Asian “Maids” Cafe Finally Comes To NYC, Attracts Questionable Clientele

A Japanese import concept that has people raising eyebrows.

1. New Manhattan establishment Maid Café caters to a manga/anime-obsessed subculture by employing a staff of Asian women in little girls’ clothes.

2. The staff are trained to greet guests that walk in the door by saying “Welcome home, master.”

They are also taught to carry themselves in a cute, submissive manner by acting younger than they actually are.

3. These concept cafes originated in Akihabara, Tokyo, and were designed to attract otaku (AKA “manga nerds”) who have an insatiable appetite for anime in all forms.

And yes, the otaku men are sometimes known to obsessively and voyeuristically gaze at young Asian women in costume.

4. But the Manhattan cafe has lately attracted a new kind of crowd.

Two waitresses hold up the front page of the NYC Metro depicting a fellow server welcoming a customer with the caption “Welcome Home, Master!”

5. “I’ve seen them in anime videos before. The girls are acting so cute. I’m, like, really into that. My girlfriend’s also Japanese and really cute,” one customer told Gothamist.

The average customer is a man in the 25-30-year-old age range.

6. The business has received backlash for objectifying and eroticizing Asian women.

9. But it’s also sparked debate over whether it’s an innocuous appropriation of Japanese culture, or perpetuating a “lolita” mentality.

10. In an effort to protect the women, the company has issued rules for its patrons, including “do not touch the maids.”

11. The “Ten Commandments” on display in the restaurant also advises customers to not ask for personal information, take photos, stalk, or linger outside to wait for the maids to get off work.

12. H/t to Gothamist.

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Tanya Chen is a senior editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.
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