Have you ever wondered how dating works in Japan?
Have you ever wondered what the romantic confessions in manga and anime are all about? Those aren’t just plotting tools. It’s known as a kokuhaku (confession), and it’s a popular technique to ask someone to start dating exclusively. In fact, until one of them admits, many people won’t feel like they’re genuinely dating. It’s not the same as disclosing your amorous intentions when you ask someone out on a date. When you confess, you’re telling the person you want to date for the rest of your life. In their kokuhaku, some adults may even be open about the possibility of marriage. It removes all of the guesswork from dating.
Let’s look at some aspects of dating a Japanese.
Your Confession is Essential
In the same way, as other nations do, there comes a time in dating when one of you will approach the other and ‘ask them out.’ This is referred to as a “confession.”
This is in sharp contrast to other countries, where, in most circumstances, a common understanding is established without the necessity for it to be expressed aloud.
Because many people in Japan meet for lunch or tea with friends, this is quite significant. If you don’t make your goals obvious, the other person might think you’re just buddies.
Valentine’s Day and White Day
Valentine’s Day is well-known in Western society as the day when boyfriends and spouses rush to the supermarket at the last minute to pick up a card and flowers for their lovers.
Women in Japan are the ones who prepare the offering for their partners. It is customary for ladies to make a chocolate present for their favorite partner. This is followed by ‘White Day,’ which occurs a month later on March 14th, during which the men offer the ladies a gift in exchange.
While Valentine’s Day is traditionally associated with those who are dating, married, or otherwise in a romantic relationship, in recent years it has also been used to honor those special people in your life regardless of relationship status.
In Western culture, Galentine’s Day is observed, however in Japan, two types of celebrations are observed: ‘tomo-choco’ and ‘giri-choco.’ These are “friend chocolate” and “obligation chocolate,” in which ladies present a special chocolate treat to their friends or boss.
Public Display of Affection is Embarrassing
PDA (public displays of affection) is a term that refers to public demonstrations of affection. Would you do that at home without hesitation? PDA is regarded as a massive no-no in Japan, where the social customs are radically different.
This is due to two factors: privacy and the need to accommodate others. Japanese people give very much importance to privacy, and so participating in something as public as PDA could detract from the personal connection that dating provides.
Another reason is that PDA is supposed to make other people uncomfortable — something I believe we can all relate to. As a result, PDA is quite unusual in Japan and is something you should probably avoid.
Dating in Japan is very different from dating in the West, especially when it comes to dining etiquette.
This may be the one part of dating in Japan that will trip you up, so familiarise yourself with the etiquette and customs to avoid any dating blunders.
While many parallels have been drawn from the Western world, it’s important to recognize the significant contrasts between dating in the West and dating in Japan.
One of the most significant distinctions is that dating in Japan entails dividing the bill. Of course, this varies by generation and isn’t a set requirement, but younger couples see it as a method to maintain fairness and equality.
While tipping is considered kind and nice in Western culture, it is the polar opposite when dating in Japan. Tipping is not only unusual in Japan, but it is also considered unpleasant and insulting.
Rather than leaving money for the waiter or waitress, the majority of restaurants demand customers to pay at the front desk.
Japanese people usually (but not always) dine at low dining tables, which require you to sit or kneel according to traditional decorum. If this is the case, you will be given a cushion to sit on on a tatami floor, which is effectively a mat.
Males and women must both kneel on official occasions, whereas men sit cross-legged and women sit with both legs to one side in casual situations such as dating.
The Japanese are known for being very serious about their work; they don’t check their phones during work hours, let alone wait for messages or respond right away. Furthermore, they do not read or respond to messages when they notice one to show respect at after-work social gatherings.
In contrast to Western couples, Japanese people cherish personal space and do not frequently engage in phone or video chats. Furthermore, their culture is profoundly ingrained in the dread of upsetting others, and they would rather not share every aspect of their daily lives. Even in an emergency, they text their other half first to ensure that they are available to pick up the phone, and they rarely call without notice.
For many non-Japanese, this is equivalent to going MIA; but, for Japanese, maintaining a comfortable distance is the way to go when it comes to a long-term relationship.
Not Speaking Straight or Reading the Air
In Japanese dating, there is a concept called Kukki o Yomu, which means “reading the air” and signifies “understanding a situation without words.”
Japan’s culture and customs differ significantly from those of other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, where it is encouraged to express oneself. Japan is a country that prefers to speak in hushed tones; many things are better left unsaid, or the approach would be different.
When it comes to dating as a foreigner, it’s crucial to read between the lines.’ One of the first stages to ensuring a successful date is to be conscious of your date’s feelings.
