Life in Japan

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Dating Japanese Men

After publishing the article “The Truth About Dating In Japan As A Foreigner” a lot of female readers asked me what it’s like to date a Japanese guy.

Many seemed to be interested in cultural differences and resulting problems in the relationship between a foreign woman and a Japanese man.

Although I’ve been in Japan for 6 years now, I totally lack that kind of experience. smilie

Instead I asked friends and fellow bloggers, who have had Japanese boyfriends or are even married to a Japanese man, to share their personal experience with us.

It was an interesting journey and I want to thank all of the participants for taking the time to tell us about their own unique story. smilie

 

Name: Zia
Nationality: Puerto Rican
Age: 24

First, let’s hear what Zia has to say. She’ been in Japan for many years and had to go through a lot during her time here already:

I moved to Japan when I was 18 and have been dating Asian guys ever since. I’ve never dated Western guys, though. I often hear girls who long for Asian boyfriends say that Western guys are dogs, and I can confidently say that Asian men are no different. Just like with any place you go, you have your good guys and your bad guys.”

Dating Japanese MenZia, I think we can all agree with that! smilie

“During my first couple of years here, I encountered a lot of guys whose interest in me came purely from the fact that I was foreign. They wanted to know all about Puerto Rico and always brought up the fact that one day, I’d return to my own country.”

I wonder if that’s generally one thing that might prevent Japanese men from dating a Western girl. They’re afraid that one day she might leave Japan again? Hm.

“Now that I’m older, I still come across a lot of men who seem interested in dating a foreigner for language reasons. These are the types of guys I feel we foreign girls encounter most. Amongst them, the good guys are hidden!”

I think that’s generally a big problem – not only when trying to find an “honest” relationship, but also true friends. I’ve heard from many people that they were just “used” as an opportunity to get free English lessons (or whatever their native language was). I bet it’s difficult to filter the ones who are truly interested.

Not only that, but also stereotypes seem to be an issue:

“There are a lot of stereotypes and some girls use them for their own personal gain. Those that stand true to who they are seem to be the ones who find solid relationships. In my case, for instance, men are quick to bring up the topic of bikinis and love hotels the minute I mention I’m Latina. They expect me to put out whenever we’d go out. For a long while, after the loss of someone I planned on spending my entire life with, I gave in to that stereotype and was unable to get involved in a serious relationship.”


Zia is pointing out a few problems in her current relationship due to cultural differences:

“Now, I’m in a happy relationship with an older man who doesn’t speak a lick of English or Spanish, which is my main language. We come across a lot of problems. For one, I’m very passionate in my way of moving and speaking, and I sometimes forget to respect personal space. I’m not at all intimidated by physical contact. He’s the opposite. What we consider common sense is very different.”

 

 

Name: Jen
Nationality: British
Age: 27

Jen has dated a couple of Japanese guys and is now married to one. She has experienced issues in her relationship because of cultural differences:

“When I first started dating my husband he was embarrassed to hold hands with me in public. This applied more in Japan than when we were in England, although now he seems completely okay with it. In general, Japanese men are likely to be embarrassed about showing affection in public – even things like putting an arm around someone’s shoulders, or hugging, never mind kissing. Very touchy feely Japanese couples are definitely NOT the norm.”

As another big problem Jen states:

Long working hours and overtime are common here in Japan. My first Japanese boyfriend would go for weeks without contacting me because he was working late every day. Also, a general lack of e-mailing, phone calls etc. seems to be normal. Although I don’t think that this just applies to Japanese men!”

In the previous article we were already discussing the language issue that cross-cultural couples might have. Jen says:

“If you can both speak the other person’s language, there are probably going to be disagreements about what language to speak. My husband and I have a system where we swap languages every day – so today is an English day, and tomorrow is Japanese. At first, we went through periods where we would only speak English (which I didn’t like) or when we would only speak Japanese (which he didn’t like). Obviously we change it according to the circumstances (we are not going to speak in English to each other when out with a lot of Japanese friends!), but this system really works for us. I think this is an important thing to sort out!

Dating Japanese Men

Jen and her husband on vacation in Korea.

Jen’s advice for overcoming or dealing with cultural differences is:

“I think in general, it’s important to be very open about what you are expecting from the relationship. If you need a lot of hugs and affection, make sure that he knows and don’t just get annoyed that he’s not automatically doing it. As long as you’re both honest and open about things, and actually communicate properly with each other, it should be okay!”

If you are single like me, you probably wonder about how to approach a Japanese man. Jen suggests:

“Even if you are shy, if you like someone you should be proactive about it. There is a good chance that he will like you too, and just not have imagined that you could possibly be interested in him. A lot of Japanese men seem to have an inferiority complex (many of my Japanese male friends have told me this), so they might not imagine that any non-Japanese woman would ever be interested in them. So if you like someone, go for it!”

