And kanji with manga
Monday, February 1, 2021

enjo-kousai

NSFW: this article may contain words or images you'd rather not have your boss see.

In Japanese, enjo-kousai 援助交際 typically means a form of underage prostitution in which an older man pays a younger girl to date and have sex with him, which is at least two crimes.

In the broadest sense of the word, "compensated dating," literally "intermingling," kousai, for financial "support," enjo, there's a possibility that no crime is being committed, so long they're only having a date, like going to the karaoke, and the girl isn't underage.

Since compensated dating can also refer to other stuff like "sugaring," papa-katsu パパ活, and a rental girlfriend, I'll also include these terms in this article. In rare cases, it's also been translated as "subsidized dating."

Disclaimer: this article is for informational purposes only and doesn't endorse any of the practices listed in it.

Anime: Puni Puni☆Poemii ぷにぷに☆ぽえみぃ (Episode 2)

The term enjo-kousai is also romanized enjo kōsai. It's sometimes wrongly romanized as enjou kousai (enjo doesn't have a long vowel). It's sometimes abbreviated to enkou 援交, or enjo 援助. Also spelled enkou 円光. Also called sapooto サポート, "support," abbreviated sapo サポ.

Meaning

In essence, enjo-kousai means dating someone in exchange for money. Typically this includes a sexual relationship, and the people that engage in enjo-kousai tend to be young women or underage girls.

In summary: it's a slang for prostitution.

However, normally you'd think of a prostitute as someone who has sex with anyone for small amounts of money, while in this case we're talking about someone who has a relationship with a single man who pays lots of money.

It's worth noting that there are two types of people:

  1. Those who view sex as a special, emotional thing, prostitution as psychologically harmful, and rich men paying for sex to be exploitation
  2. Those who view sexual activity as just a physical activity, and sex work as just a sort of work.

If you're type 1, knowing that type 2 exists may help understand why is compensated dating even a thing to begin with.

Legality

I'm not a lawyer, but for the sake of reference I'll include here some information about the legality of enjo-kousai.

Legally speaking, the Japanese law against prostitution between adults is basically a joke: it's limited to having sexual intercourse (penis in vagina) with random people in exchange for money. This law doesn't apply to enjo-kousai, as one's date isn't considered "a random person."

  • shuin ya kouin to itta seikou-ruiji koui wa fukumarenai shi, douseikan dewa baibaishun to naranai.
    手淫や口淫といった性交類似行為は含まれないし、同性間では買売春とならない。
    Sexual acts such as masturbation and oral sex aren't included, and homosexual relationships [don't count] as prostitution.[買売春、なぜ違法なのか - news.yahoo.co.jp/byline/maedatsunehiko/, accessed 2020-12-30]
    • You read that right. In Japan, homosexual prostitutes legally don't exist.

Given the above, compensated dating between adults is probably not going to be a crime.

However, when someone under 18, or even under 20, is involved, which would be the typical usage of the term enjo-kousai, then it's a crime, or rather, several crimes. To list some:[援助交際をしたらどんな罪で逮捕される?ケース別に弁護士が解説 - fukuoka.vbest.jp, accessed 2020-12-31]

  • Child prostitution. This is a separate law that applies to anyone under 18. It includes any sort of sexual activity, unlike the other prostitution law.
  • Statutory rape. Applies only to sexual intercourse with girls under 13, as defined by article 177 of the penal code of Japan. Article 176 is broader and forbids obscene acts with children younger than 13 of either sex.[for reference: PENAL CODE (Act No.45 of 1907) - cas.go.jp, accessed 2020-12-31]
  • Sexual activity with persons under 18 is forbidden under the child welfare act.
  • Posting on dating sites and social media looking for underage partners is a crime by itself.

I wish this was something simple and clear-cut, like: if the character is a high school girl, that's a crime, but since there are three years of high school, high school age characters can be 16, 17, or 18, so it's not possible to tell just from that information if the plot is literally about a crime.

