Japan-aholic

A blog about culture and love in Japan

“What Is It Like to Date a Japanese Man?”

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As weird as it sounds, I actually get the question “What is it like to date a Japanese/Asian man?” quite a lot. And I don’t really understand why.

I am a Canadian woman; my boyfriend Hitomi is a Japanese man. I was born in Quebec, which is a French province in Canada; he was born in the countryside of Chiba (Tokyo), where he speaks — obviously — Japanese. I am Caucasian and he is Asian, so by definition, that makes us an AMWF (Asian Male White Female) couple.

 

He is the first Asian man I ever dated, and I am the first foreigner (non-Japanese person) he has ever dated.

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Visiting Japan together!

“So, why did you chose to date a Japanese man?”

Let’s clarify something: I didn’t choose him because he is Japanese. I chose him because he is a loving, kind, patient and hardworking man. He could be Brazilian, Canadian or Russian, it wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t care at all about nationalities when it comes to love.

Now for the “What is it like to date a Japanese man” question, well, I don’t really know how to answer it, mainly because I don’t like generalizing an entire culture just based on the experience I have with one person. I also don’t like to reduce Hitomi to just his nationality; he’s so much more than that.

But since I’ve known Japan for some time now and am kind of accustomed to the culture, I can start to see some points of it that can play relationships.

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Warning: it’s hard to know if a certain aspect of a relationship is due to a person’s culture, or just their personnality — or probably both, but that’s philosophy here. I’ll try to talk with super duper broad general terms here, so if you’re a Japanese man and NOT like I’m going to describe, don’t get offended. I’m not pretending that Hitomi represents all the Japanese male population (plot twist: he probably doesn’t at all). I’m just describing some patterns I noticed while being in Japan and dating Hitomi for a year and a half.

1. Dating a Japanese man feels safe and stable.

That of course implies you’re in a serious relationship, and not just a fling.

With Hitomi, it’s stable in a way that he was always completely assuming his feelings for me. You often hear that Japanese people don’t tell their affection and don’t show it, but I realized it’s mostly not true. In Japan, it’s normal to do a 告白, or a (love) confession to the person by saying you love them before even kissing for the first time. Japanese don’t usually have that time lapse when nobody really knows if you’re a couple or not. Usually, they are either in a relationship, or they’re not.

It’s also normal to talk about marriage early in the relationship, and at a young age.

Also — although I think this is his personnality and not really his culture in itself — Hitomi never made me feel like he was going to leave me because I did something he didn’t like. I, myself, had many panic moments when I was afraid he would leave me, because I don’t take him for granted and honestly I’m just so, so awkward and weird, and I don’t understand how he still puts up with me.

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He even went to my hometown in Canada during the one-week holidays in August in Japan, despite being jetlagged of 13 hours. Don’t ask me why he’s taking my picture instead of the castle behind him, though!

But it’s so good to finally feel sure that when you argue about something or when there’s any kind of problem, you will actually work it out together without putting your relationship on the line of break up everytime.

This is something my previous boyfriends were never able to give me. It was more like “If it continues like this, I think we’ll have to break up”.

Did I have manipulative exes? Probably.

Is it a Japanese thing to make your significant other feel safe? I don’t know.

But I sure was used to the “drama”, and with Hitomi, there’s none.

2. It’s romantic

Again, I don’t know if this is a cultural thing or if that’s just Hitomi, but he’s much more prone to saying cute things to me than my previous boyfriends were. In Canada, guys are afraid to come off as “gay” if they say something too cute. Or they are afraid of seeming weak if they act too in love with their girlfriend. But in Japan, I feel like it’s actually good to be cute and as kind as possible with your girlfriend/boyfriend. They don’t seem to have that “gayness” fear, as masculinity is seen differently in Japan than it is in Canada.

[For more, check out my other post about it here]

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3. Sometimes, you might feel as if you’re significant other is not proud of you

Because he doesn’t speak about you to his entourage. At all.

In the Japanese culture, talking about your spouse is a really private thing, and private things don’t belong in conversations between coworkers, friends, and sometimes even family.