 

 

Name: River
Nationality: American (USA)
Age: late 20s

River is a young American who has dated a few Japanese guys before marrying one of them. About her first Japanese boyfriend she says:

“He was just a gaijin-hunter, so that didn’t go to well. He wouldn’t learn any English and it was really frustrating to communicate only in Japanese. At first I was happy about this, because I wanted to speak Japanese. However, the deeper things went, the more difficult it was to understand each other. Even when we broke up it was long and drawn out and he wanted to ‘stay friends’ which I’ve heard is what most Japanese guys like to do. Even after we’d been broken up for a few months he’d still write to me and ask what I was doing and how I was …”

After dating a few Japanese guys she finally met her husband. They seem to have issues caused by cultural differences, but they were able to overcome some of them:

When I started dating my husband, I didn’t really feel that we had any cultural barriers. I guess because by then I’d been in Japan long enough that I knew my way around and I had lived with two Japanese host families, so I have a good sense of Japanese manners and customs. We only spoke in Japanese with each other for a short time before he started to learn English, so he could communicate with me better. We eventually stopped speaking Japanese and now I’m actually unable to speak Japanese in front of him (shy, embarrassed … I’m not sure). I actually forget that he’s Japanese and that he can speak Japanese.”

Although they’ve found a solution for some of the problems, River says:

After we got married we had some trouble with things like housework and money, but I’m not sure if that’s just him, a Japanese trait, or normal married life. He doesn’t expect me to cook Japanese food and he doesn’t measure me by my miso soup making skills (I’ve gotten told by MANY people that my husband will basically judge me on my miso soup). We do have a lot of trouble communicating when we fight and again I’m not sure if it’s a language issue, culture, or just us …”

I found the following statement interesting, because I heard a lot of Western girls with Japanese boyfriends or husbands saying the exact same thing:

My husband isn’t a typical Japanese guy.

River adds:

“I actually have a big problem with people prefacing their relationships with their significant other’s ethnicity. I never call my husband my ‘Japanese husband’. And I hate it when people act like I won a prize or ‘got’ something special because he’s Japanese. He’s just … him.”

 

 

Name: Alyse
Nationality: American (USA)
Age: 25

Alyse, a young American woman married to a Japanese man, notices the following cultural differences that sometimes cause problems in her relationship:

“Every guy I’ve ever been in a relationship with has been different from the last, but I suppose dating a Japanese guy has the added spice of major cultural differences, as opposed to just differences in hobbies or upbringing. And from these differences, the biggest one would be language. No matter how fluent each of us becomes in our second language, something is always lost in translation, and that can quickly escalate into a huge argument until we don’t even remember what we started arguing about in the first place. But there’s nothing we can really do other than keep studying and keep trying. So for that part, a significant amount of patience might be necessary.”

Dating Japanese Men

The language barrier seems to be a real issue even when you try hard to understand each other. However, Alyse mentions other problems as well:

“Another difference I noticed has to do with taking care of the household. It took a bit of adjusting (especially on my husband’s side). We knew that we would both be working, but when we first got married, Shota was under the impression that I would be making him lunch every morning, doing his laundry, and just taking care of the house as well as going to work full-time. It’s taken all 3 years of being married and countless long-winded explanations/rants in English and Japanese on my part, but most of the chores are split down the middle now.”

Just like River, Alyse also notices cultural differences when it comes to responsibilities in the household. Her advice is:

“I think when it comes to international relationships, especially with women from countries where men and women are viewed as mostly equals, it takes a lot of time and effort by both for it to work, and if both aren’t ready to concede or make compromises, the relationship won’t last for long.”

Alyse also mentioned another potential issue that nobody else brought up thus far:

“Something I’ve heard is that their mothers can be quite a problem, and this isn’t just for non-Japanese women, but just for the wives of Japanese men in general. The relationship between the mother-in-law and wife can be tenuous at best, and disastrous at its worse. And if you’re dating/marrying the eldest son of the family, you might be expected to move in with his family to take care of his parents as they age. This trend has started to drop off a bit in this generation, but it’s just one of the many things you should think about in a serious relationship!”

I also asked Alyse if she has any advice for us single girls when it comes to dating Japanese men:

Landing a Japanese guy is EASY. Landing a guy who is serious about dating you, and understanding when he is serious, might be a bit harder to do. I didn’t start officially dating Shota until I confessed to him. If they reply positively, then you’re basically a couple, and if not, then it’s probably not going to work. But no matter how many dates you go on, you’re probably not a couple until you confess to him. At least, that’s how I’ve come to understand it. Every person/couple is different, so I suppose the biggest thing is to be open to whatever comes and not to make judgments or assumptions beforehand.”