Furthermore, while obviously having a sexual relationship with someone underage is a crime, "compensated dating" can actually stop at just "dating," no sex, like going to the karaoke, or restaurant, or an amusement park.

Is it a crime for some rich old dude to pay high school girls to go to the karaoke with him? It does sound EXTREEEEEEEEMELY creepy, and nobody of sane mind should trust a creepy guy like that to be around high school girls, but is it a crime?

It's actually possible to get charged for kidnapping someone under 20 in such circumstances in Japan, as essentially you're luring an underage person with money to go to a certain place like an amusement park without their parents knowledge and approval.[活性化するパパ活(ママ活)について|パパ活・ママ活とは?実態や量刑について詳しく解説します - nakamura-law.com]

Do note that even situations in which girls are only "dating" older guys for money have the possibility of developing into something more sinister and criminal than that.

  • In Gals!, Hoshino Aya engages in enjo-kousai, saying that she only went to dates so far, but that she would probably sell her body on a certain day, before being stopped by Kotobuki Ran.
    • In Super Gals!, the anime adaptation, the part about her selling her body was skipped, but the part about the dates was adapted.

Tropes

In manga and anime, most characters are of high school age, which means any character doing enjo-kousai will be a "high school girl," joshi-kousei 女子高生, also known as a JK.

This scenario is commonly woven in the plot in three ways:

  1. An adult man with money seeks JKs to give them gifts in exchange for dating and possibly sex. Also known as a predator, a lolicon.
  2. The JK needs money for some reason and seeks adults with money to date with.
  3. No enjo-kousai is actually happening, but it looks like it is.

Regardless of whether enjo-kousai is happening or not, it tends to be hinted at in ways such:

  • Classmates whispering rumors that a girl is doing enjo-kousai.
    • Sometimes she is, sometimes it's something else.
  • The girl meets with an unknown man in a car "after school," houkago 放課後, whom is assumed to be her date.
    • Sometimes it turns out to be her father, brother, or someone else who's giving her a ride home from school.
    • Could also be a member of some secret organization that fights evil that the character is involved with, or something like that. Could be anyone, really.
Maaka Karin 真紅果林 biting a salaryman.
Character: Maaka Karin 真紅果林
Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 1, Stitch)
  • Context: Karin is a vampire. Here, she's seen biting a salaryman in the neck after school hours, from an angle that looks like she's kissing him, by one of her classmates, who ends up misinterpreting it as her engaging in enjo-kousai.
  • Unfortunately for her, she can't clear up the misunderstanding without revealing she's a vampire.

When enjo-kousai is actually happening, it's happening because the girl needs money, consequently, she won't report the guy to the cops herself, so long as she still needs that money.

It takes a third party (typically the protagonist) to find out that enjo-kousai is happening and to put a stop to it.

Bizarrely, they never call the cops. They just talk to the girl and try to convince her to stop, and then forget about the whole thing completely, and the creep is still on the loose paying some other girl, probably.

Why don't they just call the cops? I don't know, either. I'm guessing, maybe, uh:

  • So the guy's rich, right? Maybe he has very good lawyers and would never go to jail, that sort of thing?
  • Maybe they want to avoid the media and the reputation that would stick if everybody knew the girl was engaged in enjo-kousai?
  • Maybe they don't have enough evidence?
  • Maybe this is somehow legal, despite the information I wrote up above? Or, maybe the characters, who are common people that don't know anything about the law, don't actually realize it's illegal?

I mean, I really have no idea. It's not like it's a very common scenario in stories anyway.

オヤジ待ってんの?やめときな援交なんてさ ほっといてよ!!
Manga: Gals! (Chapter 1, コギャルは天下のまわりもの)
  • Context: Kotobuki Ran 寿蘭 tells Hoshino Aya 星野綾 to stop with compensated dating.
  • oyaji matten'no? yametoki na, enkou nante sa
    オヤジ待ってんの?やめときな援交なんてさ
    [You] are waiting for the old man? [It's better if you] stop, [with stuff like] compensated dating.
    • matten'no is a contraction of matte-iru no 待っているの.
    • yametoki is a contraction of yamete-oki やめておき, a ren'youkei 連用形 such as this before the na な particle forms an imperative sentence, i.e. she's commanding the other girl to stop.
  • hottoite yo!!
    ほっといてよ!!
    [Leave me alone]!!

