Life in Japan

4 Common Problems when Dating Japanese Men

Hi, I’m Nobita, a native Japanese working as a Japanese teacher in Japan. problems when dating Japanese men
My YouTube channel, “Find Your Love in Japan” is mainly about dating in Japan.

I’m making YouTube videos because I noticed a lot of foreigners are very skeptical when it comes to dating in Japan.
It makes me sad that some think it’s impossible and give up before even trying, especially foreign women.

Well, yes, there seem to be more couples consisting of a foreign man and a Japanese woman than the other way round.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that you can find a Japanese partner regardless of gender, nationality or race and that’s why I’m making videos to encourage foreigners in Japan.


YouTube Interview: Common Problems When Dating Japanese Men

Over the past few months, I’ve interviewed various foreign women who’ve actually dated Japanese men.
During the interviews several common problems when dating Japanese men were mentioned, so let’s have a closer look at them.



1. Japanese Men Don’t Make The First Move

In Western culture it’s quite common that the man is the one approaching the woman.
In Japan, however, this is rarely the case.
That’s simply because a lot of Japanese men are quite shy, even more so with foreign girls.

I’d say it’s not a problem if you’re shy as a Japanese woman.
Most foreign men are willing to make the first move to approach a Japanese girl.
That’s probably one reason why you’ll find more couples where the man is foreign and the woman is Japanese.

In my opinion, it’s necessary that foreign women become more pro-active. They should be the ones to take the initiative.
This might be scary at first, especially if you’ve grown up in an environment where it was ok to play the “shy girl”. But just because a Japanese guy isn’t approaching you actively, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not interested.

Please don’t stick to the old-fashioned idea that men should always make the first move.
If you like a Japanese guy, you should at least give him an obvious hint (e.g. body contact, strong eye contact, a smile).
And hopefully, he’s going to notice your feelings and ask you out if he’s also interested in you.


2. Japanese Men Don’t Show Their True Feelings or Intentions

This is the most common complaint I hear from foreign women when they’re dating a Japanese man.
In many Western countries, the majority of men show their affection directly through words and action (hugging, kissing) – even in public.

In comparison, most Japanese men are too shy and reversed to do that.
Even in a romantic situation where it’s just the two of you, he might not show his affection clearly enough for you to notice / understand.

The majority of Japanese men admit that they’re never saying the “3 little words” (I love you).
They hardly ever give compliments such as “You look so beautiful today.”

As a woman, if you never get to hear such words, it makes you feel insecure and unloved.

You’ll keep asking yourself : “Does this guy really like me?”

problems when dating Japanese men

Many Western men are quite outgoing and communicative, while many Japanese men don’t talk much in general, let alone in a relationship.
If you’re a girl who doesn’t talk much either, chances are the conversation gets very awkward or stressful, even if you speak Japanese fluently.

As you might know, Japanese people are very sensitive about how they’re judged by others (the so-called fear of “losing face”). That’s probably one reason why we’re careful how and what we convey.

I get it! It’s hard to tell whether a Japanese guy is interested in you or not.
So, I want you to pay very close attention to their body language.
It might be difficult to notice at first, but we definitely show some sort of interest or subtle emotion.

In our culture, we heavily rely on non-verbal communication.
Thus it’s tremendously important to focus on non-verbal subtle signs, like shy eye contact or by behaving a bit awkward.

Japanese language itself is quite a subtle language.
We use nuanced words, tone of voice and other subtle clues that communicate feelings all the time.

By immersing yourself in the Japanese culture and talking to as many Japanese people as possible, you’ll surely get used to it at some point.


3. Japanese Men Are Always Working Too Much

Growing up in Japan, I thought it’s completely normal to work all day long with lots of overtime.

What makes me sad is that it’s not because we’re workaholics or passionate about our jobs, but because work in Japan is extremely inefficient.
Meetings are too long, too frequent and energy is being wasted on redundant, often unnecessary tasks.
If it weren’t for those things, we could actually go home much earlier!

As a Japanese man you’re being raised to be the breadwinner, supporting your family. And as such it’s normal to work hard.
While this traditional thinking is slowly changing, it’s still very present.

Quite a few Western women I interviewed complained that their Japanese boyfriend has never time because of work. One of my American friends even said: “I can’t get married to a Japanese man, because he’s already married to his job!”

