Sex Roles

, Volume 69, Issue 1–2, pp 42–57 | Cite as

Occupational Stigma and Coping Strategies of Women Engaged in the Commercial Sex Industry: A Study on the Perception of “Kyaba-Cula Hostesses” in Japan

  • Yumiko KamiseEmail author
Original Article


This study focuses on “kyaba-cula hostesses” as women who engage in Japan’s commercial sex industry. Their commoditized service is primarily not physical but consists of communication with male customers while offering food and drinks. This study analyzes the different types of kyaba-cula hostesses, their varying professional circumstances, and the effectiveness of their respective cognitive coping strategies for maintaining self-esteem and personal adjustment. The original research took the form of a questionnaire survey interviewing women working as kyaba-cula hostesses in Tokyo, Japan (N = 92), about their work. About 80 % of the participants were in their 20s, and about 40 % had been working there for less than 1 year. Twenty-two percent were students, and about 30 % were married or had children. The questionnaire results revealed the following: (1) kyaba-cula hostesses demonstrated a higher perceived occupational stigma than workers in general Japanese society; (2) their most effective coping strategies were Social Comparison and Social Value Added for maintaining self-esteem and Family Value Added for reducing their sense of maladjustment; (3) ultimately, in this study, the Disengagement strategy was revealed to be unsuccessful, as it decreased occupational self-esteem and increased their sense of maladjustment; and (4) kyaba-cula hostesses can be grouped into four types (Long-term Low Income, Child-Rearing, High Income, and Part-time) according to the job and demographic characteristics, and the perceived occupational stigma or coping strategies differed among these types.


Sex work Coping strategies Stigma Stereotype Self-esteem Occupations 



I am especially grateful to Aya Sato for her assistance with the data collection. I would like to extend a special thanks to Giancarla Unser-Schutz, who gave me insightful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PsychologyRissho UniversityTokyoJapan

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