 

 

Name: Claudia
Nationality: German
Age: 23

Claudia is a fellow German woman, but unlike me she met a Japanese guy in her younger days and got married already:

“My husband and I met when I was 19 and living in Tokyo on a Working Holiday Visa. I had not dated terribly much before. There had been two relationships that lasted for a while – with a Japanese guy and with a Korean guy.
We met through friends of friends. At the first meeting we exchanged mail addresses, met up a few times after that and at some point it just happened. Then, I had to leave the country (simple reason: my visa expired), we were in a long-distance-relationship for almost two years and got married as soon as he graduated university.”

Claudia says that her husband actually never wanted to marry a Japanese woman and here’s why:

“According to him, Japanese women are annoying, because they rather keep their emotions inside. Thus, little annoyances turn into huge problems. He also says that, as soon as Japanese women have babies, they turn into mothers, with not hint of the awesome wife you had before, destroying romance and attraction. I’m not entirely sure where he got these ideas from, but they’re his reasons.”

Dating Japanese Men

Claudia mentions issues, but also continuous efforts in her relationship that are necessary because of cultural differences:

“When we met he only spoke Japanese, but right now he is making an effort to learn English (we gave up on German, he promised he’ll start learning as soon as we have children). As most Japanese people, he is hugely interested in food and works too much. 120 hours of overtime should not be normal for anyone.”

According to Claudia the biggest difference between dating a Western man and dating a Japanese one is:

Showing physical affection outside of the house: When we started dating, he wouldn’t even hold my hand when we were outside. Fortunately he has gotten used to it, but he will not hold my hand in front of his parents unless I initiate it. Kissing is still extremely embarrassing for him, and so the physical part of the relationship happens at home. At first, this sudden change in affection as soon as the door closed behind us was weird, but now I actually like it. It’s like there’s a side of my husband only I know.

Another difference she has found between Japanese and German (Western) men is the following:

“He is willing to spend a lot more money on food and travel than I’d expect a German to. To him it’s normal that good things cost money and he’d rather have a stellar experience (paid for with his overtime pay) than a cheap, but unsatisfying one. He also doesn’t complain about my spending, as long as I can afford it.”

Claudia doesn’t mention any problems with her mother-in-law. On the contrary, she had less problems with her husband’s family than she thought she would have:

His parents luckily were excited about the prospect of gaining a German daughter-in-law. I’m not sure most Japanese parents would be that happy, but my father-in-law used to go abroad for work several times a year, and a relative has been living in Canada for basically forever, so they’re open towards foreign cultures. Oh, and Germany has a ridiculously good reputation in Japan. I had a chance to meet a big part of the family and the only one who had any ‘problems’ was my husband’s grandmother, who even after meeting me several times still doesn’t believe that I actually speak Japanese. I’m not going to complain though, she’s in her 80s.”

Claudia doesn’t seem to have to fight with her husband about doing the chores:

“Different from some other Japanese men, my husband doesn’t complain about my housewife skills. At least not a lot. He does not expect me to keep the house extremely clean or to cook every day. Not only does my husband not make a fuss, he actually helps with the household when he has the time.”

When asked for advice on how to go about finding a Japanese boyfriend, Claudia’s response was:

Know people who have access to tons of Japanese people. Ask to meet their friends. Be yourself, but keep in mind that Japanese culture is different from your own culture. Respect that, as far as you can without being untrue to yourself. Speaking Japanese also helps a big deal, especially as you will probably deal with the family of your boyfriend or spouse at some point.”


 

 

Name: Vivian
Nationality: Canadian
Age: 30

Last, but not least Vivian, a Canadian in her 30s, has a very positive opinion about cultural differences in a relationship:

“There’s always interesting cultural differences that pop up in the course of the relationship – some are exciting, while others can be more difficult to deal with, but I think it’s the same as any relationship, regardless of the culture. There’s always things you learn about the other person. Being in Japan, I think that dating a Japanese man can open up a whole new world, seeing Japan from a Japanese perspective, and you can learn a lot about the country and culture.”

As for finding a Japanese boyfriend, she suggests:

“I think men are men – everywhere in the world. Of course there are some specific cultural traits that differ, but overall, I’d say finding a Japanese boyfriend is the same as finding any boyfriend. Japanese men might seem shy at first, but ultimately they want the same thing.
If you can’t speak much Japanese, it’s probably best to go for a Japanese man who has lived abroad and can speak fluent English. If you can speak Japanese, you have better chances to meet them as it’s easier to have a conversation and flirt when you share a language. My advice is to take things slow, but if you like a Japanese guy don’t be shy to ask him out as he might be too intimidated to do so.”

Vivian has an interesting advice for anybody who wants to date a Japanese man that nobody else mentioned so far:

“This may not please everyone, but I suggest to take good care of your physical appearance. For example, most Japanese women are meticulous about their appearance, and while you don’t need to look like a walking doll, basic things like nice clothes, healthy body, skin and hair really make a difference. I believe you should never change your personality to please a man! I’m sure some Japanese men think most foreign girls are too loud and extroverted, but if that’s how you are then you should find someone who will embrace it.”