It’s actually quite stressful to work in Japan, because many companies literally force the employees to invest their whole life. If you’re truly passionate about the job, it might not be a problem. But I think most Japanese men aren’t passionate about their job.

An employee needs to sustain a good relationship with his boss in order to get a promotion in the future. There’s no way he could reject an invitation by his superior to join a drinking party after work. You have to go – even if that means you have to cancel the plans you had with your (foreign) girlfriend or never seeing your kids …


problems when dating Japanese men

4. Japanese Men’s Expectation of the “Perfect Housewife”

Obviously, not everyone has this kind of expectation in Japan.
In fact, an increasing number of Japanese men are willing to take an active part in raising children and doing chores.

Women are more and more focusing on their own careers.
Furthermore the general family income in Japan is getting lower, so women often also have to work.

However, the traditional idea of the “housewife” is still very strong in Japan, especially among the older generation. In their opinion, a woman should stop working once she gets married so that she can focus on being a full-time housewife.

This idea becomes obvious in many social settings in Japan. Just one example are traditional companies where women are supposed to serve tea and do chores for their male co-workers.

According to the foreign women I’ve interviewed, this is a very unattractive expectation.
In many Western countries, gender equality is highly valued.
In Japan, on the other hand, there are still clear “social (gender) rules”.

Although this is slowly changing, a lot of Japanese men prefer a woman who is reserved, modest, can cook well and is very dedicated to them.

Even though this stereotype is not entirely true, a lot of foreign women seem to be afraid and thus choose not to date a Japanese man.
It’s frustrating, because there are many Japanese men who don’t share this traditional idea of the “housewife”.


Are There Only Problems When Dating Japanese Men?

Maybe this article is discouraging you to date Japanese men.
But I want you to keep in mind that there are so many good things about dating Japanese men!
Some girls I interviewed even stated they prefer dating a Japanese man.

It’s true. Japanese men are quite different from Western ones – in many aspects.
And that’s why you might get confused and frustrated at first.

However, Japanese men who’re willing to date non-Japanese women tend to be “less Japanese” and much more open-minded.
Maybe some of the above mentioned common problems don’t completely apply to them.

You might find out that Japanese men are actually the right match for you.
I encourage you to give it a try!


Today’s Guest Blogger:
problems when dating Japanese men
Today’s guest post was brought to you by Nobita.
If you want to know more about dating Japanese men, I highly recommend to check out Nobita’s YouTube channel, Find Your Love in Japan.


This is a guest post and any information and opinion is provided by Nobita. Therefore Zooming Japan doesn’t take any responsibility for the content.


  • To be fair, both American men and women are working too much; however, that is not entirely their fault since corporations demand that their workers be available 24 hours a day and report to work on a moment’s notice.

    • I wasn’t aware that the working situation in the US is that bad?
      I thought you guys have quite nice working conditions, but maybe what I heard is not true at all?

    • I am European and now that I live in America I can tell how the working conditions are terrible. I work over 10hours of unpaid over time every week, of course have to handle calls even when I am at home, I only get 5 days of vacation a year and I get about 4 national holidays a year I believe, so yeah, you are totally right Gunther

  • Used to have nice working conditions until Ronald Reagan got into office and when he fired the air controllers, he sent a signal to the American business leaders that they have free rein over the workers and the federal government wasn’t going to stop them. In addition, Reagan and Bush, Jr., allow good paying American manufacturing jobs to be sent overseas plus allowing companies to bring in foreign workers to replace American workers.

  • Reading this really helped me!
    I live in the US and am currently dating a Japanese guy who lives in Nagoya! I have been growing increasingly frustrated everyday because of some of these issues. Especially since we can go for a whole day without talking much. I am a very patient person so I have haven’t been very vocal about how I have been feeling so reading this really helped me calm down. I definitely don’t want to become someone who nags about why he hasn’t messaged me or why I’m not his priority in life so thank you so much for posting this!
    I definitely see the cultural differences and I really want to make him happy!
    Thank you once again for sharing this! This was definitely the right time in my life to read and watch something like this!

    • Oh my god, I am also dating a Japanese guy who lives in Nagoya, and I am also in US currently. I am having exact same problems and it gets very frustrating. Were you able to overcome these problems?

