Why now is the perfect time to date a Japanese man/woman!
The dating game has changed in Japan over the years!
- Slowly but surely, Japan is changing
Even though it is an early adopter of many technological advances and innovations, social change is often seen as slow or even non-existent in Japan.
Any foreigner who’s ever dated before in Japan can tell you about the difficulties they have experienced. Slowly but surely however, various changes in Japan’s society has made interracial dating in Japan much easier, and here we try to break it down in simple terms why now is the perfect time to date a Japanese man/ Japanese woman.
Of course, “dating” can mean various things in different cultures, and in this article, we focus mostly on those people who are considering staying in a long-term relationship with a man or woman, in Japan.
1 - Gender roles are not as prominent as before
The stereotypical image of a Japanese family with a male breadwinner and a female housewife has remained in Japan even as the rest of the world progressed into a (relatively) gender-equal society. In recent years however, certain things about gender roles have changed, and made it much more acceptable to foreigners. (Note: Some stereotype gender stereotypes still exist, such as described in our article about female categorization, and our article on Romantic gestures in Japan)
- Female Careers
Whilst they still have a long ways to go, many of Japan’s companies are actively trying to encourage women to have their own careers nowadays.
The length may depend from company to company, but many companies provide maternity leave to it’s (Full-time) employees.
More importantly however, is that due to labor shortages in Japan as well as other factors, they have also begun to implement flexible working patterns for after the offspring has been born.
Even though remote-work is still very much in a ‘testing phase’ here in Japan, and is still nowhere near widely adopted. On the other hand, alternatives such as Flexi-time have greatly increased in popularity amongst companies, with many allowing parents to drop off their kids at a daycare first before coming into work at a later time, and also leaving work earlier to pick up their kids.
It’s not perfect, but this is definitely a step in the right direction for foreigner females that want to live and raise a family in Japan in the future.
- Male Pocket Money
As you may have seen in Japanese dramas and anime, many married men in Japan are expected to relinquish full economic control of the household to the wife, and to live off the pocket money that the wife deems suitable. It was not uncommon for men to sometimes have to ask their wives for money for a ‘boy’s night out’. In extreme cases, men would even resort to making a hidden bank account as the primary recipient for their income, from which they would siphon off a portion for personal spending before redirecting it back to his official bank account.
With the increase in female empowerment and female careers however, many Japanese women no longer expect men to follow this system.
A more modern way of dealing with money in Japan, is for each spouse to deposit a set amount into a shared bank account, and deduct common living expenses from there, whilst any other other expenses are paid by the individual.
This new system prevents the emasculation of males, and can is expected to be much more agreeable to foreign men than before.
2 - Increased accessibility/ interest into the foreign and the unknown
There used to be a time when most Japanese were completely disinterested in the outside world, and were content with traveling exclusively within Japan’s borders.
- Easy Travel
Back then, it was not uncommon for people to not even own a passport, let alone set foot outside the country. With the rise of the internet however, there has been an increase in the availability of information regarding other countries, as well as various cost saving/ consumer friendly tools such as LCC’s, Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and Uber. This increased accessibility to the outside world has piqued the interest of the Japanese youth, and many are thirsty for even more contact with foreigners and foreign culture on a daily basis. (See our report on an international couple’s love life)
- Increased domestic exposure
This leads us to our next point, in that aside from having greater accessibility to the outside world, there have also been an increase of outlets within Japan, that allow you to interact with foreigners and foreign culture. (See our article for best ways to meet Japanese people in Japan)
New media such has Netflix and Amazon Prime video have successfully increased viewership of western TV shows online in Japan, creating countless followers of shows such as House of Cards, and even Game of thrones (Side note: I’ve heard that Sherlock is a bit too difficult for Japanese viewers).
Even more than online media however, is the rise of offline outlets, with International/ English Cafés, and English Conversation partners having become all the rage in recent years, and there have been quite a few foreigners that have managed to end up dating the Japanese woman/ Japanese man that they were partnered up with. Similarly, event-based gatherings have also increased in popularity, ranging from drinking parties at British-style Pubs, to monthly karaoke parties, all of which are designed to increase interactions between strangers of both international and domestic backgrounds. More importantly, the tone and nature of these events have become a lot more casual, evolving from university-style international exchanges which objectified foreigners as an exotic and rare sight, and allows you to have a more natural conversation with your Japanese participants.
3 - Upcoming Social change/ Major events
Whether or not Japan is an easy place to live in really depends on your personal level of acceptance to Japanese culture and mastery of the Japanese language. Whether you’ve met a woman overseas and plan to live with her in Japan, or if you’re going to Japan to (hopefully) meet a woman, there are certain barriers such as employment and visa’s that can stop you before you even get a chance at dating a woman in Japan. (See our article on alternative dating activities in Tokyo)
- Tokyo Olympics
As you all know, the 2020 Olympics are to be held in Tokyo, Japan. Japan has always been extremely passionate about sports in general, and this global event is sure to be the center of everyone’s attention in Japan. Whilst this is a time to cheer on Japanese athletes, this becomes an excellent opportunity for them to learn about other countries, as they are bombarded with trivia whilst watching the various matches. During this time, going to a pub or bar will pretty much guarantee you to be able to talk about sports and your country, and is an easy gateway into a fun conversation!
- Workforce Reinforcement
Infamous for its aging population, Japan is facing a major shortage of workers in its labor force. With low birth rates, and a saturated domestic market, many companies are looking to hire foreign workers not only to fill the manpower gaps left by a lack of employees, but also to help them expand beyond Japan. Ranstad... Daijob….Jellyfish…. These are just a few of the countless number of human resourcing agencies that have been specifically created to deal with the increased demand for foreign workers. To further help this along, Japan has even made changes to its immigration policy, to allow highly skilled workers to gain permanent residence in Japan after living there for a single year. Living in Japan has become a lot more Gaijin-friendly than before, and allows you to spend more of your focus on enjoying dating in Japan, rather than how to survive.
This article focuses a lot on the macro sociological changes that are predicted to occur or have already been seen in Japan. In other words, when it comes down to it, the most important thing is still your compatibility with your partner, and that varies from person to person. Furthermore, there are many issues that have yet to be tackled, such as the cultural differences in the workplace and the language barrier. With the current trends however, it is clear which direction Japan will be moving in, and it might be wise to take advantage of the current situation before Japan becomes saturated with foreign men/ women.
I actually....really like you *blushes* ... When do two people actually become ‘a thing’? When do you decide if you two are casually seeing each other, or if you are actually a steady couple? In some Western Cultures, this can sometimes be tricky, as this is normally decided with the first “I love you” or directly asking “Are we a couple now?”. This can be disastrous if you and the other party aren’t on the same page at the time, and can often lead to premature breakups. In Japan however, this is less of an issue, due to a culture known as ‘Kokuhaku’. ‘Kokuhaku’ means confession, and in this context, it refers to the confession of your feelings for another person. This is similar to what many people all over the world do in their childhood romances (at least that’s what it was like when I was a kid). Unlike in the rest of the world where people slowly progress from “I like you” to “Do you want to go hang out sometime?”, much of Japan retains this culture of confession. That isn’t to say that they can’t also casually start by inviting someone out for a drink, but even if you’ve been seeing each other for some time, most Japanese people wouldn’t consider the two of you as a couple until you’ve properly confessed your feelings to them.
How many of these weird Japanese fetishes did you know? ...