Saturday, September 19, 2009


Enjo-kōsai(shortened form enkō) means "compensated dating" and is a practice which originated in Japan where older men give money and/or luxury gifts to attractive women for their companionship, and possibly sexual favors. The female participants range from school-age girls to housewives. A common misconception is that enjo-kōsai always involves some form of sexual activity. The term enjo-kōsai first appeared in the Asahi Shimbun on September 20, 1994. What constitutes enjo-kōsai is heavily contested within Japan. The most common connotation is that it is a form of child prostitution whereby participating girls sell their bodies in exchange for designer goods or money. However, to label enjo-kōsai by the most basic definition of prostitution whereby one attains money through the exchange of sexual acts,[1] excludes an array of other activities.

Many groups, including women's centers and associations within Japan include “the exchange of a girl's company or time” as part of this equation[2] and insist that these other activities define enjo-kōsai. Anthropologist Laura Miller argues in her research that the majority of enjo-kōsai dates consists of groups of girls going with a group of older men to a karaoke bar for several hours and being paid for their time.[3]

Furthermore, in a 1998 survey by the Asian Women's Fund, researchers found that fewer than 10 percent of all high school girls engage in enjo-kōsai and over 90 percent of the girls interviewed attested to feeling uncomfortable with the exchange or purchase of sexual services for money.[4] Statistics show that the majority of girls are not delving into the realm of sexual exchange.