- Title: JAPAN: Tokyo cafe combines maids and samurai
- Date: 23rd February 2010
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 10th March 2010 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA3IMYRP06LLVP37MLNVCTUG3QA
- Story Text: Tokyo cafe combines maids and samurai in the latest twist in Japan's otaku culture.
It's service with a sword at the newest cafe in Tokyo's Akihabara district, where the waitresses have taken Japan's maid cafe culture and added in some samurai flair.
The cafe, called "Mononopu" has taken the maid cafe look and armored up with added attachments such as samurai style shoulder armor and their own plastic swords.
Cafes where the waitresses dress as maids is nothing new for the Akihabara district with waitresses in hundreds of cafes wearing maid outfits or more traditional anime-style maids to serve customers.
In the last few years though, Japan's historical 15th century Warring States period has experienced a popularity boom around the country, with historical figures becoming icons and many games and movies riding the wave to historical profits.
Mononopu's owner, Tatsuya Nagareya explains that in addition to his personal interest in history, he did try to capitalize on the historical boom.
"I had both heard about the current popularity of Japan's warring states period, and I personally liked history, so I decided to make a sort of historically based Cafe around that concept," he explained to Reuters.
The cafe holds semi-regular history quiz events for customers, although there is no test required to get a job there. 21-year-old Aiso Kasaka, who goes by her historic sounding maid name of Azusa Maeda, says she enjoys listening to customers who know about the history.
"As there are customers who really know alot about history, it's quite fun in that I get to learn from listening to them," she said.
According to the owner, the cafe attracts more than the stereotypical "otaku" or geek crowd and also has everything from girl get-togethers to couples coming in.
The biggest draws for customers such as 21-year-old Shouta Minami remains the historic theme.
"I'm majoring in history in my studies, so I was really looking forward to coming here," said Minami, who was visiting Tokyo on vacation, told Reuters.
Compared to the typical maid cafe, where patrons are greeted by calls of "Welcome back Master", customers at Mononopu get treated to a more historic "princess" or "prince".
"The store looks alot more historic than I expected, which I thought was really nice," explained 22-year-old college student Yuui Sakata, who was also visiting Tokyo and wanted to come see a maid cafe in person.
The food in the cafe is priced around the Tokyo average, but it will cost a customer around 1,000 Yen ($10.97 U.S. dollars) if they want to get a special autographed photo of one the maids, signed with a personal message.
The cafe owner says that he believes the people's interest in history won't fade away as the latest craze, and will instead stick around to keep Mononopu itself from fading into the history books.
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