This is an article to present how the Sugar Daddy business works in Japan.
Here, I will be introducing some of the differences we have from the overseas businesses.
First, I will be introducing myself. Through this blog I am presenting information on how the Sugar Daddy business works. Also, I run a free online website for women who are interested in Sugar relationships.
1,500 women are signed up on this website. This article is written based on the stories these women have shared with me.
For media coverage and interviews, please contact me on my Twitter account.
History of the Sugar Daddy Business
Before we go into any details about the current state of the Sugar Daddy Business in Japan, I would like to introduce the history of it.
The word “Sugar Daddy” is a relatively new word in Japan which first appeared around 5 years ago.
This is how the term came about.
In Japan, there was originally a relationship term called Mistress relationships where young women engaged in a relationship with wealthy men for financial support.
The relationship is kind of like a pseudo romantic relationship where they have dinner, go away for vacations, or occasionally having intimate relations (platonic couples do exist as well).
For arrangements of financial support, a specified amount per month in cash may be handed out, or they may be given full support from residence to every day needs, or even be given support for business opportunities such as opening their own stores.
From my perspective, “Mistresses” in Japan are quite similar to that of Sugar Babies abroad.
Most of these relationships start when they first meet as a customer and an employee of high-end clubs and hostess bars and progress into meeting in private.
MIstresses are usually perceived as women who are highly attractive, intellectual, and have good communication skills.
The term “Patronage dating” has existed from around 1995. This relationship is mostly based on the purpose of having sexual intercourse in exchange for cash. This is contrary to mistress relationships where platonic relationships do exist. They mostly meet through online chat rooms. Men are mostly likely in their 30-40s and women in their early 20s.
Cash amount of 15,000-30,000 Yen per meeting is given out and this scarce amount is far from being defined as “patronage” and can be seen as a misnomer.
I will later get into details about the legal issues of these relationships but one thing I can mention clearly is that it is forbidden by law to engage in sexual intercourse with financial compensation.
Taking this into consideration, we can say that It is illegal to engage in “Patronage dating”.
Also, there are numerous incidents of under-age girls engaging in these kinds of dating and since then it has evolved into a serious concern here in Japan.
Sugar Daddy Relationships (“Papa-katsu”)
The word “Papa-katsu” or Sugar Daddy Relationships was fabricated by a major dating club called 「Universe Club」. This was a scheme to give these types of dating a more casual image, without being labeled a mistress or being involved in a mistress relationship.They wanted to get more men and women involved in sugar relationships. Although the word was used with a similar meaning to “Mistress” in the beginning, more people began to use it as an alternative for “Patronage dating”.
Women involved in Mistress relationships used to be ones who were prospective models or hostesses, and men who were rich. However, with the diffusion of Sugar Daddy apps, college students and normal girls could now participate in these relationships. The word “Papa-katsu” is widely diffused amongst the younger generations.
The arrangement that the men pay to these women are 10,000-30,000 JPY to have dinner and 40,000-80,000 JPY when there is sex involved.
Inside the Sugar Daddy Business in Japan
The term “Papa-katsu” is a very useful word which means there is range in its usage.
The real meaning of this word is,
a relationship in which wealthy men provide financial support to younger women and in return receive a romantic partner-like relationship.
Whether the relationship is a platonic one or not depends on the man but the reality is that most men seek a sexual relationship in “Papa-katsu”. One of the reasons there are fewer platonic relationships is that the women involved tend to rely on having sex because it is the easiest way for them to maintain the relationship and make money rather than just going to dinner or golfing with these men.
The Population of Sugar Daddies and Babies
From analyzing the users on the app 「paters」, which has the most users amongst all Sugar Daddy apps, there are 300K men and 700K women who are subscribed. Both numbers are growing and is likely to hit 1 million users in early 2021.
The below shows the demographic of the men subscribed in 2018.
10～15 Million Yen
15～20 Million Yen
20～25 Million Yen
25Million Yen and over
Ages of Sugar Babies
The most common age for Sugar Babies are of course women in their 20s. However there are also women in their 30-40s and the oldest active Sugar Baby I know is 56 years old.
