About these special care workers in Japan

About these special care workers in Japan

This article is based on an immersion survey in the world of the night sex and entertainment industry for men in Japan – an industry called “mizu shobai”, literally water trade.

[1] This text is taken from previously published articles including Eileen… It focuses on the activity of Filipino migrant club hostesses who do not offer sexual services priced, but a paid flirting service rather soft, in view of the range of other sexual services, such as role-playing games, “pink salons” where oral sex or masturbation are practiced, soaplands that offer bathing services with sex optional, lingerie clubs, bars without panties, etc. (Leheny, 2006).

[2] I defend here the thesis that hostesses, through this paid service, offer a particular form of care. In doing so, I also see the work of the hostesses as an opportunity to address the question of what care represents. I will begin with an overview of current definitions of care work, in particular by distinguishing care work and reproductive work. Then I will describe in-depth the work of the hostesses. In conclusion, I will present a discussion on the structure of gender in the care work of hostesses, in order to show that it is necessary to study care work as a social process conditioning in its execution not only sex, but also race, class, sexuality, and nation.

Definitions of care work

[3] The sociologist Paula England and the economist Nancy Folbre define care work as a “service to a person with whom there is personal contact (normally face-to-face); “the worker responds to a need or request expressed directly by the recipient”; and perhaps to a lesser extent “develops the human abilities of the recipient” (England, Folbre, 1999, p. 40 and England, Budig, Folbre, 2002, p. 455). In other words, care work is not only personal, i.e. face-to-face; no less important is the fact that providing it is a support for the recipient. If we accept the definition proposed by England and Folbre, we risk limiting our formulation of care work to what might be called direct services to the person. This would lead us to neglect many other forms of work aimed at supporting individuals, but not necessarily involving direct interaction. For example, cleaning would be excluded from the scope of “care” because this work does not necessarily involve face-to-face interaction. Consequently, webcam models who perform in front of their webcam can be considered as “care” workers. This is a matter of debate because many researchers insist that housekeeping, or domestic work in general, is a form of care work. Domestic work, washing dishes, sweeping the floor, doing laundry, and making the bed, is a job that promotes the welfare of the recipient, although these tasks that we classify as domestic workers do not correspond to the traditional definitions of care work, as such forms of work are not provided to the beneficiaries directly. , but are rather conditioned by objects. In the household, care is not focused on the person, but on material objects.