Maid Cafe – The maid cafe in Japan

Japan is famous for the maid (meido), whether through a maid cafe or anime that portray maids from wealthy families. How did this passion and taste for girls dressed as French maids become popular in Japan?

Have you also wondered how maid cafes came about? Why are the Japanese so fond of seeing girls dressed in Victorian clothes? In this article, we are going to do a thorough investigation and find out everything about maid.

The “meido” [メイド] clothes are loosely based on that of a typical French maid. These outfits usually consist of a black dress with white trim, an apron, a lace back, stockings, and high-heeled shoes. In addition to the costume, maids behave in a way that lives up to their title, always respecting the will of the master.

Currently maids are used as fanservice in anime and manga. These characters follow the “moe” and “kawaii desu” custom and appear to be obedient. They are present in novels, comedies, action and other genres, whether to represent social classes, dedication, leadership or a simple moe fanservice.

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Tokyo akihabara french maid outfit cafe customers

How did Maid become popular in Japan?

It is believed that the popularity of the "maido" began due to a hentai OVA called "Kuronekokan", only at that time the "maido" were portrayed as a symbol of subordination. We cannot deny that initially the interest was simply a fetish for girls in uniform.

It was thanks to a visual novel called Kara no naka kotori that this tradition of slave maids changed into something cute and ordinary. In the late 90's the media soon popularized maid uniforms and soon after maid cafes sprang up across Japan. Maid cosplay also became popular in the 2000s.

Over time, several fanart of well-known characters were made by the authors themselves wearing a meido uniform. Only on Japanese fanart sites pixiv and danbooru we can find more than 30,000. Soon there were several manga and novel works that popularized the term meido such as Nekopara and Maid-sama.

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Maid - maid - why are they successful in japan?

The History of Maid Café in Japan

Maid Café or “maido kissa” [メイド喫茶] appeared in Japan in 2001, with the popularization of anime and manga that show wealthy families with maids wearing Victorian clothes. The First Maid Café appeared in Akihabara under the name of Cure Maid Café. Then it became popular and spread across the globe.

Maido Kissa is a place where girls dressed as maids or other themes sell coffee, snacks, mainly omelets, creams and drinks.

Upon entering a Maid Café you will be greeted with: Okaeri Goshujin-sama (Welcome my Lord), like a boss who has just arrived at his mansion being greeted by his servants. 

In these places, people are treated like kings, take pictures with the maids and participate in various games while waiting for their meal to arrive. Despite looking a little perverted, these places are quite childish, innocent and cute.

maid cafe

Another interesting thing is that the Maids will kneel by the table and stir the cream and sugar in the coffee, always with lines like: Nyan Nyan, Moe Moe, Pyun… Also, some Maid Cafes, offer massages, games for prizes and others.

There are also rules! Most Maid Cafés charge to take pictures with the maids. Do not allow them to touch them or ask for personal data such as a phone number or anything that takes away their privacy. There is a male version called Butler Cafe. In these establishments, the attendants are butlers who treat the visitors as if they were true princesses.

In Akihabara alone there are hundreds of maid cafés from different franchises such as Maidream, cure maid, @home and others. In these places there are several things like music shows, games and various moe things.

Maid café - Know the maids coffee from japan

Some dishes from Maid Café

As already mentioned, in these places one of the main menus is the “omeraisu” rice omelettes [オムライス], where the Maids themselves draw or write with Ketchup.

Other dishes like noodles and cookies, all with a moe appearance (Cute) Some drinks, ice creams and creams with exotic and colorful appearances, some Maid Café even sell alcoholic drinks like sake.

Maid cafe - Know the maids cafe in japan

My Maid Café Experience

I went on “maidreamin” with a friend I met during my trip to Japan. It was quite an experience, only the price was hefty, it was almost 5000 yen, we ordered a complete combo with gifts, photos, dessert and dancing.

I was sad that we paid for the show when someone else could have paid and we would have watched it the same way. The only thing that has changed is choosing the song and the singer, which hasn't changed much.

The maid who served us was very sweet, and forced us to wear rabbit ears… I hesitated and ended up ordering another plate of kare (curry) instead of the traditional omelet.

Unfortunately I found the curry very cloying, the 2 times I tried it in Japan. As a gift, we got a folder with a poster to put documents. During the photo my disappointment was that the maid wrote in English instead of Japanese. I also wish I had taken more than one photo…

Maid cafe - Know the maids cafe in japan

Are French maids in Japan real?

I have no doubt that some wealthy businessmen pay their maids to wear Victorian and French clothes in their mansions. Social classes and uniforms are something cultural and historical in Japan.

In the past, geisha served and entertained masters using their kimono and makeup, even without any sexism or abuse of power.

Read too: Geisha – Who are they really? History and Curiosities

While many perverts are drawn to “meido” due to a uniform fetish, those dedicated to a job as a maid café or cosplay aren't uncomfortable playing a French maid. The same thing happens in several subcultures of Japan like lolita and gyaru.

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Like geishas, “meido” sell fantasy and friendship. They talk to customers, they provide a social connection for those who have this difficulty.

Both are paid to provide social interaction, the difference is that currently geisha are for wealthy people, while “meido” can be accessible by anyone. Many women think that dressing up makes them sexy and cute.

Some Maid Kissa Sites

Exploring these sites, even if you don't know Japanese, you will find more information such as menus, games, the maids, even their personal blog. Some of these sites even contain stores.

Also read some articles from Cafes in Japan: 

Brazilian Maid Cafés

Unfortunately Brazil does not have any Fixed Maid Café. But there's always some at anime events, despite not being like the Japanese Maid Café, it's worth mentioning some of them.

Of course, the article cannot end without videos, and there are thousands of them. Even if you don't know Japanese, to finish we'll leave you several videos, showing these maid cafes, so you can understand more, and see how unique and fun it is.

Some facts about Maid

  • The Soviet (and Russian Imperial) school uniform for girls looks exactly like a stereotypical maid outfit;
  • The word “meido” (冥土) can also mean a kind of underworld, hades and place of the dead;
  • There is a band in Japan called Band-Maid where they sing in the costume of a French maid;
  • One of the iconic “maid phrases” is “moe moe kyun”.
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