 

 

Dating Japanese Men – Conclusion

I think we all gained very interesting insights thanks to these young women who were willing to share their unique stories and experiences with us.

While there’s no doubt that each relationship is different, a few things were mentioned again and again. I guess it’s safe to say that you should keep those in mind if you are thinking about dating Japanese men:

  • Japanese men are often very shy, so you should be proactive
  • There might be no physical contact in front of others ( in Japan)
  • There might be fights over household responsibilities
  • Even if you speak each other’s mother tongue there might be communication issues
  • Overtime and long working hours could become a problem in a relationship
  • Be open-minded and ready to compromise

I know there are a lot of young women out there who are either interested in dating Japanese men or who are already in a relationship. This post could only display the experience of a handful of people. If you have your own unique story, questions or comments, don’t be shy and speak up! Of course, guys are welcome to share their opinion and experience as well! smilie

I’m looking forward to hearing from you! smilie

289 Comments

  • Interesting stories. I am caucasian and dated a Japanese man for about a year here in the states. We met through a mutual sport we shared. He was kinda shy and we didn’t talk much at first because he had just moved here and his English was not good at first. Maybe a year later, we were able to talk more with his better English and eventually I made the first move. It went fairly well considering but in the end we were not really meant for each other. He often said he didn’t like Japanese women and I think more accurately, what he didn’t like was certain specific things about many Japanese women. He didn’t like girls who wore a lot of makeup and were overly obsessed with looks, money, and material goods. He liked the down to Earth straightforward type who didn’t dress fancy and I do think he had a thing for blondes as well, although he would not come out and say it.

    However, one problem we had was he seemed to feel it was my job to live very much by his rules and do only things HE thought were fun and with him only, and not have any time for my own life or other hobbies. He would become bitter if I did things without him or things he didn’t approve of, like surfing the net, even if he was busy at the time and had no time for me anyway. So there was a sort of thing where he tried to control me and when I didn’t listen, he would get pouty and quiet for long periods. He would also get irritated if I didn’t spend every second I was not at work with him. He also seemed to think it was my job to come over and clean his house for him and cook more for him. And he was very picky about what I cooked, it had to be super healthy (by his standards) and ALSO taste really good (by his standards) or he would critique any imperfect aspect, which of course made me not want to come for him!

    On a number of occasions, he made it sound like he was doing me a big favor by putting up with my ‘selfishness’ and whatnot. Reading all the stories here, could be in many ways he just expected me to in some ways be a typical Japanese girl. Anyway, in the end it can’t work out if there is such dissatisfaction and one day he complained a lot about my ‘selfishness’ (translate that to what would be normal independent behavior by American standards), and I told him I could not change and so we had to break up.

    Later, he found another American girl and eventually got married. We still saw each other through sports so I would occasionally talk to him and I was fine with remaining friends (or more like associates). Interestingly when I met her, his new girl both looked and acted a lot like me and she even had similar behaviors that I had which he would also complain about sometimes when it came to her. I guess he was stuck in a rut of both wanting and dissatisfaction with a certain type of girl. He wanted both a cheeky confident lively American girl that didn’t want any money from him and would pay her own way (we always went dutch and now I do wonder if that was normal for a Japanese man or not), but also one that would be subservient to his desires and cook and clean the house for him. Might be hard to find such a girl!

    • Hey, Eva!

      Thanks so much for taking the time and sharing your story with us.

      It seems to be true that a lot of Japanese men expect their wives to stay home, do all the chores, cook, give up their career etc., but this is actually the first time I heard that the control goes THAT far. I’m not sure if all Japanese men are like that.
      I also agree that it’s probably impossible to find the girl he’s apparently looking for and if he has the same issues with his wife, then maybe there will be a divorce sooner or later. :(

      Sad to hear you had to break up in the end, but from your story, I think it was the right thing to do!

  • Hi all

    Im 24 yo female from Jakarta, Indonesia. hmm through this I want to know your suggestions for my current situation.

    I like a japanese man who works in my company (as my company is a japan company so we has some japanese working there) and I knew him for 3 weeks. He is a very cool, quiet and shy. Ive played badminton once with him and others and the last week we met on my company event and talked a bit. He honestly said he is a shy guy and not asking me much but in the other hand i asked him many questions in order to break the ice. I asked him about how he spent his weekend and about his course in learning Bahasa. :) but if we met in the office he always alwasy very cold.. Some of rumours he had a bad past relationship :(
    And tomorrow will be his bday and ive bought him a small present made from leather (as i knew most of japanese men love leather :p) but until now im confused wether to give it or not to him.
    Im affraid that it will be such a turn off for him and he think im an aggresive woman :(

    Can you guys give some suggestsions or point of view on how to give it to him?
    I really want to be friends at first with him and want to know him more.

