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Compensated Dating

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A phenomenon occurring in Japan since the late 20th century is the practice of enjo kosai, translated as "subsidized dating", "compensated dating", or "dating for assistance". Japanese girls, often still in high school or even junior high, make arrangements with older men who pay them for dates. The arrangements are usually made through telekura (telephone clubs) or merukura (email clubs).

While the arrangement is not explicitly for sexual services, the nature of the activity is such that such activities are known to occur with some regularity. Up until very recently, the low age of consent in many areas of Japan and the restricted legal definition of what constitutes prostitution has protected the participants from legal repercussions. Even with new laws, enjo kosai is still a widespread and controversial activity. To non-Japanese this seems to be a form of softcore prostitution.

The male variant is mitsukano, often shortened to mitsu. Male hosts or Visual Kei/rock musicians and some Japanese Delinquents are the main participants. They pimp themselves out (or are pimped out by their bands/labels/host clubs/management) to fangirls (or in the case of a gay or bi artist choosing to be out and open as such, to a more successful man or one of their fanboys). Technically not supposed to include sex, almost always does in reality.

The high value in Japanese culture for youth, along with the incompatibility of Japanese consumer culture with the lowered economic prospects of the average family since the boom of the 80s collapsed, have been cited as driving forces. Enjo kosai has also been strongly identified in the public eye with the kogal subculture.

It is no surprise, then, that recent anime have begun to portray enjo kosai, particularly if it is trying to be a youth series, or socially relevant. The practice itself is rarely given a positive light, but the portrayal of the participants varies widely. A young girl is usually a sympathetic Hooker with a Heart of Gold variant, dealing with financial problems, emotional turmoil, or peer pressure. Ironically, if the young girl is shown to be in control or enjoying the situation it's a sure bet she'll be marked with the proverbial scarlet letter and written off as irredeemable.


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     Anime and Manga  
  • Mako "Nakama" Nakarai, one of the girls in Bokurano, engages in enjo kosai to get money for something she needs to accomplish before she dies. However, she is steered away from it, and learns a lesson about her mother's past in the experience.
  • In Chu-Bra Given Nayu's tendency to wear panties totally unlike most girls her age and her frequent conversations with an older man (actually her stepbrother), this is what she was accused of.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka had two episodes where Onizuka was persuaded to try enjo kosai, but was surprised by who shows up...
  • Hell Girl shows this in the first episode, when Hashimoto Mayumi is blackmailed into earning money this way.
  • Hell Teacher Nube: "Itako-girl" Izuna Hazuki. Nube himself mistakes her for a kogal at first sight. Unusual in that, instead of indulging in compensated dating, she sells her services as an oracle and general spiritualist but she's not above taking risqué pictures of herself and selling them.
  • Initial D: Takumi's first girlfriend Natsuki is engaged in enjo kosai from the start of the series.note  Natsuki eventually quits after it endangers her budding relationship with Takumi. She decides to get a job (at the same gas station as Takumi in the manga, and at a fast-food restaurant in the anime), mimicking the hard-working job she sees Takumi engaging in at the gas station.
  • Subverted in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War when Onodera mistakes Iino staying up all night getting tutored in online shooters by Shirogane's father to make herself more attractive to Ishigami as having found herself a sugar daddy due to Iino giving a very poorly worded explanation for why she's so tired at school. The misunderstanding only mounts when Onodera and Ishigami try to get to the bottom of it and see the two on what looks like a date (actually him helping her pick out parts for her computer), though it's quickly resolved when Ishigami confronts the man.
  • Subverted in Karin - Kenta sees Karin in a park embracing an older man and assumes she is engaging in enjo kosai. However, because Karin is a vampire, she was actually biting his neck.
  • In Kobato., the titular character is approached by a businessman wanting to be 'healed' When Fujimoto intervenes, he berates Kobato, believing her to be engaging in this practice — she, being the Naïve Everygirl, doesn't know what he's talking about.
  • Nureha of Log Horizon, before being trapped in the MMO of Elder Tale, was a 25-year old NEET whose life was pure hell, not only suffering bullying in school, but being forced into compensated dating to pay for her living expenses, which messed her up in all kinds of ways, to the point that she considered herself tainted and unworthy of Shiroe (who she has a major crush on), and which made her quite vulnerable to the manipulations of Indicus.
  • There was an episode of Maria Watches Over Us where one of the girls was suspected of engaging in enjo kosai. She was getting clothes and money from her father and brothers to spend time with them, because they missed her while she was living at an all girls school.
  • Metamorphosis: Saki is talked into going into enjo kosai by one of her classmates, but she is deeply guilt-ridden by her first experience and confides in her mother, who promises that she'll always be by Saki's side. To her horror, some of her male classmates obtain a picture of her with her client and use it to blackmail her into having sex with them. Later, when her life is spiraling out of control, she goes back to her client to try to get money from him, but he coerces her into degrading acts before he'll pay her.
  • In My Hi ME, Nao Yuuki is initially shaded as a delinquent type when allusions to her doing this are made. Later we find out she uses it as a hook to mug men using her powers, who cannot report the crime for obvious reasons. It's actually a sort-of revenge she takes on men, since a bunch of thugs killed her father and put her mother in a coma in her backstory.
  • Subverted in Please Tell Me! Galko-chan; Galko has always been suspected of doing this despite having no experience in romance or sex. A specific example can be seen in episode 2: Galko said "Papa" (in English) would pay her if she made bread. Unfortunately, "papa" is also the term for the "other side" in Compensated Dating, which causes a misunderstanding. Galko almost immediately notices the looks and starts to protest that she slipped and she really always just calls him "Father", clearing up the misunderstanding while apparently completely oblivious to it.
  • Princess Nine: When Huge Schoolgirl / Delinquent Seira Morimura is recruited for the baseball team, she mistakes the seedy-looking coach's offer of "recruitment" for enjo kosai. When she realizes the truth she is half relieved and half livid. "I thought I was.. Well nevermind what I thought I was coming here for!!"
  • Puni Puni☆Poemi very briefly showed a Gyaru on a subsi-date before violently showing her the error of her ways.
  • Ranma ½
    • In a unique variation, Nabiki Tendo will often accept date offers and invitations from classmates who don't know any better, then fleece them for all they're worth during the date, and then blackmail them with their own love letters to her. As it is, she's feared by all who have dated her, and she comes out much, much richer from the experience.