Gyaru

It's a trope that gyaru characters, girls that dress gaudily, and are generally regarded as morally lax, hanging around with delinquents and the like, would engage in enjo-kousai to pay for all the stuff they wear.

First, because their parents won't be paying for all this stuff.

Second, even if they got a part-time job, it's probably not going to pay enough to afford all the stuff they want.

Third, they probably don't want to work a part-time job in first place, and would rather just have fun hanging around as delinquents do.

So one gyaru buys this expensive bag, and her friend, another gyaru, wants one too, but no money, so she turns to enjo-kousai in order to buy this random stuff.

  • This is literally the motivation of Hoshino Aya, from Gals!

In some cases, it's not that the gyaru actually DOES enjo-kousai, but that other characters assume she WOULD do it, or has done it, because that's the sort of stereotype they would have.

Blacklisting

The term enjo-kousai 援助交際, as well as the abbreviation enkou 援交, is blacklisted in some online dating sites and the sort. After all, it's a crime to even post about it.

As one would expect, placing a chat filter makes people bypass the chat filter by grotesquely misspelling the word.

For example, enkou 円光, which normally means a "halo," a "circle of light," can be an alternative spelling (ateji) for enjo-kousai in sites that block the term.

パパ活

The term papa-katsu パパ活 refers to a form of compensated dating like enjo-kousai. The difference between the two terms is unclear, but since enjo-kousai is associated with crimes, papa-katsu tends to be used as a term for legal compensated dating.

This means that papa-katsu are about non-sexual relationships between adults, so it's just young women hanging around with older rich men for their cash, which, creepy as it may be, isn't a whole lot different from gold-diggers, and being a gold-digger isn't a crime, I think, so this wouldn't be either.

  • In English: "sugaring" is a practice in which a "sugar daddy," an older rich man, pays an "allowance" to a "sugar baby," who's a younger girl, in order for her to date him.
  • papa
    パパ
    Father. Dad. Daddy. (as in the parent.)
    Daddy. (as in sugar daddy.)
  • papa-katsu, or pii-katsu
    パパ活, p活
    Sugaring. Literally papa "activity," katsudou 活動."
  • papa-katsu-joshi, or pii-jei
    パパ活女子, or pj
    Sugar baby. Sugaring girl.

Note that the English terms don't seem to restrict sexual relationships like the Japanese terms do, so they may not be exactly synonymous. Then again, it's not like they're well-defined terms to begin with.

Furthermore, even if it supposedly doesn't include sexual activity, it could.

Because of the implication.

Nobody is saying the sugar daddy is paying to have sex with the girl, but he IS paying her, and what would happen if she refuses to have sex with him?

So both the terms enjo-kousai and papa-katsu don't necessarily involve a sexual relationship as far as the literal meaning of the word is concerned, but there probably is one or there will be one happening anyway.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, both papa in Japanese and "daddy" in English can refer to a sugar daddy or someone's actual father. This means you may encounter some wordplay around this sometimes. For example:

御行 好きな奴でも出来たのか? グッ いや別にそんなんじゃ まぁ聞かせてみろ 息子の悩みを聞くのもパパとしての活動だ 略してパパ活だな それ 意味ちげぇから二度と使うなよ
Manga: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-Tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen~ かぐや様は告らせたい~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~ (Chapter 83, 白銀圭は話せない)
  • Context: Shirogane Miyuki 白銀御行 seems troubled by love, he's father asks him what's going on.
  • Miyuki, suki na yatsu demo dekita no ka?
    御行 好きな奴でも出来たのか?
    Miyuki, did [you] [find] someone {[you] like} or something like that?
  • gu'
    グッ
    *sound effect for making a fist.*
  • iya betsu ni sonna-n-ja
    いや別にそんなんじゃ
    No, it's not like that...
    • sonna-n-ja is a contraction for sonna no janai そんなのじゃない.
  • maa kikasete miro
    まぁ聞かせてみろ
    Well, try letting [me] hear [it].
    • kiku 聞く is "to hear."
    • kikaseru 聞かせる is "to cause or to let hear."
    • te-miru てみる is "to try" doing something.
    • And miro is its meireikei 命令形, "imperative form."
  • {musuko no nayami wo kiku} no mo papa toshite no katsudou da
    息子の悩みを聞くのもパパとしての活動だ
    {Listening to [one's] son's worries} is, too, an activity [one would do] as a father.
  • ryakushite papakatsu da na
    略してパパ活だな
    Abbreviated papa-katsu.
    • papa toshite no katsudoupapa-katsu.
  • sore, imi chigee kara nido to tsukau na yo
    それ 意味ちげぇから二度と使うなよ
    The meaning of that is different, so don't use [it] a second time. (literally.)
    That's not what [it] means, so never use [it] again.

Also note that, just because papa-katsu is supposed to be different from enjo-kousai, that doesn't mean the term papa wouldn't be used in an enjo-kousai relationship to refer to the man paying high school girls to date him. For example:

お金をもらうことってすごく大変なことなんだね・・パパ なつきはパパと月に3回ホテルに行くだけで30万ももらってるけど・・
Manga: Initial D, 頭文字D (Chapter 1, ハチロク買おーぜ)
  • Context: Mogi Natsuki 茂木なつき, a high school girl 18 years old at the time, engages in enjo-kousai, and is depicted here getting inside the car of some unnamed man. She realizes her understanding of the value of money is distorted upon learning that her friend worked a part-time job through his summer vacation to earn only 120,000 yen (~1,200 dollars).
  • {okane wo morau} koto tte {sugoku taihen na} koto nanda ne.. papa
    お金をもらうことってすごく大変なことなんだね・・パパ
    Receiving money is a {very important} thing, isn't it.. daddy.
  • Natsuki wa papa to tsuki ni sankai hoteru ni iku dake de san-juu-man mo moratteru kedo..
    なつきはパパと月に3回ホテルに行くだけで30万ももらってるけど・・
    Natsuki is receiving 300,000 yen (~3,000 dollars) just to go to the hotel with daddy three times per month, but..
    • Next panel, not in image:
    • sonna ni takusan moratte ii no?
      そんなにたくさんもらっていいの?
      Is [it] alright [for me] to receive so much?
    • Note: Natsuki uses her own name as first person pronoun, a practice commonly done by young children (e.g. Yotsuba), and a trait added to characters who aren't very bright.
    • Her relationship with "papa" becomes a source of drama later in the series.

These two facts combined may lead to certain confusion among characters sometimes:

自分で作るとォ パパがお金くれるの パパがお金!? ホテル 売春 ゴム 援助交際(エンコー) ウリ おじさん
Manga: Oshiete! Gyaruko-chan おしえて! ギャル子ちゃん (Chapter 3, Page 42)
  • Context: Gyaruko explains why she makes bread instead of buying it from a bakery.
  • jibun de tsukuru too papa ga okane kureru no
    自分で作るとォ パパがお金くれるの
    If [I] make [it] myself, daddy gives [me] money.
  • papa ga okane!?
    パパがお金!?
    Daddy [gives] money!?
  • The text in the background are the thoughts of students assuming she means a sugar daddy rather than her actual father:
    • hoteru
      ホテル
      Hotel.
    • baishun
      売春
      Prostitution.
    • gomu
      ゴム
      Rubber. (literally.)
      Condom.
    • enjo-kousai (enkō)
      援助交際(エンコー)
      Compensated dating.
    • uri
      ウリ
      A "sell." The act of "selling." (literally the noun form of the verb "to sell," uru 売る.)
      A slang for "prostitution."
    • ojisan
      おじさん
      Old man. (also means "uncle.")