So, you might meet the friends of your lover, and realize they didn’t even knew about your existence. This is not necessarily because your lover is hiding you and keeping your relationship secret — it’s just normal in Japan to keep your mouth shut about such things.

4. They might spend a lot of time at work instead of with you

Although this is the typical stereotype about Japanese culture, there is some things to say about the fact that Japanese men work insane hours at their company.

They probably don’t do that because they like their career more than they love you; it’s just that Japanese men have been brought up to believe that a good husband is a man who brings enough money home to support his family. They might work their way up to the top in their company, not because they want it, but because they think it’s their duty as a husband and a father.

If money is not really important to you and you prefer having a lower income but spending quality time with your boyfriend, then you should have this discussion with him early in the relationship (before getting married). Your priorities, values and way of thinking might be very different on that point, so better know what to expect than be surprised later.

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I specifically told Hitomi that if he was going to make his way to the top just for the money, then it probably wouldn’t work out between us. If he loves his job, it’s not a problem. But I personally refuse to let him put all the pressure of the family’s financial situation on his shoulders alone. We will be two in this. And for me, the definition of a good husband is a man who takes care of his family with his presence and love, not only with the money he brings back. Hitomi was actually very relieved after we had that discussion, so don’t be afraid to talk about future issues that make you worry!

5. And finally, it’s fun! (This one can apply to any intercultural relationship, not just a Japanese one)

It’s a whole lot of fun, essentially because Hitomi just makes me laugh so much, but also because of the mingling of cultures. No time to get bored when you are regularly surprised by the reactions or thoughts of your significant other because that person is not from the same culture as you. I highly recommend (that sounds a bit weird) dating outside your culture, because it will allow your views to expand and you will learn how to meet halfway and make concessions, among many other awesome things.

This is a very short post about intercultural dating, but I hope I was able to answer some of your questions and fulfill your curiosity, and if not, don’t be afraid to ask questions in the comments section below!

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And be happy!

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Author: Jasmine

Jasmine is a 20-something years old French-Canadian student and part-time blogger who loves traveling, drawing, listening to (all kind of) music and eating (everything). To achieve one of her biggest dream, she went in Japan for two months and a half as a tourist in 2013. She was an exchange student at Daito Bunka University in Saitama (near Tokyo) during the year 2014 - 2015. She is now studying to eventually become a nurse back in Canada, so she lacks time to write about Japan. You can still read all her posts on her blog, since she'll let them there for you to enjoy :)

36 thoughts on ““What Is It Like to Date a Japanese Man?”

  1. Hi!
    I am a teenage Philippine girl and I have read your post above which seemed to be so interesting to me. Especially with my situation right now with a Japanese male friend in school.
    We have been chatting online but everytime I meet him in an occassion he doesn’t speak as much as I thought he would. Yet, he seems to be always wanting to sit beside me.
    Sometimes in the middle of our conversation online about the school projects and etc. He inserts a phrases or a sentence that is kinda sweet. I don’t know if it’s just me becuase I am a girl.

    There’s one time I was sharing a Jdrama song. And I think he thought that I am telling him something indirectly. After a few conversations. He added, “When you come to me, all the ice would melt and become warm”.

    I just wanted to hear someone else’ opinion and view on this. Because I don’t want to assume that he likes me or anything. Is he like this just because he is a friend and trying to be kind or he’s giving me hints about his feelings towards me?

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    • It’s been half a year.

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    • Before thinking about how he feels about you, you should think about how YOU feel about him. Do you consider him as more than just a friend? Would you like it to go a bit further than just friendship? If that’s the case, then nothing is stopping YOU from doing a bit of flirting with him, and see how he reacts 🙂 Men can be shy sometimes, so open up to him. I doubt he would give you tons of compliment if he was not interested in you, but I don’t know all your story either, so I can’t judge!

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      • Yes, I admire him because of his manners. But recently he tends to be aggressive when it comes to text messages. Like he related ‘personal things’ to the word ‘erotic’. It kinda creeps me out.

