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New Japanese writing café pressures customers to keep writing, won’t allow them to leave unfinished

japanese manuscript writing cafe
  • Located in the district of Koenji in Tokyo, Manuscript Writing Cafe helps customers create goals so they can meet their deadlines.

  • The cafe only takes in people who are focused on “manuscript writing,” which includes copywriting, translation work, paper writing, screenplay writing and manga drawing, among others.

  • Customers can choose between “mild,” “normal” or “hard” progress checks to determine how often cafe employees or the cafe’s manager verbally hold them accountable.

  • Writers are not allowed to leave the cafe until they have accomplished their goals.

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A new writing cafe in Tokyo is using verbal pressure and progress checks to help its customers meet their deadlines before they’re allowed to leave.

From owls, cats and other adorable animals to vampires, ninjas and maids, Japanese cafes have developed unique themes to help them attract more customers. Located in the district of Koenji in Tokyo, Manuscript Writing Cafe is a new Japanese cafe aimed at writers with deadlines.

The establishment takes in people who are focused on manuscript writing, which includes copywriting, translation work, paper writing, screenplay writing and manga drawing, among others.

Customers can only leave once they have completed their goals, which they declare to the reception desk after first entering the cafe. These “achievable work goals” – which consider word count, the number of pages written and more – are meant to help increase productivity.

The cafe’s manager verbally holds customers accountable by asking about their progress. They can choose between “mild,” “normal” or “hard” progress checks to determine how often the manager or one of the cafe’s employees checks in on them. Writers who want a progress check “at the time of payment” choose “mild,” and those who want a progress check every hour can choose “normal.” Meanwhile, anyone who wants someone to stand behind them and “silently [pressures] in addition to the hourly voice” can choose “hard.”

With high-speed Wi-Fi in addition to USB fast-charging ports and power outlets at every seat, Manuscript Writing Cafe discourages conversations and permits virtual meetings outside to create a “moderately tense” environment so that serious writers can concentrate on their work indoors. Cafe employees can even keep smartphones to help improve concentration.

Since the Manuscript Writing Cafe is inside Koenji Sankakuchitai, a recording and broadcasting studio, business hours are irregular. 

On April 15, owner Takuya Kawai tweeted that he was at his cafe until 4:30 a.m.

Customers can stay for as long as they would like – or, at least, until the cafe closes – and are charged based on how long they stay. They can expect to pay 150 yen (approximately $1.18) for each 30-minute increment.

To help customers stay motivated and awake, Manuscript Writing cafe offers unlimited access to self-service coffee and tea. Food options are not available, however, so writers can bring their own food, visit one of the nearby convenience stores or have food delivered to the cafe through services such as Uber Eats. 

On Twitter, many commenters either said they found the concept of the new cafe intriguing or stress inducing.

Feature Image via @TakuyaKawai/Twitter

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