Are you being served? Tokyo's 'butlers' spruce up cosplay cafes
February 22nd, 2012
11:00 AM ET
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Being waited on hand and foot now comes at an affordable price in Tokyo. A new butler-themed cafe in the Japanese capital is proving a hit with young females in search for a relaxing afternoon, an English lesson and just as importantly the chance to interact with friendly foreign men.

Shibuya's "Butler Cafe" in the heart of the city has surroundings that bring to mind a Victorian grandmother’s sitting room, with classical music, ample accents of lace and more hearts and roses adorning the furniture than can possibly be counted.

After interviewing 200 women on the streets of Shibuya nearly six years ago, owner Yuki Hirohata found that nearly all of them listed English conversation practice as a leading goal because they wanted to “communicate with foreigners.”

Western men in particular have long enjoyed popularity among Japanese women, and Hirohata’s survey revealed that they especially liked how the foreign men made them “feel like princesses.”

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Filed under: Asian • Feature • Japan • Japan Eats • Japanese

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. 匿名


    August 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  2. Daniel

    I wonder if you get "extra service" if you request anchovies, like in that movie from the 80s with Patrick Dempsey.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  3. frenzied snail

    Yes ripple dipple, this boy on the left is very, very cute.

    And Alex: 2 x 12 years old, this is ok. Please see properly again, or is it just envy?

    This cafe is a dream and perfect for any girl here to fulfill the dreams of every princess

    February 23, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  4. Hannah Louise

    Like Mei-Chan's Butler drama series, this is not new in Japan. But foreigners like me are well attracted to such Cafe phenomenon especially if it involves hot men serving you.

    February 23, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  5. Momiji73

    This is amusing, but Butler Cafe is not new. I live in Tokyo and a British friend worked for Butler Cafe quite a few years ago. That said, he had good strories and it sounds similar to what this article reports.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  6. lerro

    Asian men are always looked down upon. Asian women prefer white guys because they want white babies not asian ones.
    Sounds racist and harsh but it is true.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Seriously?

      This is arguably one of the most ignorant comments i've ever read.

      Because a few may want this, everyone may want this. Please refrain from speaking and broaden your perspective.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • flint24

      Very true. If you go to Japan, foreign = white. You'll not find any brown butlers in there.
      However, in Sweden, white women there find black and brown men exotic and attractive. I bet you could do the same thing there with good results.
      Human nature. Ain't it f888ed up?

      February 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • chris

        Yeah......just don't try to go home to meet mom and dad!

        February 23, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Wendy

      Asian woman and white men can not produce white babies, mostly likely still asian babies.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:37 am |
      • Richard

        To Wendy: My god, you are ignorant. You are subscribing to the one-drop rule. If one drop of non-white blood is in a person's veins, that person belongs to the non-white race. Extremely racist and you must have bad vision to boot.

        February 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • greengo

      according to what you wrote, i reckon you only read tabloid. that was the main reason the US started useless Iraq war flamed up by Fox news :) prejudice and bias against not only japanese male but also asian male in the US has been serious since Yellow peril. and people like you have never grown up. still believe in "whites" are No1.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Wendy is correct

      Wendy is correct. The female's genes are dominant and the kid will still look Asian.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Matt Houston

      I guess I'm a freak then... More than one Caucasian woman has asked me to give them babies...and I'm Vietnamese.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Era

      Well...whatever. I'll totally take the asian guys if they don't want them.

      February 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • 匿名


      August 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  7. jennifer

    considering these guys probably get paid top dollar to flirt with cute women... Sign me up lol i wouldn't mind "acting" like a maid instead of actually being one. Times are tough and i dont know about the rest of my generation but this job sounds like heaven compared to the one i have now. Getting paid to be nice, listen and help people learn english while serving food you didnt' have to slave over in a cute costume sounds like my kinda work. Where's my plane ticket?

    February 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Dan

      You're in luck. Everything you've just talked about is available right here in the U.S. Go to the Hooters website to learn how you can embark on your exciting new career.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:07 am |
      • Carter

        ^ +1

        February 23, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  8. shyd

    When stationed in Japan back in the mid 80's, me and a buddy got a job working at a bar that wanted English speakers, we had a blast.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Alex

      " and a buddy...had a blast." I imagine your friend and you concentrated more on "having a blast" than on anything approaching correct English.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:20 am |
      • Greg

        LOL...yeah, that is why they go to these improve their English! Having a blast is what Japanese women want, because Japanese men are largely uninterested in romance is menduksai!

        February 23, 2012 at 1:09 am |
      • Peter

        @Alex come on, relax man. go troll somewhere else.

        February 23, 2012 at 2:56 am |
  9. jon

    That may work for these so-called "butler" cafes, but the moment they start to hire Western girls into the maid cafes they'll lose all the appeal. Westerners don't know how to cosplay the way the Japanese do.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Carter

      Western girls don't like tentacles...
      That's a joke in reference to SOME Hentai. Don't get too upset...

      February 23, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  10. Republican Watcher

    When I was stationed in Japan in the 60's recovering from my wounds in Vietnam I learned enough Japanese to get by. My contacts with Japanese women was pretty forthright and was amazed how they took to me. It was the time of Japan's sexual revolution and the young ladies wanted to experiment with Americans. I still had to meet their parents but when we got away alone most Japanese women appreciated my ability to please them. They craved the affection of American men and would brag about our abilities at loving them. Japanese men treated them as a piece of furniture for their pleasure.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Lola story, bro?

      February 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • JJ

        ^ +10

        February 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
      • electricgrendel

        I have never wanted to like a comment on the internet more than I want to like this comment.

        February 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • greengo

      maybe you have to go to mental institution for delusion.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  11. Flora

    I already knew about maid/butler cafes in Japan (and a couple in America), but I did not know that they were starting to become staffed by Western men. Learn something new every day.

    I was about to wonder if maid cafes would be next to become English learning centers, until I remembered that we don't go for that crap. Western men (for the most part) were raised to treat women like princesses, and Western women (for the most part) were raised to be princesses, not maids.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Alexa

      This actually isn't news at all, this – and these kinds of cafes – have been around for at least two years.

      It's just CNN desperate for some hits.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  12. ripple dipple

    That boy on the left is sooo cute.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Alex

      All three of them look about 12 years old.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:21 am |
      • Alexa

        That's the point.

        February 23, 2012 at 12:34 am |
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