Exclusive: Little Japan bar girls’ take-home pay

Japanese bar fee structure

Bs. Love got his hands on this insightful document from one of the Japanese-style girlie bars in the hẻms of Thái Văn Lung/Lê Thánh Tôn streets.

This sheet details the unexpectedly complex compensation structure of the girls working there – obviously not including their afterhours freelancing and whatever they do in those “business meeting” rooms upstairs.

The management went to great lengths to cover every possible bonus or penalty. It goes to show the maturity this niche industry has reached since the first Japanese-style bars opened in the area a few years back. Now they’re everywhere as Eli the Bike Guy shows in the video below. Also, they’re even more expensive than they used to be – with a US$5 cover charge in most cases (why not Yens while they’re at it?)

Without further ado, here’s the translation.

  • Base salary: 4.5 to 6 million đồng. There are four levels (not shown on that sheet) from the newcomer girl with no language skills (4.5 millions) to the English- or Japanese-speaking girl with experience who brings along customers from her former bar (6 millions).
  • Guest pays a drink to the girl: 50,000/glass
  • Girl is chosen for karaoke room: 150,000 including 2 drinks
  • Girl gets her own customer: 50,000/shot. This is the concept of Shimei, directly imported from Japan, where a customer picks his own dedicated girl in the bar. In this case I think it also applies to any customer they succesfully bring in from the outside (which explains their behavior on the street).
  • Girl brings in a group of new customers (or Shimei+): 25,000/guest
  • Girl eats with customer then brings him back to the bar: 200,000. This is the concept of Dohan, also imported from Japan.
  • Customer buys a bottle and brings the girl to karaoke room: 100,000/bottle (whisky or soju), 300,000/bottle (wine or champagne)

The second block is a bit mysterious to me. It has to do with bonuses every time the girl is invited inside the karaoke room (Shimei) and eats with the customer (Dohan), but I’m not sure how they’re counting and when they’re paying. Is it calculated at the end of the month? If anybody can explain, please do so in the comments section below and I’ll update accordingly.

Next are the bonuses for guest drinks (I think?!), from 150,000 for 5 drinks to 1.5 million for 30 drinks. They only apply to bills over 500,000 and Dohan bills over 1.2 million.

The list goes on.

  • Four days off per month (days not taken will be paid extra)
  • Attendance bonus: 300,000/month
  • Overtime:
    • 30 to 59 min: 20,000
    • 60 to 89 min: 50,000
    • 90 to 119 min: 70,000
    • 120 min and more: 100,000
  • Penalties:
    • Day off without notice: 10% off salary
    • Two days off in a row: 5% off salary
    • 1 to 30 min delay: 20,000
    • 31 to 60 min delay: 50,000
    • 61 to 120 min delay: 100,000
    • 120 min or more: day’s pay is lost
    • Girl can’t get 2 Shimeis in a month: 10% off salary
    • Girl only gets 1 Shimei in a month: 5% off salary

That’s it folks. Next time you sit on that stool you’ll know exactly what’s on the girls’ minds. Certainly not your conversation, I can tell you that!

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