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Meet Naoki. He pulls down US$30,000 a month, has his own TV show and music group, and is called “an ideal man” by one of his many woman clients. Is he some kind of doctor or finance wizard to be making that kind of dough? Nope, he’s a host, one of scores of men that work in the seedy bars of Kabukicho, drinking with the ladies of the capital and charging them for the privilege.

A new video by VICE Japan takes a look at Naoki’s bizarre and booze-soaked world.

A host club is a bar where lots of young and attractive men flirt with, pour drinks for, and generally entertain the largely female clientele. They earn a commission on the alcohol they sell, so the goal is to keep customers coming back and ordering lots of drinks, both for themselves and for the hosts.

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This results in a lot of body-abusing alcohol consumption by the junior hosts, while the senior ones try to stay sober enough to entertain their guests.

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And entertain they do! At Naoki’s club, Fantasy, there is a nightly show, which involves some probably fire-code-infringing stunts…

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Naoki, a local legend in the host club world, was chosen as Japan’s number 1 host in 2011, and has now moved up the ladder to producing, which seems to mean managing a club and mentoring younger hosts. At 33, he is  still very popular among the clients and respected by the other hosts. He is also the frontman for a music group called Never Fade and has a weekly online TV program.

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He has a fairly glamorous life with money, free time and his choice of women, but what about the less talented members of the crowd? The video also shows younger hosts being slapped around, vomiting up copious amounts of champagne, and running away from home, and it ain’t pretty.

And I can’t help but wonder what will happen, even to superstars like Naoki, when they get a bit too old or run-down for the business.

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In any event, the video is a fascinating look behind the scenes of a distinctly Japanese subculture, so take a look. Whether your interest is sociological or prurient, you will definitely be entertained.

Source and images: VICE Japan