Fuzoku Friday: The Great Happiness Space

The Great Happiness Space

Not a new film but a unique one to be sure, The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief is a 2006 documentary by UK director Jake Clennell that delves into the very visible yet mysterious world of the host club. The Wikipedia entry on host clubs gives a fairly good summary of the business we see in the movie–women paying exorbitant amounts of money to have guys fawn over them–but a trip into The Great Happiness Space puts the industry’s underbelly on display for all to see.

Using popular Shinsaibashi host club Cafe Rakkyo as its setting, the documentary takes viewers on a slow, twisted tour through the world of owner Issei–a mega-popular “charisma host”–and his fellow employees as they guzzle pitchers of beer and hustle women into buying over-priced bottles of champagne in order to win their affections. We soon learn those affections are less the typical lighting cigarettes and wiping glasses type, and more a combination of playing the older brother/boyfriend role and, embarrassingly, wrestling with drunken girls in the hallway.

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