        Like when we were talking about head massages of Salons. You know Japanese people are not bald as much as other countries, right? So I asked him what was his grandparents’ secret to maintaining healthy hair. He replied:
        ‘I think their reply, helping ******(his name) is good for your hair!’
        Since I didn’t want to have intimate conversation because we are friends.
        My reply was:
        ‘You mean good karma?’

        He followed up with:
        Don’t take it seriously!! Okay maybe someday you’ll supposed to wash/massage my head haha’.
        I joked him ‘I will not massage your head but pull your hair!’.
        He answered: ‘omg So I need to get bald? Haha’

        By the way!
        Thank you so much for your respond, Ms. Jasmine! I appreciate it! ^^

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    • Japanese men dating a Filipino is not new. Now a Japanese guy getting a white girl is news.

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      • Yes filipinos and japanese couples are not new. I was asking about his behavior not if it is new.
        But to be honest, I am Chinese with a 25%filipino. He said that I look half Japanese and Chinese. So yes it maybe not as new as Japanese men courting Western women. Thank you for your concerns. Mr? James. ^^

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  2. Oh my god I can TOTALLY understand you’re feeling ! I’m dating my boyfriend for more than 4 months now ( but we liked each other for about a year before that ; i know we should had confess WAY FASTER) and we are already speaking wedding , family and so on… I’m gonna get introduce to his family this lunar new year’s party ( I’m soooo stressed by the way)! I can also feel that his work his very important with all the work even on saturday or sunday sometimes; but he told me that he wanna get more money to buy me sweet things and to live quickly together wich is ADORBLE ~ For the fun and intrusting point, I’m so happy that you also think that you can get soooo may things by the experience of a foreign girl/boyfriend !

    Anywyas I’ really like your blog ! You got a new follower!

    p.s: Si tu viens du Quebec, tu parles francais aussi n’est ce pas ? Pour ma part, jJe viens de Belgique =)

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    • Super! Une autre personne qui parle français 😀
      Du coup, je ne sais pas si je devrais te répondre en français ou en anglais… qu’est-ce que tu préfères?
      For now, let’s do both! Haha

      You sound so happy with your boyfriend ^^ It’s nice to be with men who are committed, right?
      And it’s ok if you didn’t confess too fast I think. It’s better to be friends beforehand!

      Et ne t’inquiète pas pour la rencontre de la belle-famille. Souris, et tout ira bien! S’il est en couple avec toi, cela veut dire qu’il est ouvert d’esprit, donc il y a de fortes chances que ses parents le soient aussi! 😀

      Je suis heureuse d’avoir une nouvelle follower 😀
      Merci!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well both are fine with me ~ But I kind of miss more French ’cause it’s my first motern language~

        Je stress comme une folle. 😥 Mais effectivement il m’a dit a peu près la même chose que toi.

        Je compte bien te suivre sur ton blog et réseaux sociaux ^^ Je risque fort de devenir fan avant même de m’en rendre compte. Haha

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  3. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and
    wanted to mention that I have truly loved surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing in your feed and I am hoping you write again soon!

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  4. I am a Singaporean (Asian) woman in a long distance relationship dating a Japanese guy currently and I want to say there are several similarities between your boyfriend and mine.
    He spend a lot of hours on his work and unfortunately sometimes in a long distance relationship I get insecure, I argue with him He also tend to talk about marriage very soon when we are together and how many future children he wants with me >_<

    I guess I should have a talk with him soon about our future together about his work and future family commitments 🙂 I take a leaf out of your book

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    • Unfortunately, spending a lot of time at work is just normal in Japan. Does your boyfriend intend to stay at that same work for a long time? If it doesn’t bother you then it’s fine, but if it does, better to talk about it now 😀
      I feel like the fact that they talk about future and marriage is good! Too soon would be a bit creepy, though, but when it’s right it feels really relaxing to know your partner and you have the same vision for the future! Especially concerning a long distance relationship.
      Best of luck for both of you 😀

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      • I want to know if Hitomi is a Japanese Canadian or Japanese American Nissei? I ask this because usually AMWF relationships involving Japanese are with westernized Japanese. It is very refreshing to see exogamous relationships of this sort break social norms and values. Currently, AMWM couples are more common than AMWF couples and it really appreciate seeing you guys becoming a living adbuster!