  • hi!
    i’ve been dating this japanese guy for almost 2 months here in my country..
    he’s working here for the next 2 years. and we met 3 months after he arrived to my country.
    he asked me out and i accepted and we just hang out as friends the first 2 times. one day i invited him to party with my friends, he was poking my arm, staring at me from time to time and he also pinched my cheeks haha. somehow we ended up just the two of us for a period of time and he hugged me and then he kissed me.
    i was super embarrassed but we drank alcohol so i think that’s why he wasn’t so shy at that moment.
    a couple of weeks ago he said that he really likes me a lot, and i replied “i like you too”
    does this mean a confession? or what?
    i think this sort-of relationship started backwards and i think it is because we are not in japan. he also said once or twice that he thinks i’m beautiful, that i have nice skin and hair and body haha.
    i’m really into this guy but i’m afraid to ask him “hey are we a couple or what?”
    also he barely text me back, and i only see him once a week because as a good japanese guy he’s workaholic. it makes me sad to be the proactive one all the time.

    is this guy serious with me or just having a fun time while he’s working abroad?

  • Hi,

    I would like to ask your advice. I am dating a japanese guy and I am Indonesian. he is super sweet at the first and directly confess and saying soooo many I love you from the second meeting and we directly in relationship. from 3 weeks we texted everyday, and so caring and sweet but we just reach one month last Sunday but he canceled our meeting and said he has to make report after the field inspection (he is an architect). then last night I only received message “sorry I couldn’t text u” then until now he didn’t even bother to read and reply my message.. usually he still make time at lunch or morning to text me.. I don’t understand what happen at all… the 3 week we are still ok and he still stay over at my place. so what’s going on??? please help me.. I didn’t asked why he is now change and why he is now rarely text me for this last 5 days.. oh, one day he went awol and in the morning, he lies that he left his phone at home the whole day (I saw him online right before I texted him). please help me to understand.. thank u so much..

    • hi Selene, i’m Indonesian too.i ever met a japanese man like your boyfriend and our experience almost same.but now he’s gone for good.i don’t know what did i do that he leaves me -_-

      but now i get a better man,he’s a Japanese too.
      i hope your relationship will getting better!

  • Hi
    I’m jane and Im a filipina 25 years old i been dating a japanese man for almost 4months he is 27years old at first we’re just friend and then he texted me that he loves me and he want to marry me someday and I said tell that to my parents and he said I’m sad you can’t decide of your own, I admit I like him so I decide to say okay.
    Everyday he tells me he loves me even we go out.
    I broke up with him 6times but he always said NO.Why?
    Because he is always working hard,
    Late reply, he can’t call me on phone or even Skype when he go back to japan.we’re just chatting only even he is here in Philippines.
    Is that so hard for them to call or video call? And now he is not chat with me because he has a big problem of his company and he said he is so depressed.

  • I just moved to a little town in Japan and I speak very little Japanese . I joined a gym and like this Japanese co worker and we always say hi. He is my age and single. I’m too shy (which generally I’m not) and embarrassed to speak because my Japanese is horrible. It’s awkward sometimes because there is a chance to talle but I can’t . This post kind of gave me some hope but I maybe I’m just not his type lol .

  • Thanks for your ‘reasons not to move to Japan’ videos on YouTube, Nobita. How brave you are, to not whitewash problems. I’ve been here many years, and do like Japan. However, on SOME days I can’t stand the narrowmindedness of some people.

    Even in my own country (you lived there), we can meet jerks sometimes, so (as your grandmother said), find the good things.

    Anyway, thanks for such a balanced view. I get exhausted when anyone, from any country, starts talking about his/her ”’perfect”’ country. So, it’s nice to hear you saying that Jpns. people should engage more in govt. & society improvement.

    Kudos, brother,

    Tony D., Kanto area

  • I found this site while wondering if Japanese men really had the issues they do in anime, and apparently they do? lol Wow. Well, as a western man I find I can barely even watch Japanese fiction where the main character is male because they treat the women terribly. I really like how Japanese women are portrayed in movies and such, and it seems like they deserve to be given way more affection, verbal and otherwise, and that they get verbally bossed around and the men get grumpy with them to serve their own fragile ego’s or ‘save face’ to a nauseating degree. I will never think that isn’t a weakness. Honestly it makes me wish I lived in Japan, I’m interested to see how a lady there would react to my more outgoing, warm nature. I’m not perfect, but I also don’t take out my own shortcomings on the lady I love.

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