The Shocking Truth About Dating in Japan as a Foreigner
Ever wondered what dating is like in Japan?
Well, then here you go!
However, be warned: If you want to read about bragging stories of all those Western guys who get laid a hundred times per day, then you came to the wrong place.
There are tons of blog posts like that out there. You certainly won’t find that here – and not from a foreign girl like me!
Before we start talking about “Dating in Japan” one thing should be crystal clear:
1. Dating is not the same for foreign women and men!
If you’ve ever been to Japan you might have noticed that there’s a tremendous number of (often not so handsome) foreign guys walking hand-in-hand with Japanese women. And at the same time there’s only a very tiny number of foreign (read: non-Asian) women with Japanese men next to them.
You might ask yourself why is that?
Maybe that’s a secret we’ll never quite get, but there are many theories!
A lot of Japanese women want a guy that tells them several times a day how much he loves them. For some reason (maybe through the consumption of too many Hollywood movies) Japanese women think that foreign men are like that! They’re not afraid of showing their feelings in public or telling their girls flat out how they feel about them.
Of course, having a foreign boyfriend is also “cool” and “exotic“. Some just use those poor guys as cute little “accessories“.
The extreme version of this is known as “gaijin hunter” and some will do everything for the sake of having one of those adorable “half”-kids (half Western, half Japanese) just to toss their foreign guy later on.
For foreign women it’s a completely different story.
Japanese men seem to expect certain things from a woman. Things that they fear a foreign woman would not agree to do (e.g. stay home, take care of the kids, always pour new alcohol into his empty glass etc.).
Maybe they also think that a foreign woman might expect from their man that he’s telling his feelings straight out several times a day, something a shy Japanese man just won’t do.
Another problem is that many of the Japanese men seem to be afraid of their English ability and thus fail to approach a foreign woman.
Most foreign men on the other hand, have no issues approaching a Japanese woman in English – or even in broken Japanese.
These are just a few theories by friends, co-workers and myself. I’m sure you have your own and there’s much more behind all this, but that’s it for starters, I guess.
2. Dating in Japan as a foreign man:
As a result, dating in Japan is usually quite easy for men.
At least getting one woman after another into your bed, is really easy, even if you’re quite ugly!
For some reason Japanese women seem to find even ugly foreign guys attractive …..
It might be a bit more difficult if you’re looking for a serious relationship as there are those women I mentioned earlier who either want you as “exotic accessory” or just want your DNA to create a cute “half-child”.
All in all, it is comparably easy for a Western foreign man to find a Japanese woman or to have a nice relationship here in Japan.
For some guys it really gets to their heads and they start bragging about it like crazy as part of the superstar syndrome.
3. Dating in Japan as a foreign woman:
The complete opposite is the case for (Western) foreign women in Japan.
Japanese guys are often too shy, scared or whatever and the majority of Western men is only interested in Japanese / Asian women.
As a result it is extremely tough to find a date as a foreign woman here in Japan.
It is by far not impossible and I know quite a few girls who don’t only have a Japanese boyfriend, but are also married to a Japanese man, but it is still the BIG exception!
Some of us will go through a hard time here in Japan.
You’ll start to feel completely unattractive and ignored at times.
Of course, you get a lot of attention and there’s all this staring, but it’s not because anybody is flirting with you … or at least you don’t know the difference anymore.
It might be a different story in bigger cities such as Tokyo and Osaka with a more international community, but in smaller cities and in the countryside with more traditional ideals it can be very difficult for foreign women.
4. Differences in relationships:
I personally know a few couples where either the man or the woman is foreign and I noticed quite a lot of differences in the kind of relationship they have.
Please note that the following is based on my personal experience and that not everybody out there is like that.
Foreign man, Japanese woman:
In relationships where the man is foreign I noticed that they mostly speak his native language. Although they live in Japan and sometimes even have children together who also speak Japanese, the foreign guys don’t / can’t speak Japanese.
I also experienced that they’re unable to do anything on their own. When I ask them about how they got their cellphone or credit card they just answer they don’t know because their wife did it for them.
Consequently they don’t see the need to study Japanese, because their wives will take care of it all.
One big problem seems to be the fact that in Japan the man earns the money, but the woman takes care of it! The man only gets a small allowance every week or month and needs to ask his wife for permission if he wants to spend any more of his own hard-earned money! Foreign guys often seem to struggle with this system.
Because of all that I’ve seen couples who got divorced, even when there were kids involved. I noticed that those kind of relationships seem to work out better if they live in his home country and not in Japan.
Foreign woman, Japanese man:
For the opposite constellation you’ll see that in most(!) cases the woman speaks Japanese. She has studied Japanese properly or puts in a lot of effort to improve her Japanese ability even if the Japanese man can speak her native tongue.
They know how to survive in Japan even without the help of their husband / boyfriend who is at work most of the time anyways.
The man seems to accept that she wants to keep working even after marriage. Most of the time those kind of Japanese men who get into a relationship with a foreign woman are more open-minded and have some experience with foreign culture because either they’ve lived or studied abroad for a while. And even those who haven’t seem to accept that there are cultural differences and they don’t expect the same they would from a Japanese woman.
All the couples I know of have a relatively harmonic relationship. Of course, there are enough reasons for disputes, but all in all they seem to manage better than couples where the man is foreign.
5. Conclusion: Dating in Japan
There’s so much more that could be said about this topic and I’d love to discuss it with you some more.
I’m sure everyone has their own opinion and experience with this!
All I want you to keep in mind is that as a guy you should not let it get to your head because suddenly you get all this attention from beautiful women.
And as a foreign girl you should keep in mind that your time in Japan – at least in terms of romantic relationships – could be quite lonely at times.
- All You Ever Wanted To Know About Dating Japanese Men
- Dating a Japanese Woman: What’s It Really Like?
- Is Dating Japanese Women Really That Easy?
If you still want to read more, here are some great books on “Dating in Japan”:
- Understanding Japanese Women by Jonathan C. Richards
- How to Meet Japanese Women by Evan Carter
- True Stories of Mixed Dating in Japan by Yuta Aoki (who’s also written a dating article on my blog)