      In an anime only story, Nabiki also agrees to go out with Tofu in order to get his mother to stop bugging him about getting married. She charges him pretty reasonably for the dating, but then 'reminds' him that it wouldn't be very convincing if he didn't spend a lot of money on the dates.

      In one truly bizarre instance, Nabiki met someone who was just as selfish, manipulative and greedy as she was. They agreed to a challenge where they would go on a date, and the first to actually spend money was the loser. The entire event was them constantly foisting bills on each other and skipping out on paying out for themselves.
    • Ranma does this to a lesser degree, one time in the anime he accepted a date for free eats and a boat ride, Akane came up behind him (technically her, as he was in Ranma-chan mode) and hit him on the head with a mallet. He also does this to acquire things like information or items from people like Tatewaki.
  • Subverted in Rent-A-Girlfriend. The title looks like it's about compensated dating, but the "rental girlfriends" here were rented as beards, and no sex is involved. According to an interview with the author, his inspiration was similar services provided in China, mainly for twenty-somethings trying to impress their I Want Grandkids parents.
  • Subverted in episode 2 of Servant × Service. Taishi was suspected of this, for managing to placate Touko with a hug and a few yen, before Saya clears up the issue by noticing that they have the same surname—they are, in fact, siblings.
  • In Skip Beat!, Kyoko grows worried when her friend Kanae seems busy all the time and won't open up about something that seems to be troubling her. Kyoko decides to follow Kanae secretly and comes to the conclusion that Kanae is going on paid dates after she sees her friend dressed in wildly different outfits with three different men (two of whom old enough to be her father!) in the space of a few days. Kanae is engaging in paid relationships, but not the type that Kyoko initially thought: Kanae accepted the dates as acting assignments. She pretended to be one man's girlfriend so he could discourage an Abhorrent Admirer, and in the case of the older men she acted out the role of their estranged or deceased daughters after studying videos and photographs of the girls.
  • Super GALS had one of the main characters, Aya, introduced as a perfect student engaging in enjo kosai in order to escape a high-pressure home and academic life. At the end, Ran helps her see her own self-worth before she "goes too far".
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Jonouchi and Yugi suspected Anzu of doing this to earn money; in truth, she was just working at a fast food place.

