New York City maid cafe showcases Japan’s servant-master service trend

World Today

Born out of popularity in Japan, cafes featuring women dressed in maid outfits have made it to the mainstream in America. As CCTV’s Karina Huber reports, New York City has adopted these cafes with open arms.

The servers at this cafe are young women dressed in pink French maid uniforms and they greet patrons with: “Welcome home my master.”

They are encouraged to smile and giggle a lot.

New York City maid cafe showcases Japan's servant-master service trend

Born out of popularity in Japan, cafes featuring women dressed in maid outfits have made it to the mainstream in America. As CCTV's Karina Huber reports, New York City has adopted these cafes with open arms.

Here in the heart of New York City’s Chinatown, the NY Maid Cafe an unusual setup by American standards. Everything, even the ice-cream parfaits, are meant to be cute.

“This is like a fantasy world so customer come here and relax,” employee Shiho Anai said.

Owner Satoshi Yoshimura says he noticed a growing interest in Japanese fantasy through the expanding popularity of Japanese animation. He said the timing was right to open a maid cafe, which has its roots in anime fantasy.

“I am surprised how much people know about Japanese pop culture in America. Only certain group of people but they know a lot of it. I think it’s because of the internet,” Yoshimura said.

There are hundreds of similar cafes in Tokyo but this is the first of its kind to open in New York City. Its arrival has raised a few eyebrows with some saying it sounds creepy.

But the maids insist the design more about fun than anything sexual. They say it is unusual for the patrons to flirt with them and they are forbidden from asking for their numbers.

“Everybody’s very courteous and very nice,” one customer, who did not give a name, said. “I didn’t know they were supposed to call me master. It’s costume. It’s over the top. It’s supposed to be fun. I didn’t take it that seriously when I walked in.”

The concept seems to be working. It’s already a hit with teenage girls and boys looking for something different and cute in the heart of Manhattan.