Edelstein café hooks up with 'boys love' theater

Edelstein café hooks up with 'boys love' theater

In a treat for Japanese women who fantasize about forbidden schoolboy love, Edelstein café works with a troupe performing the yaoi manga play "The Heart of Thomas"
One of the male staff catches up on some reading at Edelstein in Harajuku. It's up to you to work out which other male staff member he's supposed to be in love with.

Edelstein -- a café in Harajuku -- is a hot spot for women, and not just because it serves a steaming cup of coffee. The café pretends to be a private boys school somewhere in Europe, where the young male students double as waiters for visitors, especially those who like 'boys love,' or manga about beautiful boys in love with each other. 

January was a busy month for 'boys school' café Edelstein, as it celebrated a tie-up with the upcoming stage production of Moto Hagio's classic boys love manga "The Heart of Thomas." 

"I founded Edelstein a year after I saw 'The Heart of Thomas' on stage," says the café's manager Emiko Sakamaki, 29. "I am so happy that with this collaboration I can finally bring the joy I first felt to the customers of Edelstein." 

Sakamaki opened Edelstein in 2007 while working at a consulting firm. She had experience catering to feminine taste, having been instrumental in the founding of an Ikebukuro "butler café" (the gender reversal of a maid café) in 2003. 

The troupe that staged "The Heart of Thomas" and inspired Sakamaki, was Studio Life, now in its 25th year. From February, they will embody the boys of Schlotterbetz Gymnasium -- the setting of Hagio's story -- on stage in Tokyo, Nagoya and Sendai. But prior to that, they are making guest appearances at Edelstein, where the male staff are also wearing uniforms from "The Heart of Thomas."

In addition to being able to interact with the cast of Hagio's imaginary world and speculate on who is hot for whom, customers can also view the props from the stage production, buy limited goods, sign the large guest book and order foods inspired by the manga like apple pie and white chocolate cake. There is also a special blend of leaves on hand for teatime.

The schedule for Studio Life's adaptation of "The Heart of Thomas" is available here.

Edelstein: Champs-Élysées Harajuku 2F, Jingumae 4-28-14, Shibuya-ku