  • In Shunji Iwai's film All About Lily Chou-Chou, Shiori Tsuda, a female classmate, is blackmailed by Shusuke Hoshino into enjo-kōsai.
  • Bedlam: Essentially what's going on with Nell, an actress and paid companion to Lord Mortimer. She makes pains to let people know that she is not The Mistress. She is instead a paid companion whose job is to amuse Lord Mortimer and make him laugh.
  • The movie Bounce Kogals, being about a group of kogal friends, also use this trope.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's: Audrey Hepburn did it first. This was her occupation. Though how much was censorship and how much was Getting Crap Past the Radar is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • In Hideaki Anno's 1998 movie Love & Pop, the main character, a 16-year-old high school girl named Hiromi, goes on subsidized dates in order to purchase a ring she adores.
  • The 2011 Mexican film Perras is about a group of secundaria (equivalent to middle school/junior high in the US) student girls. One of them, Patricia, is nicknamed "the slut" and ostracized because she has a history of this, including a publicized sexual affair she had with a senator which led to her being expelled from the private school she used to attend.
  • Samaritan Girl shows that the phenomenon isn't limited to Japan, and also exists in South Korea.

  • Part six of The Garden of Sinners (the original novel, but not the anime adaptation) sees Azaka and Shiki uncover a compensated dating operation at Azaka's elite girls-only boarding school, run by one of the teachers. While they initially assume the teacher has forced his students into this, Azaka eventually concludes that at least some of the girls went along with him willingly, as a way to stick it to the school's stifling rules and regulations. The ring operated for months until one of the girls got pregnant and committed suicide out of despair, indirectly prompting Azaka's investigation.
  • In Shusaku Endo's Scandal, the main character befriends a thirteen year old girl who has taken up compensated dating and tries to get her out of it; he discovers, however, that a doppelganger of himself may be taking advantage of the girl.

     Live Action TV  
  • It's not just in Japanese Anime anymore but also was a case in Taiwan Drama Brown Sugar Macchiato. The brothers in order to help the boy students overthrow the matriarchy in their class attempted to catch the Alpha Bitch in a scandalous act which was related to this trope. Needless to say it sorta worked until she reveals it was her uncle who she was visiting.
  • In the Japanese dorama God, Please Give Me More Time, a young woman engages in the activity and suffers social and physical costs. In the end, however, the heroine is able to turn her life around and seems to project a positive image for youth.

     Video Games  
  • Rare male example: In Gungrave, suave, handsome Harry MacDowell is shown, as a teenager, taking money for dates from rich boarding-school girls.
  • In Yandere Simulator some female students may be doing this. If the game's Villain Protagonist discovers that a rival is one of these students, the information can be used towards eliminating said rival, either to ruin her reputation or as blackmail.
  • In Shining Song Starnova, Mr. Producer quickly discovers that one of his Idol Singers, Julie Watanabe, is duping gullible salarymen into taking her on dates where she charges them micropayments for various nonsexual favors. He nearly fires her on the spot for violating the terms of her in-universe Contractual Purity, and while she talks him out of it, she does give up her dating scheme.

  • Megatokyo: Junko from has been observed engaged in apparent enjo kosai, taking money from an older man after a dinner. However, since Fred Gallagher is American, this is given a rather neutral light. Junko describes it to Largo as "taking advantage of older men and getting money from them". Many pages later, said older man reappears and claims to a third party that he's one of Ping's devs, and was using the dates as material for the Dating Sim games he works on.
  • In the now-deceased online manga Music Box, the Alpha Bitch and local ko-gal Maika Sakura engages into this. She's caught by her classmate Kazuki Kirio and flat out admits it. The Japanese/American author mentions the practice and how she had a friend whose sister was caught by the police while in enjo kosai.

Alternative Title(s): Enjo Kosai