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  5. I have to chime in on the “work” topic. I really don’t think it’s the providing-for-your-family mentality acting alone on this one. I think the Japanese work ethic/philosophy is at work here, a philosophy so fundamentally unique to Japanese culture the “Westerners” have a hard time understanding the logic.

    Read more about it here: http://www.tofugu.com/2011/11/09/understanding-japan-through-the-karate-kid/

    Despite this Eastern (Japanese) logic, Hitomi seems to be a wonderful fellow, I’m sure you two will work great together.

    *I’m a Japan born Japanese raised in the USA, (happily) married to an American girl, with three haafu kids, living in the US. Came across your blog by happenstance. Best of luck to the both of you!

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    • I think you’re right. I could actually make an entire post about that subject only! But I thought I shouldn’t get into too many details in this post.
      Thank you for adding information. Always appreciated! 😀
      He is wonderful! Haha thank you very much!

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  6. This is such a sweet, honest post. It sounds like you two will be in a long and happy relationship. My wife of 12 years says that she loves the same qualities in me that you find in Hitomi-kun–kind, trustworthy, feeling safe and “free” with me, hardworking (so similar that it them was uncanny, actually).
    The unknown future is indeed scary, but if it is meant to be, the relationship will work itself out. Not everything will be perfect (and work is especially tricky, because, as an employee, one never has total control over it), and both of you will have to give a little, but if there is enough mutual trust and love, you will find a way to stay happy wherever you end up. Indeed, it was a revelation to me that when I decided to spend the rest of my life with one person (my now-wife), MY life wish, hope, and ambition, became secondary to OUR wish, hope, and ambition–and that I didn’t feel deprived at all.

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    • Thank you for such a sweet comment! ❤

      I agree with you; if it's meant to be, then it'll work out. As long as we both love each other and do our best, I don't think that there's anything we can't do together. I feel like this especially because of how we manage our long distance relationship: if we can go through this, I don't think anything can stop us! But well, we never know. Time will tell!

      Your marriage life seems so happy~

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  7. Those are adorable pictures! ❤ ❤ ❤ You two look very cute together. 🙂

    I can definitely relate to most of the points in that list. Especially number 3, at least when it comes to coworkers. I had a friend at work who I hung out with for 6 months (clubbing, going out to bars, etc.) before I even knew she was married! That was definitely a shock! My husband is an anomaly in that respect, for some reason his coworkers know all about me, which to be honest, I'd sometimes prefer wasn't the case! ^^;
    Thankfully, he gets all the weird questions though, not me. 😉

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    • Thank you so much! 😀

      It doesn’t surprise me that you learned she was married only after six months. I can’t imagine not talking about my significant other to my friends for six months! So different from Canada!

      I get all the weird questions, though. -_-

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      • Haha, yes it was so weirdーafter she finally mentioned it in passing, I was like “But wait!? Why are you going out every weekend? Why aren’t you going out with him!?”
        It turned out that he had an irregular work schedule and his days off were different, so they would go out together on those days.

        Awww, I’m sorry you have to deal with awkward questions though. 😦 I think I just manage to avoid them because many of my international friends here are dating or married to Japanese men as well, so it’s not an issue. Maybe it’ll be more noticeable if we spend time overseas.

