What is the Dark Side of Con-Cafes? The reality of dangerous con cafes and how to avoid illegal ones


While some may have an image of concept cafes (conkafes) as being “dark” or “dangerous,” most real conkafes operate safely.
The potential danger is limited to a small number of establishments that engage in illegal business practices.
However, due to the strong impression left by these types of establishments, some people may be hesitant to work at conkafes out of concern for their safety.
Here, we will explain the reality of conkafes and how to avoid dangerous illegal establishments.

Why Conkafes Are Considered “Dangerous”

The Existence of Illegal Establishments with Potential Violations of the Entertainment Business Control Law

One reason conkafes are considered “dangerous” is the existence of illegal establishments that may violate the Entertainment Business Control Law.
If casts at a conkafe provide “entertainment” services to customers, they are required to obtain a license for the adult entertainment business.
“Entertainment” is defined in Article 2, Paragraph 3 of the Entertainment Business Control Law as providing hospitality to customers in a way that creates an atmosphere of revelry.
Specifically, it refers to cases where ① the cast provides ② services beyond just dining and conversation, such as active conversation or other services, to ③ a particular customer who visits expecting more than just food and drink.
Acts by conkafe casts such as continuously conversing with a particular customer, taking intimate photos (chekis), or playing games together could potentially constitute “entertainment.”
If such services are provided without obtaining the appropriate adult entertainment business license, it could lead to arrests and crackdowns for unlicensed operations.

It’s important to note that in cases of crackdowns for violations of the Entertainment Business Control Law, not only the business owners but also the casts themselves could face potential arrests.
Additionally, employing any staff under the age of 18 is prohibited by law. If underage individuals are made to engage in entertainment services, the establishment’s responsibility would be considered severe.
When working at a conkafe, it is essential to confirm that the establishment has obtained the appropriate licenses and to be cautious about not being involved in any illegal activities.

Unscrupulous Owners or Ties to Anti-Social Forces

According to some accounts, there is a risk of sexual harassment or power harassment from unscrupulous owners or managers.
There are owners who only hire women who fit their preferences and try to touch them under the guise of it being part of the job, or tempt them with higher wages in exchange for physical contact.
Even if refused, their attitudes may turn cold, the treatment may become sloppy, and in the worst cases, wages may go unpaid.
Additionally, even with female managers, issues like power harassment can still occur.

There are also rumors of conkafes being involved with anti-social forces in their management.
While such cases are extremely rare in reality, past problematic incidents tend to leave a lasting impression, leading to a persistent negative image.

Risk of Stalker Victimization for Casts

While there are concerns about the potential danger from the many otaku customers at conkafes, being an otaku alone does not necessarily increase the risk.
However, since conkafes involve more conversation with customers compared to other service industries, there is a non-zero risk of some customers developing strong romantic feelings and becoming stalkers.
This risk increases dramatically if the cast engages in “romantic sales tactics.”
The extent to which such tactics are expected varies from establishment to establishment, so it’s important to clarify this beforehand.

Conflicts Among Casts

At conkafes, the popularity of each cast is clearly visible, which can lead to an environment prone to issues like harassment due to jealousy or the formation of cliques.
It’s important to thoroughly assess the staff retention rate and overall atmosphere of the workplace to choose an environment where healthy interpersonal relationships can be built.

Identifying Dangerous Illegal Conkafes

Check the Website and Social Media

Check the establishment’s website and social media to get a sense of the casts’ work schedules and the overall atmosphere.
Be cautious if the updates are infrequent or the content seems unnatural.
The apparent rapport among the casts can also provide insight into the work environment.

It’s also important to search for the establishment’s name, as well as the manager’s or owner’s name, to check for reviews and reputations.
In addition to Google searches, information can often be found in social media posts and Google Maps reviews.
You may find reviews from past customers, as well as testimonials and experiences from former casts, and information about the manager or owner.

Visit as a Customer Beforehand

Visit the establishment as a customer to research the pricing structure, presence of solicitors, and overall atmosphere.
High prices or persistent solicitation could be warning signs of potential danger.
Observing the casts’ service attitudes and the vibe of the customers can also help you evaluate whether it’s a suitable workplace.

Above all, if you enjoy the experience as a customer, there’s a much higher likelihood that you’ll enjoy working there as well.

Try Working a Trial Shift

If given the opportunity for a trial shift, it’s recommended to actively apply.
You can gauge whether the job duties match the initial description, as well as get a firsthand feel for the interpersonal dynamics and customer base.
Being able to assess the workplace while earning wages is a significant advantage.

Selecting a Safe and Legitimate Conkafe

Confirm Whether Entertainment Services Are Involved

While the term “conkafe” encompasses a wide range of establishments, their business models vary.
For establishments operating like maid cafes without entertainment services, there’s no need to worry about the Entertainment Business Control Law.
However, for establishments more akin to cabaret clubs, it’s crucial to confirm whether they have obtained the necessary licenses required by the law.

Choose Establishments Run by Companies That Are Transparent With Information

Establishments operated by well-known and reputable companies tend to have a strong compliance awareness and better working conditions.
Conkafes that provide clear job information and actively disseminate information through their websites and social media are likely to be more trustworthy.

Prioritize Staff Retention and Work-Friendly Environment

Workplaces with high staff turnover may indicate underlying issues.
It’s best to choose establishments that emphasize high cast retention rates in their job listings or give the impression of being work-friendly during a trial shift.


While some may have a dangerous impression of conkafes, there’s no need for excessive concern in reality.
However, to minimize risks, it’s crucial to exercise caution regarding establishments with the potential for illegal operations.
When choosing an establishment, thoroughly research by checking their website and social media, visiting as a customer, and trying a trial shift to get a clear understanding.
Maintaining an appropriate distance with customers and fostering positive relationships with colleagues are also key to ensuring a safe working environment.
Find a safe workplace that suits you and fully enjoy your conkafe experience!

Conkafe Information Akihabara Shinjuku Ikebukuro Shibuya Shinsaibashi Nipponbashi Nagoya Sapporo