    Thank you all and have a nice Sunday :)

  • Hi,

    let me give you some feedback as a happily married Swiss woman with a Japanese hubby. Don’t worry too much about all the cultural aspects! First of all respect each other that you are different and will be always different due to upbringing. As long as you have similar morals and ethical standards, plus you appreciate each others personality, the cultural background does not matter all that much.
    You have to love the person for their personality and not for their race ;)

    Good luck,

    Sibylle

    P.S. I wrote a book for Japanese guys interested in foreign women, but sadly it does not apply in this case.

  • Hello,

    this is my first time reading this article and it was a very interesting one and quite true. I think I could relate to some of it because currently I’m a 24 year old African-American woman living in America, who is in a long-distance relationship with a Japanese man who lives in Tokyo, Japan (near Ikebukuro from what he’s told me.). We had met each other online through a website called blackwomenasianmenunited. We had exchanged messages a lot through that website, then all of a sudden he wanted me to chat with him on yahoo.com and add him as a friend (which I did). We started chatting from there and since then, that’s pretty much our main social place to chat. I didn’t ask him out (quite the other way around). He was actually the first to ask me out, saying how much he wanted to date black girls (He had went to America for 3 weeks through a cultural exchange program in California when he was 14, he’s now 23..which makes me a year older than him *blushes*), and that I was cute and if I liked Japanese men (which I do ^_^). He basically asked me out and I accepted it (I had broken up with an old flame during that time and wanted to try something new…plus I always had a thing for Japanese men and even had an instinct feeling in high school when I was 15 that I would end up going out with a Japanese man.

    So now we are dating long-distance and so far it’s been 2 years (we did have a few problems, mainly due to being so far away from each other), but we’re managing and we plan to get married to each other and start a family. I had wanted to move down there to Japan and live with him, but I realized I would be too homesick for my country…plus I’m not exactly fluent in Japanese (though I am practicing). But I’m not too worried, cause my boyfriend rather wants to move up here to America and live here permanently (He even wants to go to a university up here and study philosophy.). He is basically a sweetheart, who likes to cook (and also loves eating American foods to where he wants me to make American foods for him when he moves to America), is willing to give me massages whenever I’m in pain, and wants to learn and study American cultures (but in exchange he wants to help me learn Japanese cultures).

    I haven’t met his parents, since his mom is hardly around him and his dad had recently passed away due to cancer (which he is trying to cope with). But from what he’s told me, his parents are very accepting of him dating outside his race (his words). He told me he would still want to be with me regardless of what people think….and that he wants me *smiles*.

    So far my relationship with him has been really good. We talk to each other a lot online, he had given me his phone number and invited me to come down there to Japan and visit him (I just need to save lots of money as my finances are kinda tight T_T), he plans to marry me and live in America, and he wants to study at a university in America and study American culture. And he wants to meet my family (but I’m kinda scared though, cause I warned him about my family …mainly the women in my side of the family being very dominant to where they are like Amazon women…but he told me he doesn’t mind…as long as he can be with me…he’s so sweet.)

    He loves to watch anime whenever he’s not busy (His favorite being Neon Genesis Evangelion), and loves to read and he’s already studying at a university in Tokyo, trying to land him a job (as his money is kinda tight and he lives in a small apartment in Japan). We plan to marry in the future…however long it takes. That’s all I can say for now. More to come hopefully in the future.

    p.s. It’s kinda true about Japanese men not liking Japanese girls cause it’s the same for him, although he told me he couldn’t figure out why. Oh and that he likes nerdy girls and big breasted women, which the 2 of those features I have. He also seems to like plus size girls too as I’m on the plus side and he’s often telling me how cute and sexy I am *blushes*. I guess I really am lucky (but yet again same with him as I’m his first real long-distance girlfriend from another country lol).

    • Hi charmecia!
      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your lovely story with us! So cute indeed! ^____^
      How often do you get to see each other when you live so far away? :(
      I bet it’s really hard, but I hope you can live together soon, marry and be a happy couple despite the cultural differences. :D

      • Hi, my situation with a recent Japanese guy is hard cause he’s a 40 year old married guy. He has been living in my country to start up his business which supposed to be many years. After 2 months did I know the truth about his secret status. He confessed without a lie. I tried to hide my feeling for him. There has been a fight between mind and heart every day because it hurts my own value. Never do I hang out with a married man or man already with a girlfriend. Many married guys tried to approach me before. I hate it and never gave them a chance. Cheating is what I hate in any kind relationship.
        But this time I failed. My mind totally failed in the fight. So I put the rule for myself if I want to be with him: 1. No expectation, 2. Any date we meet can be a last day so I enjoy every single moment with him, 3. Love him by heart but not all of it to save for myself, 4. Keep my relationship secretly from family and friends.
        How terrible I feel! He’s like other married guys: not in love with wife but do not get divorced, seek for comfort beside me. I learn more about what I used to hate, how it feels…Maybe after this relationship end, I have experiences to help others and get sympathize with other women get the same case.

