?

Besides working as a host,
I make TV appearances

and I'm also working
on another book.

I donate the royalties
to building schools.

And I also donated
to the recovery efforts

when there was a
big earthquake here.

While working as a host,

he writes books and
appears on TV too.

That's something that wouldn't be
so easily accepted in Korea.

It's interesting that Japanese society
embraces hosts the way it does.

- It'd be tough in Korea.
- Yes, impossible.

Japan's public broadcaster, NHK,
has very strict regulations.

- Very strict.
- Yes.

When I was on
one of their shows,

I asked them
why they invited me.

They told me that
whatever the occupation,

anyone working
with a professional attitude

was valuable.

They thought I was genuinely engaged
in my job as a host

and wanted me to
be on their show.

By gaining credibility
and going on TV,

I think I may have changed
the industry a little.

Q. WHAT IS THE SECRET
TO YOUR POPULARITY?

Is it your eloquence?

Is it your face,
the things you say, or your body?

Upper body?

Or maybe your lower body?

Well, I am confident
in my lower body too.

The thing is, I
talk for a living,

so people quote what I say
as famous sayings.

For instance, there are
two types of men in this world.

Do you know what they are?

Do you know?

Me, and the rest.

ME, AND THE REST

- There are also two types of women.
- What are they?

Women who like ROLAND,

and women who will like ROLAND.

WOMEN WHO LIKE ME

AND WOMEN WHO
WILL LIKE ME

Are there more?

I have more fun looking in a mirror
than watching TV.

When somebody asks me
why I keep my sunglasses on, I say,

"Because my
future's so bright."

I CAN EVEN MAKE
A MARTIAN LOVE ME

WOMEN NEED WATER, FOOD,
AND ROLAND TO LIVE

WHEN I'M DRIVING, I USE MY AURA
INSTEAD OF TURN SIGNALS

I WEIGH 75KG
BUT 15KG OF THAT IS CONFIDENCE

I CAN'T CONTROL THE WIND
BUT MY CHARMS CAN BLOW YOUR MIND

EVEN THE TRAFFIC LIGHT BLUSHES RED
WHEN IT SEES ME

HUMANS BREATHE OUT CARBON DIOXIDE,
I BREATHE OUT WISDOM. THAT IS ALL.

On good days, I
bet I could win at rock-paper-scissors

against myself in the mirror.

I COULD WIN AT ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS
AGAINST MYSELF IN THE MIRROR (?)

- You aren't drunk, are you?
- I'm not.

I'm just stressing
the importance of confidence.

I always say that confidence
is like makeup for men.

Your speech, hair, and everything else
fit right into what you say.

There are many
people who have told me

that they like my low voice.

So I always put my
humidifier on at 75%.

It's like an Amazon rainforest.

It must get foggy.

- Do you use a humidifier?
- I do.

What's your setting?

I only use it before concerts
and not every day.

I'm taking better care
of my vocal cords than a singer.

When do you take
off your sunglasses?

There are people who come to see me
in person and people who see me on TV.

If I treat them the same…

I mean, my clients spend
a lot of money to come and see me.

Treating them the same as people
who see me on TV feels disrespectful.

So I take off my sunglasses
only in front of those

- who designate me.
- I see.

His hands are beautiful.

Does he take
special care of them?

It's easy to neglect
taking care of your hands.

Especially for men.

But women tend to
look at your hands.

So I use my Jo Malone
hand cream very thoroughly.

- And… Yes, that's right.
- Jo Malone hand cream.

I also sometimes use
makeup on my hands

if I get a cut or something.

- To hide it?
- Yes, and to make them look presentable.

A person that takes care of
these little things

can become a true number one.

If you were to determine
just by our looks,

who do you think would make

more money as a host?

This is hard.

It's a hard question.

I'll go on a diet.

A diet?

I've put on some weight lately.

- I see.
- I can look better than I do now.

I would say Si-kyung.

You definitely have confidence
in your posture.

Right, I'm not
sitting like this.

If you were sitting
like this during an interview

at a typical company…

- I wouldn't make it.
- No.

But what I want
is not someone who's polite,

but someone who thinks
they are the best.

- That's me.
- Is it?

Don't overdo it.

What is that?

You have nice legs though.
They're fair and clean.

You own this club at the moment,

but are you thinking
of retiring someday?

I've thought
about it, of course.

But I don't want to retire
just to make way for younger hosts.

In other words, I
want to be pushed out.

I want to do my very best

and if I ever feel that younger hosts
are on a higher level than me…

That would be it?

Yes, then I'd feel
it would be time to step down,

but I don't think that's going to happen
for another three hundred years.

I guess I'll keep working.

I'm rooting for you.

Thank you. I'll
be a host forever.

Q. WHAT DOES BEING A
HOST MEAN TO ROLAND?

A host club is a rare place
where unique things happen.

Like the champagne call,
where all the guys come together.

Being served by men who specialize
in taking care of themselves

isn't something you
can experience every day.

Speaking as a host,

it's the one and only place
where a person with nothing to his name

can become a star.

You can't find that
anywhere else in the world.

Probably not even in Korea.

Here, you can make a name for yourself
even if you don't have anything.

A host club is probably the only place
where that's possible.

So to those of you
aspiring to be a star,

learn Japanese
and become a host.

Through this show,
I want to tell everyone that

anyone has the potential
to become a star.

But that doesn't mean
anyone can succeed.

That goes for
all other jobs too.

You won't be able
to do better than me,

but the number two spot is attainable,
so give it a go.

He's so charming, isn't he?

That's good to hear.

I want to come again.

I didn't get why
he was so confident at first.

But now I'm thinking,

"He's right. No
one can beat him."

No one can beat ROLAND.

I'm glad I got that across.

I'm realizing that we all work hard
regardless of what we do.

- We're all working hard.
- That's right.

We're all fighting
hard to succeed.

Quote me sometimes.
"There are only two kinds of men."

"Me, and the rest."

I'm going to use that line.

I want to write something down
for the guys I became friends with.

If you turn over
my business card, it's blank.

Even your fountain
pen is high-quality.

He sure is a professional.

THE KING OF
KABUKICHO, ROLAND

Subtitle translation
by: Sophia Ha