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Maid Café in Canada Shuts Down (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
Restaurant's novelty led to television, newspaper coverage

The iMaid Café, a Japanese-style maid café that opened in Toronto, Ontario in 2006, has closed down this month. Maid cafés are restaurants that feature waitresses in maid costumes. The novelty of the Canadian establishment led to news coverage by the CBC television network and the National Post newspaper.

The iMaid Café's website has not been updated, and the actual café's doors are shuttered. According to a "Landlord Distress Warrant," dated November 6, on the café's doors, the café's management owes about C$8,311 (US$8,329) in back rent. A distress warrant can lead to the seizure of the debtors' personal property.

The recent phenomenon of maid cafés in Japan popularized the maid genre of anime and manga, which in turn created even more demand for maid cafés. In an effort to stand out from all the other cafés, new establishments have experimented with male servants, Gothic-themed outfits, and waiters in schoolboy uniforms. Although maid cafés had originated in Japan, the iMaid Café catered to the local Chinese-Canadian population of Toronto by playing Chinese music and having waitresses refer to customers as "Shang-di" instead of "Master." Similar cafés have sprouted up in countries from South Korea and Taiwan to Hong Kong and Thailand with varying degrees of success.

FarOut Toys, a store in San Jose, California that specializes in Japanese toys and anime collectibles, is still promoting the maid café it has been managing on Saturdays. FarOut Toys has not responded to ANN's request for clarification of its café's status.

Thank you to Michael Nicolas for the news tip.

Update: Cafe's last website added. Thanks, Okina.

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