        My husband’s mother has asked me “No, but really. Why do you like him? Are you sure you’re okay with him??” onceーin front of my husband, haha!! That was awkward… ^^;

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        • In Japan I didn’t get many weird questions, it was a lot more awkward in Canada.
          Oooh I got that question too, from Hitomi’s friends and family. “Why do you love him? What are you doing with him?”. Like, don’t you even know him to say that? Surely you KNOW why I love him? Awkwaaard! Hahaha

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          • Hahaha, yes!!! That’s true! I got that question from YJ’s coworkers too! It felt so inappropriate! XD I think I ended up answering “Because he’s kind”, even though it’s such a small part of a bigger story, but they seemed quite happy with that, so I keep to that story now. It saves me from further questions! 😉

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  8. It’s been great to read your blog, because I feel like I am in a similar situation. I am currently on a three month trip in South America and found a wonderful Colombian man and we really like each other. It’s crazy because I wasn’t looking to find anyone on this trip, but there is something special about him that I haven’t found in anyone else. But I find myself constabtly thinking of the big question, what will happen when I leave? Eventually, if we continue to date, he will have to move to the U.S. or I to Colombia. After being here on vacation, I’m not sure if I would be happy moving my whole life here, because I don’t know the language that well. And we’ve talked about plans and his goal is to start a business here in the long run. To make things more complicated, he will be doing at internship in New Dehli in about a month. I really like him but I’m tempted to just let it go because I’m scared and the future is uncertain. Any advice?

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    • I completely understand you. Actually, I still think about the big question concerning me or him moving to the other’s country. It’s because it’s a life-changing decision. It’s not just “Hey, let’s live together in our own apartment”. It’s more like “Hey, I’m leaving all my friends and my family to start a complete new life in a foreign environment with you. I hope you’ll treat me nicely and that I will not regret this” kind of feeling.

      What will happen when you’ll leave — if you both decide to give it a try and are both equally committed — is something really simple; you will still love each other as much as before, maybe even more. You will make a lot of plans together. You will save a lot of money to be able to see each other as much as you can.
      And that’s about it. Really, long distance relationship are not impossible.

      But I don’t know about you, because every situation is different. I won’t lie to you; if you are easily jealous, then it will be hard on you, especially when he’ll do his internship in New Delhi. Because he’ll be in a new environment and discovering new things while you’ll still stay in the same routine in your home country and missing him a lot. It can create tensions, but nothing that can’t be unsolved if you both trust each other.

      Language is not a problem, by the way. You can always learn. It shouldn’t be a barrier to your love.

      All in all, I think you should just give it a try. You will never know if it works out if you don’t try. And you might be already in too deep, like it was my case back when I was afraid of long distance, too. If that’s the case, then you passed the point of no-return and now you can just go head first into your relationship by giving it a chance.

      And if it doesn’t work out… well, you’ll just have to break up. It’s never too late to do that, that’s for sure. And you will learn a lot from that experience I think.

      This path we are choosing doesn’t fit in the normal cookie-cutter type of relationship. That’s why the future is uncertain and we’re scared. It is still uncertain for me, too. But you don’t have to think about it now. Go at your own pace, and things will work out if they are meant to be worked out. That’s how I think and so far, I’m very happy.

      I wish you good luck and happiness, whatever you decision will be!

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  9. Hello there!

    I just wanted to say I really appreciate your blogs! I can’t say I completely relate but, I am definitely fully enjoying the roller coster effect of a long distance relationship! (Hopefully not for long!) It’s really nice to see what others experience, and helps me personally feel a little less alone in the world, if you know what I mean! Thank you, (both) for sharing your beautiful story!

    Ana & Abdelkader xx

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    • You’re not alone! I’m happy to know I’m not the only one going through the hardship of long distance relationship, too!
      Feel free to talk if you ever need it! I’ll be there 😀

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  10. Awwww, this is really sweet. And I completely agree (especially about the “work” thing…)

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    • Right?! I’m so glad I had that discussion with Hitomi early on. I was a bit afraid of that stereotype.
      He still works long hours because, you know, this is Japan, and there’s only so much you can do. But I’m fine with it, as long as he doesn’t put the money before everything else.
      I guess it’s the same for Ryosuke? He works in a Japanese company, right?

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  11. After having met the two of you, I can honestly say that all of this rings true when you are together. The attraction that you two share is special, and I wish you the best always! 🙂

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  12. Real men are men who treat his girlfriend/wife as well as he can. End of story (Asian men thinking) 😉

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  13. Been in this kind of relationship only that my partner was a Korean. I’ve noticed that they have some things in common. I hope things will work out on you. ❤

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