I'm a Japanese old man. My ethnicity is Asian. I have never been proud of that, especially on dating apps.
Many times I dared to choose, “Prefer not to say" about my ethnicity or leave it blank.
Incidentally, I've heard that many people, like Japanese men, have a hard time finding a lover because of their ethnicity. They are women from abroad, especially from the West, in Japan.
Sexual Racism Rooted in Japan
This weird situation would not be particularly considered problematic in Japan. But this is clearly a kind of racial discrimination. The insensitivity to such issues reveals that sexual racism is already ingrained in our minds.
On the other hand, in other countries, sexual racism in online dating is seen as a problem and is actually discussed in several articles:
- Asian guys stereotyped and excluded in online dating
- No Blacks, no Asians, no Indians: Sexual racism on New Zealand's dating scene - and how apps are making it worse | Newshub
- Online dating is harder for Asian men. Here’s how some have found success. - The Washington Post
“NO JAPANESE!" Often Seen On Dating Apps
As an Asian man, I have experienced a bunch of humiliating experiences and discrimination from Japanese women on dating apps.
Of course, I have never received any likes from Japanese women. But I'm not writing this article to criticize their sexual racism.
Inspired by Foreign Women’s Articles
One day, I happened to read two articles written from an analytical perspective about international dating in Japan.
These articles are worth reading as they get to the heart of our society's problems. The contents were very interesting as well; I was inspired to write something useful for people from overseas.
- Dating Apps In Japan For 2021: What's Worth It And What's Not? - Savvy Tokyo
- The Shocking Truth About Dating in Japan as a Foreigner
These articles were written by female writers, one from Canada and the other from Germany. They both lived in Japan for approximately 10 years and seem to understand our culture deeply.
On the whole, I agree with what they say. But there is one thing that is wrong and needs to be corrected in Dating Apps In Japan For 2021: What's Worth It And What's Not? - Savvy Tokyo.
Sex Apps Called deai-kei
At the end of that article, the author introduces “Happy Mail” as one of the go-to dating apps.
However, in reality, this is not a dating app. It is known among Japanese as a hookup app for casual sex.
Other Sex Apps
1. Wakuwaku Mail
Honne and Tatemae
Those apps are called 出会い系 (deai-kei) and available only in Japanese. Japanese people communicate by using both honne and tatemae proficiently.
Honne is our real intention and tatemae is what we say on the surface. In those apps users often say, “I'm looking for a serious relationship", but many of them are seeking for a good FWB. Even worse, thousands of sex workers, scams, and fakes slip into those apps.
Sugar Daddy Dating
Recently, due to COVID-19, many young students have lost their part-time jobs and faced economic difficulties.
Against this backdrop, not a few female students are using these apps to find a sugar daddy. These immoral behaviors are called papa-katsu (パパ活, sugar daddy dating), and have become a social problem.
Therefore, using these apps without fully understanding honne and tatemae, men mainly, might get caught up in prostitution or other crimes. Avoid these three apps. To emphasize the risks lurking in daily life of Japan, I dare to describe them as sex apps instead of hookup apps.
From A Local Man’s Perspective
In this manner, I'd like to describe the reality of international relationships and dating apps in Japan from a local man's perspective.
But first, let me explain a little about my background.
I was born and raised in Japan. I'm not a returnee, nor have I studied abroad. Of course, I've never had any foreign friends. So to speak, I'm just an ordinary Japanese guy. In this sense, my opinion well represents the general opinion of Japanese men.
Two Peculiar Factors
There are two factors that make it extremely difficult for foreign women, especially Western women, to find a Japanese boyfriend.
Factor 1: Irresistibly Fond of Western Men
The first factor is our unusual admiration for the Western opposite sex, especially Caucasians.
This trend has been seen at the latest since the end of World War II, and has now become our tradition and custom, or national trait.
The same goes for online dating apps.
English-Language Dating Apps in Japan
As a result, the overwhelming majority of Japanese female users crowd out foreign female users.
Accordingly, many Japanese male users lose their place. This is because the massive hordes of Japanese women are desperate to get their handsome Western boyfriends, not Japanese.
Factor 2: The Japanese Cannot Speak English
Some foreigners may still believe that Japanese people can speak English. But this is not true.
According to the global English proficiency report: EF EPI 2020, Japan ranked 55th out 100 countries. Japan was classified in the “Low English proficiency" group.
Note: I have many questions about this report, but there are no other resources available at this time.
Two Inappropriate Educational Methods
It is true that Japanese people study English from junior high school, and now from the third grade of elementary school.
But still, Japanese people cannot speak English.
There are many possible reasons. However, I believe that two educational practices are preventing us from improving our English skills.
1. Taught by Non-Native English Teacher
The biggest problem is that non-native English teachers teach so-called Katakana English (Japanized English, fake English) like this video.
From the beginning, we did not learn "REAL English."
