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Former Ginza ‘Hitsudan Hostess’ to enter politics

Rie Saito
Rie Saito
TOKYO (TR) – A former bar hostess who had once gained fame in Tokyo’s Ginza entertainment district for overcoming a hearing impairment will enter the world of politics, reports Nikkan Sports (Feb. 25).

Rie Saito, 31, announced on her blog on Wednesday that she will join the nationwide local elections in April in Tokyo’s Kita Ward, where she is a resident, under the Party to Revitalize Japan ticket.

Now a single mother, Saito believes her experience in overcoming challenges can be beneficial to certain parts of society, specifically women and the disabled.

“I would like to implement political measures that work toward a barrier-free society, the advancement of women and improving the low birth rate and child care,” wrote Saito.

Just before her second birthday, the native of Aomori Prefecture lost her hearing after suffering from meningitis. A high-school dropout, she eventually entered the hostess trade in Aomori. By 2009 she had moved on to ritzy Ginza where she became the top hostess at the well-regarded Club M.

Saito charmed her customers by writing Chinese kanji characters into a notebook. The title of her autobiography “Hitsudan Hostess” refers to how Saito used a pen for communication.

In January of 2010, a TV drama based on the book and starring actress Keiko Kitagawa began airing on Tokyo Broadcasting System. Later that same year, she gave birth to a girl.