Love is important but not more than Privacy
Japanese people are known to take their privacy very seriously. They will not tell their partners their phone’s passcode, and no one is expected to report or inquire about their location. Before getting married, many couples have no idea how much money their other half earns!
We came to the following conclusion after speaking with locals: they are not used to sharing, thus there is no need to tell. While some people are eager to share their hearts with their partners, the bulk of Japanese people are more concerned with their privacy. Just keep in mind that the essentials to maintaining a relationship are always respect and trust, and nationality is irrelevant in the end.
Dating goes with the thought of Marriage
Marriage may be a topic to be held a long time down the road in Western culture – perhaps a few years. Marriage is always on people’s minds in Japanese dating culture.
Although this is mostly written from the perspective of a Japanese woman, marriage is ingrained in the natural course of relationships in Japan.
When they reach their mid-twenties, Japanese individuals are extremely concerned about marriage. This is the era when dating is more about finding “the one” than just dating for the sake of dating.
While moving in together is considered a vital step BEFORE getting married in Western culture, it is the polar opposite in Japan.
“Semi-cohabitation” has become increasingly common in recent years. This is a medium ground in which those dating will spend half of their time or weekends at their partners’ houses, as the name implies.
When you decide to take the plunge and meet the parents while dating in Japan, it usually means marriage.
This isn’t always the case; some families are simply close and have that kind of relationship, while others will only introduce themselves when marriage is imminent.
Now let’s talk about how dating a Japanese person is different for men and women.
Different dating experiences for foreign men and women
If you’ve ever visited Japan, you’ve probably observed a large number of Western males going hand-in-hand with Japanese ladies. At the same time, there are only a few international (typically non-Asian) women who are accompanied by Japanese males. Perhaps it’s a mystery we’ll never fully comprehend, but there are numerous hypotheses.
Many Japanese women desire a man who expresses his affection for them on a daily basis. Japanese women believe that foreign males are like that for some reason! They aren’t frightened to express their emotions in public or to tell their girlfriends how they feel about them.
Having a foreign partner is, of course, “cool” and “exotic.” However, some people only use them as “accessories.”
It’s different for foreign women though. Japanese males appear to have specific expectations of women. Things they’re afraid a foreign woman would refuse to perform (for instance, staying at home being a mom or be a housewife).
Perhaps they believe that a foreign woman will want their man to open up about his feelings multiple times a day. Something a shy Japanese man will not do.
One more issue is that a lot of Japanese men appear to be afraid of their English skills. And are hesitant to approach a foreign woman.
On the other hand, most foreign guys have no qualms approaching a Japanese woman in English. Or even in bad Japanese.
Foreign Woman + Japanese Man:
It’s a very different story for foreign ladies in Japan.
The bulk of Western men are only interested in Japanese / Asian women because Japanese men are frequently shy or even scared.
In most circumstances, the woman speaks Japanese in the opposite constellation. Even if the Japanese man speaks her native tongue, she has learned Japanese well or makes a concerted effort to improve her Japanese abilities.
They know how to exist in Japan without the assistance of their Japanese partner, who is usually at work.
The man appears to understand that she wants to continue working after they marry. Because they’ve lived or studied abroad for a while. Most Japanese men who enter into a relationship with a foreign lady are more open-minded and have some experience with foreign culture. Even those who haven’t seem to acknowledge the existence of cultural distinctions. As a result, they do not expect the same from a Japanese woman.
I’m aware of only a few couples who enjoy a somewhat harmonious relationship. Of course, there are plenty of grounds for disagreements, but overall. They appear to do better than couples in which the man is a foreigner.
Foreign Man + Japanese Woman:
Finding a Japanese woman or having a pleasant relationship in Japan is quite simple for a foreign man.
When a man is from another country, he prefers to communicate in his original tongue. The foreign guys don’t / can’t speak Japanese, despite the fact that they reside in Japan and occasionally even have children who do.
Furthermore, they are unable to perform anything on their own the bulk of the time.
As a result, many foreign men in Japan don’t see the point in learning Japanese because their wives will take care of everything.
One major issue appears to be that in Japan, the guy makes the money, but the wife is responsible for it! The man is only given a meager stipend. If he wants to spend any of his hard-earned money, he must first get his wife’s approval! This system appears to be a challenge for many foreign men.
There’s a lot more to be said on this subject. All that needs to be kept in mind. Is that a man should not let the sudden attention from those gorgeous women get to his head.
And, at least in terms of romantic relationships, a foreign woman’s time in Japan can be extremely lonely at times.
In Japan, dating is a lot of fun. You may have challenges as a result of cultural differences, but the best things in life demand some effort. After a few months in Japan, you might wind up with some wonderful dating stories. A lively love life, a strong partnership. Or even an engagement ring provided you retain an open mind and an adventurous spirit.