$1 per slap: Diners pay to be smacked by Japanese izakaya’s female staff, Lifestyle

PUBLISHED ON December 04, 2023 9:49 AM By Michelle Chin

An izakaya in Japan, which was said to be on the verge of shuttering, gained fame and apparently revived its business — after it started offering patrons the service of being slapped on their faces before meals.

At Shachihoko-ya izakaya in Nagoya, there was initially one female staff who carried out the striking, and each customer received a slap without being charged, according to Chinese-language YouTube channel “Save Your Money In Japan”, which posted the video on Nov 30.

As demand for the pre-meal slaps increased, the izakaya had to hire more female staff to carry out the smacking. Fees were also charged: Patrons had to pay 100 yen (S$0.90) per slap. There was also a 500 yen surcharge if patrons requested a specific staff member to slap them, reported Chinese-language media publication Liberty Times Net on Dec 3. No male staff were employed to smack customers, according to reports.

Both men and women, Japanese nationals and foreigners, went to the izakaya to be hit. The face-slapping service reportedly revived the izakaya’s business.

“The harder the female staff slapped them, the more excited the patrons became,” said the YouTube video narration on the “Save Your Money In Japan” channel, which also posts lifestyle content. “Not only were the patrons not angry, but they appeared to feel more relaxed after getting hit. They would even thank the staff member who smacked them.”

The video added that it was surprising that female patrons also wanted to be slapped. “After being slapped, it was as if their life’s burdens and stress had been lifted,” the video said.

In that video, the ringing sounds of each strike can be heard.

“I have never come across this sort of request in my life,” YouTube user @mileshong commented in Chinese.

“It can be painful delivering the slaps too,” commented Facebook user Sin Yin also in Chinese.

The izakaya has discontinued its face-smacking service. It was unclear when the izakaya had started and subsequently discontinued this service.

A Nov 29 post on its X account said: “Shachihoko-ya currently does not offer slaps. We appreciate the attention it has received today, but we cannot accommodate visits with the intention of receiving slaps.

“We did not expect old videos to go viral like this, so please understand before coming.”

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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