Maid Cafe Owner Explains Submissive Sweetshop
Gothamist interviewed the owner of Maid Café NY, Satoshi Yoshimura, and uncovered answers to some questions you
did or perhaps did not think to ask. Is this supposed to be sexy? No. How many New York women are vying for this job?
80 to 100. Will there be a roving pink-painted Maid Café van stocked with precious little maids blasting Japanese pop
music and traveling around America? Soon enough. Read on for more.
Why did you open in Chinatown?
People who know about Japanese culture and anime like the concept of the maid café. All those people in New York City
come to Chinatown for "Asian cute stuff." We were deciding between the East Village and Chinatown. But people come
to Chinatown for cute stuff. Chinatown is drastically changing right now. It's trying to modernize. A lot of new stores are
opening up like Japanese noodle stores, Korean cosmetic stores. Not only is Japanese culture moving into Chinatown,
but Asian culture in general is moving in.
How is business? The Daily News wrote about us and that was huge for us. Before The Daily News and Metro wrote
about us, we mainly hosted the people who know about Japanese culture. Now, we have more of the general population.
I want this maid café to be like a California roll. A California roll is not really sushi in Japan. But it's popular in America.
Without the California roll, sushi would not be popular in America.
Could you describe your clientele?
I was surprised! After our grand opening on August 18th, I was surprised to find out that 16-20 year old females are very,
very attracted to this because of the cute pop setting. This, in Japan, originally attracted mostly males. Not here. But
there are men who come here because they think the maids are cute. What are they like? Has anything strange happened? Nothing weird has happened. They're very nice people. It's different in Japan. In Japan, the people who are
interested in these cafés [otaku (read: nerds)] are very shy. I think there's a huge cultural difference because I was
surprised to find out that American otaku express themselves very well. The ones in Japan do not socialize. That is what
makes the ones in Japan, maybe, creepy. It's different here.