  • :shiawase: Hello I’m Haru, 29 yrs old, well I’ve been dating a Japanese boy by 4 years already, we have a long distance relationship, I am from Puerto Rico, we see about a month every year, my boy is younger than me, i thought Japanese men were shy and quiet but well mine is really open minded, so maybe it depends on the family, his family is very traditional but he is really different well about this:

    **Japanese men are often very shy, so you should be proactive -> he isn’t shy at all….
    **There might be no physical contact in front of others ( in Japan) –> he loves physical contact like hugs and tickles, but when we were in Japan he even hold my hand…
    **There might be fights over household responsibilities-> usually we have trouble but because misunderstandings…
    **Even if you speak each other’s mother tongue there might be communication issues-> true his english is pretty good but well we have troubles…just sometimes…
    **Overtime and long working hours could become a problem in a relationship-> true he wants a work with a lot of free time so when we marry we can spend time together
    **Be open-minded and ready to compromise-> true usually if his family is serious the man is also like that, so they are so scared about to cheat or leave the couple, so they like compromises…
    **The other part is just like nomal relationship, you only need to love the person to be with, and everything will work out so good luck all ^.^

    **** ;P remember to learn Japanese so you can communicate with his family…

  • Hey guys,

    I have just met a jap guy. The guy was nice, but he is kinda shy. Once in a while he stared at me on the 1st meeting ( pretend I did not notice). After talked for several hours he came to my place, and we did something a bit naughty. When he went home he txted me and said something nice. I txt him on the next day he replied even though he is slow probably he was busy on work.
    I was wondering what should I do? He seems like me too but kinda slow to communicate and what do you think I should do?

    I txt him and he hasn’t replied me too :3

    Thanks

    • It’s very interesting that a lot of women seem to have this “lack of communication” issue with their Japanese partners.
      I’m really not sure what I would do other than trying to be patient? :)

  • My Japanese boyfriends mother gave me a list of things I need to do… Allow me to tell you a few:
    – We will not allow marriage at this time.
    – No babies.
    – Graduate college and get a real job.
    – (Told me how to do/participate in their religion)
    – Always be grateful.
    – Learn Japanese culture

    The list goes on and on. Some of these points are valid and logical and others are just not and frankly none of their business. My relationship is just very strange in general… With everything. To be honest, I don’t really have any language issues even though neither of us can speak the others language really… I don’t know why that is, but, like I said… Strange.

    • I agree. Partly it sounds like something a non-Japanese mother would probably suggest as well.
      I think as long as you are happy in your relationship, everything else doesn’t matter! :D

  • Does what you write hold true for same sex relationships also?

    I have went on a few dates with a guy and have absolutely fallen for him. He is just generally hard to read. In messaging he seems to respond politely but rather uninterested, also is rather selective in what he responds to. I have stopped chatting with him once only to have him message me again several weeks later.

    What are the general signs a guy is not interested?

    • I’m not an expert, but there are a few readers here who have had same sex relationships in Japan, so I hope they are willing to answer.

      It seems like Japanese guys generally have a “communication issue”. So many people complain that they’re not texting / calling very often and interpret it as a lack of interest, but I wonder if it has to do with their working schedule (especially in big cities). Japan HAS crazy working hours and is overworking its people. :/

  • Hi! I find your blog interesting. I learned some info about Japanese guy. However, I still couldn’t find the answer that I’m looking for based on my situation.
    before I tell you about my situation, please be warned that this will be very very long, and this may sound like a confession. I just don’t know who to ask. I happened to drop by your blog so i’m hoping you could help me with this. Thank you in advance.

    I have a Japanese guy friend whom I have met through Skype because of my job as an ESL instructor.
    At first, I had always kept in mind that the kind of relationship I have with this student is only that between a student and a teacher.
    However, after few classes with him, he insisted me to call him brother. So I did. And, I assumed that we have this “brother-sister” relationship.
    Let me also add, during one of our classes he said that I am one of his favorite teachers. I was touched upon hearing that, honestly.
    One time, during one of our classes, he added his other “sister” in our Skype call. I spoke with her as we have the same nationality. It was a bit of an awkward call because the first thing that the other “sister” said to “brother” was “Is she the one, brother?”. It made me really curious as to what she meant by that. According to her, “brother” has talked about me to her. But what made me even more curious and confused was when the other ‘sister’ told me “has brother courted you? He said that you make him happy.”
    Being new to this and trying to be as professional as possible, I said “we only have a student-teacher relationship.”
    ‘Brother’ on the other line was silent but later on said the same thing.
    It was an awkward situation but we continued our communication through Skype in the office.
    He would really take time to call me especially when I don’t have online classes. We could talk with each other until my night shift ends. We also exchanged “good nights” several times. I was touched by his action. Every time I talk with him, I always feel special and happy. I realized I felt something for him.

