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Welcome to The Great Happiness Space: Rakkyo Café. The club's owner, Issei (22), has a staff of twenty boys all under his training to become the top escorts of Osaka's underground love scene. During their training, they learn how to dress, how to talk, how to walk, and most importantly, how to fake relationships with the girls who become their source of income. Join us as Osaka's number one host boy takes us on a journey through the complex and heartrenching world of love for sale in the Japanese underground. Written by
A movie worth watching for anyone interested in Japan, sexuality and gender.
This film, The Great Happiness Space by Jake Clynell, was an intriguing, thought-provoking and sometimes disturbing glimpse into a culture that is, to most, unfamiliar if not unthinkable. It engages the audience in a no-holds-barred look at the Japanese male companionship trade, providing insight into reasons for why men become hosts as well as why women seek out their services. Question after question was raised in my mind not only about the lives of the men working at Osaka's Cafe Rakkyo but also about a culture in which this industry can exist and thrive. What are these women lacking in life that makes them shell out thousands of dollars just for amusement, entertainment and male company? Many reviews and even the synopsis on the website, compare these male hosts to geisha, citing them as a contemporary male version of this ancient tradition, but I have to disagree. Geisha were well trained in a variety of art forms and provided dance and music in addition to their intelligent conversation to the men who paid to spend time in their presence. The male hosts at Rakkyo lack these talents and, instead, offer a different set of services and fill a very specific niche in a Japanese society that has an interesting relationship to sexuality and intimate relationships.
This is a movie to watch, not just to learn about the sex trade in Japan, but also to spark thoughts on why men and women both seek intimacy in its different forms within the service industry. Having lived in Japan and possessing an interest in gender and sexuality issues, I thought I knew what I was getting into when I pressed the play button, but this film introduced ideas and concepts that I shuddered at and could not stop thinking about for days.
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