Blue Ribbon

(April 23)

Survey shows friends, family influence 'enjo kosai' trend

One in 20 high school girls date men for money and most are influenced by conversations with their friends and the attitudes of their families, according to a study released April 23 by the Asian Women's Fund.

In the study of high school students' attitudes toward "enjo kosai," or "compensated dating," 5 percent of the 600 high school students surveyed said they have gone out with men in return for money or presents. About half of them, or 2.3 percent of the total, have had sex with the men.

The study also revealed that students who are easily influenced by their friends are more likely to engage in "compensated dating." It also showed that students who are less attached to their family are more likely to go on "compensated dates."

"The study underscored the problems and background of compensated dating," said Mamoru Fukutomi, of Tokyo Gakugei University, who conducted the study.

Although 88 percent of the girls questioned were opposed to the idea of having sex with men for money themselves, only 46 percent were opposed to the idea of others going on compensated dates, the study showed.

Fukutomi pointed out that students with higher awareness of gender equality are less likely to go on compensated dates. "Fostering a keener sense of gender equality may be an initial step to decrease compensated dating," he said.

The study was compiled based on interviews with 30 high school students and a survey of 600 high school students in metropolitan Tokyo.

The fund began the study two years ago to study compensated dating as a women's issue as opposed to a a social phenomenon. "We want the report to ignite discussions over the issue from different angles," said Mizuho Matsuda, executive director of the fund.

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