    I guess I drew the line when he asked for my facebook account and I gave it to him. And a few weeks after that, it was before Christmas, I added him on my personal Skype account.
    Why? Because I wanted to continue to communicate with him as I don’t plan to be an ESL Instructor for a long time. So, even at home, during weekends, we chat every once in a while.

    Last January, some of my colleagues who happened to be one of his favorite teachers warned me not to be carried away by his actions because according to them, he treats everyone equally. To be honest, I was hurt because I thought I was special to him, though I don’t have the right to be hurt.

    Then he started saying “I love you, sister” or “I love you” and recently he said “I always love you”. He has said those words about 8-10 times already. Yep, I counted them. :)
    The first time he said those words surprised me so I asked him if he was tired and drunk, but he said he wasn’t. Still, I reminded myself of the warning from my colleagues. So I thought of it as “brother-saying-ILoveYou-to-his-sister”.
    My reply? I replied “me too” to him the 2nd time he said ‘i love you’. He excitedly said he wanted to meet me. By the way, even before the ‘I love yous’ and facebook and personal skype friend request, he had told me that he wanted to meet me personally. He has also mentioned to me about buying a plane ticket for me to go to Japan. (of course, whether he was serious or not, I refused his offer.)
    Going back to my replies to his I love yous, I just ignored them before, but since i already resigned from the job, I reply thank yous and me toos to him. :)

    We still continue to communicate, however, because i don’t have good internet connection at home, it’s been a month since the last time I talked with him through Skype. He isn’t totally shy about his feelings because he would really say he misses me. I also miss him. :(

    Now I’m working on getting a good internet provider so that I could talk with him again. (is it a good idea?)

    I know my message is really looooong, but I hope you did read it till this part because I really wanted to be clarified about what’s with all this “i love you”, “I love you, sister”, “I miss you”, “I wanna hug you”, “Please help me end my pains, sister”, “Please share me your smile.”,and “i like your smile. you are always smiling sister”. He’s really making me confused.

    Hoping for your reply.
    Thank you so much.

    • To be completely honest, I would be totally freaked out by that guy and cut off conversations with him.
      It’s super easy to do fo your as you don’t even live in Japan.
      At first I thought your story is very weird as English teachers here in Japan are usually (by contract) not allowed to have contact to their students outside of lessons.
      But way down in your comment, you said you don’t live in Japan, so it all makes sense now.

      Of course, you know this guy much better than any of us, so you can probably judge things better.
      If you feel comfortable, continue your conversation with him. I think nothing much can happen to you when talking to him online, but I would be careful before I’d go and meet him.

      Good luck to you! :)

  • I’m kinda young for looking at dating advice, but I already have a future with a Japanese man planned out. I am picturing moving over to Japan. This article really helped me a lot, THANKS SO MUCH! I can’t wait to get married to my dream guy someday…
    Another setback for me is cultural differences. I am actually Chinese (mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, grandmother, grandfather, etc. are all Chinese), and my family isn’t too enthusiastic about me marrying a Japanese guy. My mom especially. She’s always telling me about how the Japanese people are our enemies, and all that nonsense. I can marry who I want to, right? I don’t really care anyway, because what can they do to stop me? Just wanted to share personal feeling and kind of let things out.

    • Akuhei,
      I’m glad you found this blog post helpful in some way.
      I find it horrible if people choose or reject their partner based on nationality. I think if you truly like someone, nationality shouldn’t matter.
      If you find Japanese guys attractive, if they’re your type, then I hope you can find a guy who you can truly fall in love with.
      While I understand that there are hard feelings between China and Japan, I think what you’re family is doing is wrong.
      I hope they will accept whoever you’ll end up with so that you can be in a happy realationship! :D

  • hi:-) I really liked this article a lot :-) I’m a japanese guy who was born in japan but raised in the states.I am old school.I am shy and I have an indirect nature. I have trouble expressing my feelings in general.I do not mind holding hands or giving/receiving hugs. If I haven’t seen anyone in a long time,I will give them a hug.Generally with the ladies not so much with guys.I am friends with a caucasian woman. I know what she looks like so no problem there :-) But I haven’t met her yet.I sent her a link about what to expect from japanese men.I do not know her dating history. I hope the link I sent to her was helpful. So when I meet her in the near future, I hope everything goes smoothly. Wish me luck :-)

    • Good luck, kou! I’m sure everything will go smoothly.
      I have a question, though. Would you consider yourself to be like a typical Japanese man although you were raised in the states?
      I hope you’ll be back to tell us how things turned out in the end. :D

