‘Enjo kosai’ (援助交際) is a form of compensated dating, which is also known as enko (援交). This is a phenomenon that started around the 1990’s in Japan but has spread to other Asian countries such as Taiwan and South Korea. Compensated dating is the practice of a man dating a young woman, where the man provides certain benefits to the girl. Some of these benefits include money and luxurious goods. In return, the girls will provide the men with companionship and sometimes sexual favors. The reverse of this, where a woman pays the man for sexual favors, is called ‘gyaku enjo kosai’ (逆援助交際). You could say that the western equivalent to enjo kosai is the relationship between Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies.
Typically men will pay young women for their company in exchange for money or other luxurious goods. These men are usually (older) businessmen and the young women can range from schoolgirls to housewives. Many different types of people engage in this practice. Most of the women who engage in enjo kosai are in their teens or twenties, and the men that practice enjo kosai are usually married working Japanese men.
According to a U.N. official in 2015, approximately 13% of high school girls engage in enjo kosai, however when asked for source of statistics, the U.N. official was unable to provide sufficient evidence for this remark.
Compensated dating, if broken down, can be explained as ‘a man paying a young woman for their time and company’. Its’ perverseness, however, seems to be exaggerated. Often times in compensated dating, a man will just want a young woman to spend time with him in exchange for money or luxurious items. This event can happen anywhere from restaurants to karaoke bars. In some cases, sexual favors can be exchanged for money. These sexual acts are likely to happen at love hotels.
There are many reasons why people participate in the phenomenon that is compensated dating. Whether it be for money, sexual desire, or emotional companionship, many agree that this practice is strange. Most of the Japanese people surveyed agreed that they frown upon the acts of enjo kosai. However, even if compensated dating is taboo people will continue to engage in it. The search for companionship is made simple and easy by enjo kosai, enticing many others in taking part in the practice. What do you think, should the government try harder to prevent enjo kosai from happening, or is this just a part of society that can never be prevented anyway?