According to men in their 40-50s, women in their 20s are too young and most of them do not have enough knowledge or are not cultivated enough. These men prefer women in their 30s.
How to have a Sugar Daddy Relationship in Japan
I am going to explain how men and women get into a Sugar Daddy relationship. Each couple has their own styles so this will be a general view.
How they meet
They normally meet through Sugar Daddy apps or dating clubs.
Here are the pros and cons of these approaches.
Sugar Daddy Apps
Can meet amateurs
High quality Women
Very confidential meetings
Likely to get caught cheating
Don’t know what the woman is like until you meet them
The entrance fees and the referral fees are high.
Very Professional women
Can proactively seek men
High quality Men
Risk of being exposed
Have to be beautiful and cultivated
Both advantages and disadvantages exist for either one, but once both parties agree to meet there are not many differences.
Meet and Greet
When both parties have a good impression of the other, they agree to a Meet and Greet in cafes or in restaurants. Men can show off their manners and economic power when they pick cafes that are in nice expensive hotels, and not at a Starbucks.
Women would dress up in fashion that are liked by wealthy older men and sometimes they would go to beauty salons to get their hair done just for these meet and greets.
If the Meet and Greet goes well, they would schedule another meeting. Before they part, the man would give approximately 10,000 JPY as “traffic expenses” when in reality it would mean that they have reached an agreement to “start a relationship”. (There are hasty men who invite women to hotels on the first Meet and Greet)
Official Start of a relationship
Once it is official they go on dates such as the below.
Have dinner together and go to a hotel
Participate in the man’s hobbies (such as golfing)
Go on a trip together
The difference with “Patronage Dating” is that Sugar relationships usually requires more than just sex.
In a Sugar relationship, both men and women are able to engage in several different relationships simultaneously.
Incidents related to the Sugar Daddy Business
There are numerous incidents involving Sugar Babies. Amongst them, there are cases involving rape without financial compensation made and some cases with scammers approaching Sugar Babies with investment fraud. There are at least 10 cases per year that I hear about.
However, most of these women who fall victim to these cases, not wanting to get exposed, do not go to the police and end up putting up with it on their own.
In 2017, there was also a heartbreaking incident where a Sugar Baby was murdered by a man.
While becoming a Sugar Baby has become easy, the lack of difficulty to get in has permitted women to be involved when they have no knowledge to go further. They end up being extremely vulnerable to the business not knowing the right steps to take.
The impact of COVID-19
The Sugar Daddy business has been affected by the corona virus as well.
There were men with an annual salary of 10-25 Million Japanese Yen, the major demographic on the Sugar Daddy app, who met with financial struggles leaving them to have difficulty in continuing with their “Sugar Daddying”.
Also, there were many women who became Sugar Babies during this pandemic because they lost their jobs.
On the other hand, there were some cases where upper-class Sugar Daddies would send money to the Sugar Babies they have known for them to survive this crisis financially.
Legal Issues of Sugar Daddy business in Japan
Whether the Sugar Daddy business in Japan is legal or not, there is room for discussion.
First and foremost, prostitution is illegal in Japan. However, date clubs and Sugar Daddy apps are run legally with the permission of the government. This stands on the basis that these clubs and apps are only a place for men and women to meet and how they proceed with the relationship is solely up to them.
In other words, there is no illegality in giving money to your lover or partner because it is based upon a romantic relationship. There are cases where police gets involved but in these situations the main objective for them is to protect minors.
Future of Sugar Daddy Business in Japan
I believe that only if the government establishes a viable restriction will the Sugar Daddy business vanish.
The main reason for these businesses prospering is because of women in poverty.
Even if women get through college, they are more likely to end up with difficulty in a stable employment. With low income and having to have to pay back their student loans, there is no space for the slightest luxury. The pay will help but the though of working in a brothel and having relations with many unknown men is not what most women would want.
What the Sugar Daddy business has to offer is very enticing for these women struggling. Being able to choose the men they want to go out with, and the opportunity to have a little luxury, go on fancy dinners and trips and in addition even getting payed just to meet. This is the reason why most women become interested in these relationships and choose to be a Sugar Baby.