  • Hi! I’m russian, 22 years. Living in Japan for a year
    I was in a relationship with 2 guys.
    Theuy both spoke english well, were living abroad. I speak japanese too, so no problems. They were not shy at all, we kissed at streets, hold hands, it was not a problem too.
    But we broke up. It’s hard to say why. With first guy i really was in love, and maybe still is, but he just doesn’t like me that much. He offered me free relationship, so he can date other girls. It’s not for me. And he also very very busy, he sometimes stay to sleep at the office, so we could not see each other for weeks. It was not enough attention for me.
    The secod guy, we had several dates, but i return home for 2 months, so we just send massages. During this time everything was too good. He send massages every day,several times day, but it was too strange. Cause he wrote me “We are perfect match, we can go Seattle to our honey moon, i prayed good to give u to me” and so on. for me it was strange, cause we met only 3 times, how he could understand? And when i came back to Japan we began to date more often and after coule of weeks i realised that i don’t feel nothing to him. No chemistry. And actually he realised it too. We didn’t match emotionay, physicaly, i didn’t want to hold his hand. so we broke up, but i still do not inderstand what for he told me all this things like I’m the one for him. U need check at firdst.
    So now I’m free, but actually i’m really afraid to stay single forever. At first because I still have feelings to my first boyfriend. And second, I just don’t belive in love any,ore. Several bed relationships in russia, and now more two in japan. I wonder if there are guys who want marriage, and children, and meet my parents? I want normal guy who will just love me. So now i’m a bit depressed after all

    • Don’t feel frustrated. I’m sure there is the right guy out somewhere. It doesn’t have to be a Japanese guy, right? After all you’re not planning to stay in Japan forever, do you?
      I’m sorry to hear you went to so many bad relationships, but that’s what many people struggle with. It’s extremely difficult to find the right partner, even more here in Japan and for us foreigners.
      Don’t give up! :D

  • Hello~!

    Thank you for this article, it was very interesting to have the point of view of foreign women dating Japanese men. As I like one of them, I’ve always wondered how these girls managed to go out with them. Well, according to this article, it seems you have to confess to them since they are pretty shy and do not have much confidence in themselves (which I lack too).
    I’d like to share my situation with you to see if you have any opinion on the subject.

    I’m currently studying Japanese at uni and last year, I became an exchange student for one year in Osaka university. There, for one semester, as exchange students, we could have a Japanese tutor to help us dealing with Japanese daily life, homeworks, etc…
    My tutor for the second semester was a guy and I ended liking him a lot and wanting to date him. We get along very well, we have the same hobbies and passion. We really had a great time when we met for the tutorship. Wanting to go a bit further in the relationship, I tried to suggest that we could meet outside our tutorship hours but either I wasn’t clear enough and he did not get it, or he wasn’t interested and thus pretented not to understand.
    I ending coming back to France without being able to do anything. However, since I left Japan, we kept in touch. We regularly send messages to each other, talking about our lifes and stuffs, just like when we were meeting in Japan. Sometimes, we have deep conversations about our feelings and once, he was quite down so I tried to confort him. What I mean is that we do not just chitchat.
    For Valentine’s day, I did it the Japanese way, making homemade heart-shape chocolates and sending them to him. He thanked me a lot. For the White day, he sent me something back, temari made by his grandmother. I’ve always wondered if these temari could have a hidden meaning. Also, sending heart-shape chocolates to a guy would be like a confession, wouldn’t it? I am quite afraid he thought these were just giri-choco. But at the same time, would he send me something back then? I mean, usually, when the guy doesn’t like the girl he received chocolates from, he doesn’t give something back, does he? Especially something made by his grandmother. He could have just bought me candies, right? All these things make me really wonder about his feelings.
    Reading the interviews made me think I should confess to him. However, the situation is quite complicated because in March he became an exchange student in Peru for one year. Still, we keep sending messages to each other. When I mention working in Japan after I finish my studies, he is always very enthusiastic about it.
    But he is a bit younger than me (I’m 25, he’s 22) and I’ve always wondered if both my age and the fact that I’m not Japanese could bother him.
    What do you? Do Japanese guys date older women?

    Thanks for reading~

    • Hello Pauline! :)

      Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.
      It’s very complicated indeed, because you don’t live in the same country and don’t see each other face-to-face anymore. This is already complicated enough, but him being Japanese and you being French might make things even more complicated.

      As far as I know there is no special meaning to temari. If he thought it was giri-choco, then he would still send you something on White Day. It doesn’t matter if it’s giri-choco or not, people usually give you something in return. Maybe he already thinks you are a couple but because nobody ever openly says it, it’s not clear to you yet.
      I’d say you should confess to him as this situation is clearly driving you crazy. Things won’t change unless you confess.
      The only problem I see is that even if you confess and he says he loves you, you don’t live in the same country! Have you thought about a possible future together?
      Either you need to move to Japan or he needs to move to Europe, right?

      P.S.: I don’t think that age matters that much.

      Good luck to you! :)

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