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Pop Culture in Japan: Enjo Kosai

Enjo-kosai or its shortened form enko, in which enjo means subsidy or support and kosai means company or association, literally translates to subsidized dating or compensated dating.

It is a practice in Japan where women are paid with money or items by older men for their companionship. The female participants range from school-age girls to housewives. A common misconception is that enjo-kosai always involves some form of sexual activities.
The term enjo-kosai first appeared on Asahi Shimbun newspaper on September 20, 1994. After it gained popularity in Japan, the phenomenon has since spread to other areas in East Asia, including Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, etc. In the opposite case of women paying men, it is called gyaku-enjo-kosai, or reversed subsidized dating. However, this article will focus on the more common enjo-kosai.

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