Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief (2006)

Jake Clennell's documentary The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief (2006) gives us a vivid glimpse into host (and implicitly, hostess) clubs in Japan. It's compelling and not as strange as it first appears.

On the one hand, The Great Happiness Space is about human psychology and the need for connection. Here, women with means go to interact with male hosts, drink champagne and create soap operas for themselves. They flirt, sometimes have deeper conversations, and slowly develop dramatic feelings for their hosts, often focusing on one host in particular. 

On the other hand, The Great Happiness Space is about the great wheel of monetary exchange.  A demographic of well-heeled men work to the point of exhaustion, and then go to hostess clubs to "heal" (a term several people in the documentary employ). Hostesses make enough excess cash from these men to in turn -- between work cycles -- go to host clubs so that they can "heal." At the host clubs, the host "boys" take the "girls'" money (hundreds or thousands of dollars per night) and, some of them, end up earning well over $100,000 per year, which they in turn spend on maintaining their fashion appeal and life style.

I suppose that if you substitute work activity A for "healing" activity B, this is a not atypical response to perceived or actual stress. Activity B may be doing yoga, attending creative workshops, shooting guns, fishing, running, going to a "health spa" or traveling, for instance. In that sense, beyond psychology and economics, The Great Happiness Space makes one think about the patterns and processes of living as a human being in a highly developed society in the 21st century.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough.  


Charles Gramlich said...

This sounds interesting. Maybe something I might enjoy.

jodi said...

Erik-I have a friend who went to Tokoyo for business and was shocked to get his bar bill for 'hostess' services. Seems all she did was flirt and tell a couple of jokes for an additional 300.00! And to think I've always done that for free!!

Adorably Dead said...

And it is on Netflix, woohoo. ^_^