Rental Girlfriend

A "rental girlfriend," rentaru kanojo レンタル彼女, is yet another form of compensated dating, in which there's an agency that "rents" girls who are paid to pretend to be some guy's girlfriend.

I'm not even going to comment how sad this sounds. You can just go watch Kanojo, Okarishimasu 彼女、お借りします if you really want to experience that level of cringe that makes you almost crush your eyeballs under the pressure of your own eyelids.

Anyway, there are a few differences between this form of compensated dating and the others like papa-katsu. They are:[パパ活とレンタル彼女の違い | お金を稼ぐ手段であることは共通!大きく異なるのはもらえる報酬額! - papa-katsu.jp, accessed 2020-12-31]

  • Rental girlfriends are staff, they're employed by a legit agency doing legit business, so if any trouble occurs, the company can take legal action.
  • The company is contacted by men seeking rental girlfriends, it's not the girls in dating sites looking for older men to date with.
  • Rental girlfriends make less money than sugar babies, but there's no need to negotiate rates with clients since those are negotiated by the agency.
  • The clients of rental girlfriends tend to be younger men. Presumably, sugar babies only date daddies (old men) because they're rich and there's no limit in how much money they can get as allowance, and those men only engage in the practice because it would be harder to get a date decades younger without paying. Young men wouldn't have the same sort of problem finding a date around their age without paying, so they have less incentive to pay money for it.

To be blunt, it really sounds like rental girlfriends are the more economic version of sugar babies.

Are you an anti-social loner gamer weeaboo oppressed by society thinking you'll die without ever having had a girlfriend in your life? Wallow in self-pity no more! For the cheap, cheap rate of 2000 yen (20 dollars) per hour, you too can have a girlfriend! Call now and throw your 2D waifu daki in the trash where it belongs!

請求書 手つなぎ料 目があった料 周りへの優越感料 生足チラ見料 おっぱいチラ見料 多分一生経験できない思い出料 合計
Character: Iyayo イヤ代
Anime: Osomatsu-san おそ松さん (Episode 10)
  • Context: Iyayo is a rental girlfriend, and this is her itemized bill.
  • seikyuusho
    請求書
    Invoice.
  • te-tsunagi ryou
    手つなぎ料
    Hand-holding fee. (100 yen.)
  • me ga atta ryou
    目があった料
    Eyes-meeting fee. (1,900 yen.)
  • mawari e no yuuetsu-kan ryou
    周りへの優越感料
    Sense-of-superiority-toward-[people]-around-[you] fee. (800 yen.)
  • nama-ashi chira-mi ryou
    生足チラ見料
    Taking-a-glimpse-of-bare-legs fee. (6,000 yen.)
  • oppai chira-mi ryou
    おっぱいチラ見料
    Taking-a-glimpse-of-breasts fee. (296,000 yen.)
  • tabun isshou keiken dekinai omoi-de ryou
    多分一生経験できない思い出料
    Memories-[you]-probably-can't-experience-in-[your]-entire-life fee. (250,000 yen.)
  • gouken
    合計
    Total. (554,800 yen, or around 5,548 dollars.)

Genders Reversed

As with virtually every male with female term in Japanese, there's a reverse term with gender roles reversed, prefixed by gyaku. Other terms have opposite gendered equivalents:

  • gyaku-enjo-kousai, or gyaku-enkou
    逆援助交際, 逆援交
    Reverse compensated dating. Young men or underage boys dating older women for cash.
  • mama-katsu
    ママ活
    Sugaring, in the sense of young men dating older women.
    • mama
      ママ
      Mother. Mom. Mommy.
      Sugar mommy.
    • mama-katsu danshi
      ママ活男子
      Sugaring boy. Male sugar baby.
  • rentaru kareshi
    レンタル彼氏
    Rental boyfriend.

2 comments:

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  1. I think the example from initial D says 30man, which would be 3000 dollars, not 300 (further exaggerating the difference in value of money!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. I always forget 万 is 10k, not 1k! I've fixed the mistake.

      Delete