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Izakaya hook-ups latest means for Tokyo’s dirty old men to score

Shukan Jitsuwa Mar. 5
Shukan Jitsuwa Mar. 5

At many izakaya restaurants, there is often the option of small groups of customers to share one large table should a separate space not be available.

Dubbed aiseki izakaya, this practice is now part of an emerging dating trend in Tokyo of older men hooking up with young gals, reports Shukan Jitsuwa (March 5).

“Meeting up at an ‘encounter coffee shop’ is old hat,” says a writer covering the fuzoku (sex-related) trade. “Nowadays, it’s all about the aiseki izakaya.”

Similar to the konkatsu izakaya, in which a marriage partner is sought, the basic idea at an aiseki establishment involves two groups of men and women sharing a table and striking up conversations.

“It becomes an ‘instant blind date,'” says the aforementioned writer.

For male customers, prices start 3,000 yen for 60 minutes, which includes food and drinks. Shukan Jitsuwa notes that such an outlay is more reasonable than a hostess club.

But what makes the aiseki system especially suitable for older male clientele is the very accommodating pricing system for women.

“It’s all-you-can-drink for women,” says a writer for a women’s magazine. “So it is attractive to college girls and office ladies on meager salaries who want to drink and have a good time.”

Evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (Feb. 22) says that the aiseki izakaya phenomenon is turning the dating scene upside down, claiming that its popularity, largely due to the influence of social-media networks, has nearly wiped out more conventional pick-up methods, such as street nampa.

On Valentine’s Day, a lounge specializing in aiseki hook-ups opened in Tokyo’s Ginza district. Unlike a typical izakaya, Lohas Ginza has a stylish Italian-themed interior and cuisine to match, which seems to be working to attract women — Nikkan Gendai says that 60 percent of the 50 daily customers, on average, are female.

Aiseki-ya opened branches in Shibuya and Omiya, Saitama Prefecture last year
Aiseki-ya opened branches in Shibuya and Omiya, Saitama Prefecture last year

Though the promotional site for Lohas Ginza mentions “serious relationships,” male customers at aiseki izakaya establishment often have other ideas, according to Shukan Jitsuwa.

“It is not unusual for the drinking to get out of hand and sex to be the result,” continues the writer for the women’s magazine.

Women, too, may not be 100 percent forthcoming.

“There are gals out there on the prowl for an enjo kosai arrangement,” says the writer, referring to compensated dating.

In whatever case, the system appears to indeed be a hit. Garnering media buzz at the end of last year was chain Aiseki-ya, which this month opened outlets in Kawasaki City and Akasaka. (K.N.)

Source: “Oji-san mo chumoku gyaru ga tsudou aiseki izakaya no o mochikaeri-do,” Shukan Jitsuwa (March 5, page 209)