Deeper look into an article from TIME, February 5, 2007 “Where Japanese Women Rule”
Butler cafés are gaining popularity Tokyo. These cafés are staffed entirely by Japanese version of English man-servants, dressed in formal tails, white gloves, and gracious manners. And these cafés are exclusively for women, especially for the growing number those drawn to manga and anime. These women are known as otome, or “maidens,” and dress in medieval fantasy fashions found in their favorite manga such as in flowing gothic dresses of the whitest white or the blackest black. It’s all part of the costume play, or “cosplay,” culture that sprang recently along with the otaku-otome culture.
These butler cafés give otome a chance to act out their fantasies. However, there may be something even more basic behind the popularity. Women in Japan face daily battles against the sexism that still penetrates Japan and are under constant pressure to conform and marry, which in Japan is still nothing more than surrendering much of their independence. The butler café may be an oasis for women to unwind from the pressure of the outside world, and where the only members of the opposite sex are literally at your service.
It is truly regrettable that women must fight the sexism battle everyday. The battle starts from her early morning commute to work where she gets on the “women only” car of the train to avoid perverts. Once she steps into the office, she’s expected to have her make up on so her not-so-good-looking bosses wouldn’t raise their eye brows. Noon comes and she joins other women for lunch, partly in fear of false rumors that may be whispered if she has lunch with a male coworker. Evening comes and women are expected to leave the office before men, again riding on the women only car of the train. If men dropped their ancient conceptions about women as a vulnerable subject better off married, caged up in his home to cook, raise children, and care for aging family members, women would have a much more free heart. She may then, not feel so compelled to pause her career and marry.
Thinking about working in Japan? Preparing to move overseas almost becomes a full-time job in the final weeks of your departure. Many people quit their jobs weeks before so they can devote their time to preparation. But what about your health insurance? Short-term health insurance plans are a great solution. ↓
Below are links to Certified Social Insurance and Labor Consultants providing services in English. Also below are useful links related to working in Japan and links to women balancing career and personal happiness. WJA realizes and promotes women's increasing value in the labor market.