Life in Japan

The Shocking Truth About Dating in Japan as a Foreigner

Ever wondered what dating is like in Japan?
Well, then this post is exactly what you’ve been looking for!

However, 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! smilie

Before we start talking about “Dating in Japan” one thing should be crystal clear:

 

Dating Experience is Different 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 moms, 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.

 

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. They suffer from the so-called superstar syndrome.

 

Dating in Japan as a Foreign Woman:

For (Western) foreign women in Japan it’s a completely different story.
Japanese guys are often too shy or even scared 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 guy, 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.

 

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. Just one example is a co-worker of mine. When I asked him how he obtained his cellphone or credit card, he said his wife did everything for him. smilie
Consequently, a lot of foreign men in Japan don’t see the need to study Japanese, because their wives will take care of all the important things.

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. He actually needs to ask his wife for permission if he wants to spend any 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 kinds 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 Japanese partner who is at work most of the time anyway.

The man seems to accept that she wants to keep working even after marriage. Most of the time those kinds of Japanese men who get into a relationship with a foreign woman are more open-minded and have some experience with foreign culture because they’ve lived or studied abroad for a while. And even those who haven’t, seem to accept that there are cultural differences. So, 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.

 

Conclusion: Dating in Japan

There’s so much more that could be said about this topic. I’d love to discuss it with you, so get involved in the comment section below.
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.

Read on:

 

If you still want to read more, here are some great books on “Dating in Japan”:

 

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391 Comments

  • I think Japanese men are better as an Indian but I’m confused how should I approach to a Japanese guy cuz I’m shy and not a flattery type.

  • Fascinating article. Thank you for sharing. I think Japanese women are really beautiful. I would love to date one. Form a relationship. I didn’t realise there was that perception towards foreign men until reading this. I’m more interested now. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and hopefully after Covid, that will become a possibility. I have been to China, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore but there is something quite unique about Japanese women. I can’t explain what makes them different but they are simply gorgeous.

  • I’m currently living in Canada and really want to meet a woman from Japan that I could possibility start a relationship with, a serious one. I just don’t know how to go about it. Any advice?

  • I moved back to Canada from Japan I have some advice for you….STAY AWAY !!!! This also comes from my Japanese guy friends. I have dated a lot of Japanese woman and even have a child with one…..This new generation of Japanese girls are not loyal at all……Too Westernized these days ,
    you can find loyal nice woman from smaller towns but if they are from a big city just forget it!!! I lived in Japan for 6 years , make huge money 15k USD a month and drive a new car and I’m considered to be an attractive, tall, fit male in my 30s, and had problems. My Japanese guy friends and myself noticed Korean and Chinese woman are a better option to date. I feel they are more loyal and are not fooled by this current Western girl power B.S. that’s literally decimating the culture in Japan.
    The top five prefectures with the highest divorce rates are:

    Kochi (46.15 percent), Okinawa (45.87 percent), Wakayama (44.54 percent)
    Miyazaki (43.82 percent), Hokkaido (43.51 percent) and so on.
    I remember reading other blogs and advice from men that went there and thought
    ” well that’s not going to happen to me ” “those guys were probably not smart”
    well now I can see they were correct ……they all said the same thing……wonderful girlfriends but terrible wives !!!! Oh and they have this strange culture of not answering text messages on in a timely manner. They have a culture of pretending to be too busy ….rolling eyes…..seriously. Korean woman will always text back and like to let their man know exactly what and where they are. Most Japanese women will text once and not reply till the next day and say ………”oh sorry, I had a plan that day “.
    But its up to you my friend ….Good Luck !

    • Very interesting . Thank you for sharing your story..That sounds totally credible. I think i’ve re evaluated my stance now. Western influences are ruining women and relationships worldwide. Cheers

  • I’d just love a cute Japanese boyfriend. I actually like them passive, shorter, and beautiful , I’d buy them flowers and chocolates and treat them like the precious little thing they’d have to be to get my interest. But I could also be mean to the ones who like to be pushed around. So if there’s a pretty, masochistic little Japanese boy who wants a relationship with an old white woman watch out, I’m on my way over there to find you and claim you as soon as I get the chance.

  • Haha. What bitterness. Basically your Western feminist attitude and average looks will not cut it in a country where there is an abundance of feminine cute women. Back to the West Dorothy. Pretend Asia never happened.

  • Interesting. The article says updated October 2022, but the comments are from ten years ago. :)

    Although I have never “lived” in Japan, I have been there many times. I have also been to many other countries (Australia, Europe, etc.) and I was always approached by a local woman (or several), sometimes just within minutes (literally) of setting foot in their country. I am NOT attractive, nor wealthy, or anything else that was on the list. What I am, is an American.

    I was considered “desirable” simply because of the stigma (probably Hollywood’s fault) that American MEN treat women generally better (greater equality) then the local men do. In the countries of the former USSR, as one example, women complain that their men are lazy and alcoholics and unfaithful (lots of this viewpoint on the Internet) In other countries in Europe, I felt I was more a novelty but those women shared amazingly similar complaints. So it went in Australia and elsewhere. Economically speaking, Japanese women don’t have a lot to gain by marrying a foreign man, but they still came running as soon as they saw me and heard my voice (American accent). Most of the world still has comparatively antiquated gender roles (“A woman’s place is in the kitchen…”) whereas America is considerably more progressive (again, by comparison). Nonetheless, it was also my observation that many women in other countries like the gender role norms. They want to marry a man who will be a good provider, good spouse, good father, and above all, faithful. In return, they want to take care of their man and are happy to be a woman. One of the most frequent “complaints” I heard from American men who married a woman from another country was that American women take too much for granted. I can understand that. While I did not ultimately marry a woman from outside the USA, I dated many in their countries, and honestly, I never felt more cared about (I didn’t say cared for, but cared about). So, many men from Western countries are eager to find a woman from a country where family values are higher on the priority list then they are in Western countries, and where it is still acceptable to be a man.

    P.S.: Until I read this article, I never knew that cooking was unmanly. I do all the cooking in my home because I enjoy it, and my wife is more than happy to let me.

  • Honestly, it is clear that this was written by a woman.

    Many men, will definitely tell you that they have had a MUCH different experience when it comes to dating here in Japan.

    While yes, you will have some people who are luckily active.
    A lot of people can barely get a date, let alone the chance to even talk to Japanese women.

    While I do agree with some of the things that you mentioned, it just felt like the guy side of the conversation felt a bit ignored.

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