2. English Class in Silence
All we learn is grammar and reading comprehension.
We are rarely taught how to listen, pronounce, and write in English.
In this situation, who will be able to speak English?
Believe it or not, this is exactly how the Japanese learn English.
Extra: Geopolitical Reason
To tell you the truth, one more thing hinders us from improving our English proficiency. The problem lies in the ratio of foreign residents by nationality.
As shown in this chart, 76.3% of foreign residents are from East and Southeast Asia.
Moreover, as far as I know, most of the foreign residents in Japan from these three countries usually speak Japanese.
For geopolitical reasons, the Japanese have few opportunities to speak English.
The Great Fear of English Speakers
For these reasons, we have become terrible at English. Moreover, we have become extremely afraid of and avoid situations where we have to use English.
That's why you can hardly find Japanese men on English-language dating apps. Unless you learn to speak Japanese, it's difficult to date Japanese men, either online or in person. This is the second factor, the English-language barrier.
Q1. Western Men Are Superstars?
However, as for Japanese women, they don't care about the language barrier, easily break through it, and flock to English-language dating apps. Of course, most of them are poor at English.
Such phenomenon has been observed for more than half a century.
Autographs in 1970
In 1970, the World Exposition (EXPO) was held in Osaka for the first time in Japan.
Visitors witnessed strange behavior of the Japanese here and there in the venue.
When Japanese girls found Western men, especially Caucasians, they gathered around them and asked for autographs letting out a cheer.
They were just ordinary people, but in Japan, they became “superstars” simply because they were Westerners.
Polite Sexual Racism
It's been more than 50 years since the exposition. But nothing has changed. Western men, especially Caucasians, are still the superstars among Japanese female users on dating apps. The same applies to the real world, i.e., all over the town.
Western men, Japanese sweethearts fell in love with you simply because you were fair-skinned, blue-eyed, tall, and handsome. Face and race were what mattered most.
Love in disguise.
What they want is your DNA. They want a mixed race child. They clearly oppose and detest racism, but in reality they practice racism.
Gems from the West.
For them, you are like their favorite jewel. They just want to “wear diamonds” and show them off to everyone.
See also: The Secret Revealed: How to be treated like a superstar in Japan. It's worth reading.
Q2. Afraid of Western Women?
The main cause is the English-language barrier. We are extremely afraid of communicating in English. And because of this, we can't get any closer to foreign women.
However, there are other factors that make us very timid with Western women.
1. Inferior Complex to the Caucasian
Japanese men also tend to be attracted to Western women, especially Caucasian women. But at the same time, we are apt to feel a sense of inferiority due to their overwhelming beauty.
- Tall and slender, and so on.
This inferiority leads us to believe that good-looking Western men are better suited for beautiful Western women than Japanese.
2. Unfamiliar Stature
women are most satisfied when their partner was 8 inches (21cm) taller. Men are most satisfied when they are 3 inches (8cm) taller than their partner.
As the article: 5 Reasons Why Women and Men Care About Height | Psychology Today says, Japanese men also prefer shorter women than themselves. And vice versa.
But unfortunately, some Western women are taller than Japanese men.
Simply put, we have few chances to see women taller than us, such as Caucasian women. Therefore, when we encounter a Western woman who is taller than us, we become upset.
In Japan, people with big eyes are generally considered prettier.
Actress Satomi Ishihara is an icon of Japanese beauty. She was ranked among The 100 Most Beautiful Faces for six years in a row, from 2013 to 2018.
For comparison with Japanese beauty, here is actress Emma Watson, a representative of Western beauty. For your information, she came in first place for the same title in 2011 and was 38th in 2020.
Widening Your Eyes?
Looking at their eyes, we can find that Emma Watson's eyes are slightly bigger and noticeably wider than Satomi Ishihara's.
Wide-open eyes give the impression that the person has negative feelings towards us.
- Threats, etc.
Eye Contact Differences
Unlike Westerners, Japanese people seldom look into each other's eyes when talking.
This is because in Japan, staring directly into someone's eyes implies “hostility” toward that person.
So, if you act like him, you will get into a fight.
The Solution: Speak Japanese
In summary, there are three factors that make it difficult for Western women to find a Japanese boyfriend.
- Polite sexual racism
- English-language barrier
- Chicken-heartedness of Japanese men (due to differences in customs and physical characteristics)
Of the three, there is one thing that you can break through with your own efforts. That is the language barrier.
Learn Japanese before you find a love. Start by saying こんにちには (kon-nichiwa) instead of “Hello."
Bonus - Brief Reviews on Dating Apps
Finally, I would like to make some brief comments about dating apps in Japan.
1. OkCupid JAPAN
This app is trilingual: Turkish, German, and English.
The questions in the compatibility quiz are too difficult for Japanese because they are colloquial and full of slang.
To Western Women - 0.5 stars
Simply put, there are almost no Japanese male users. As a percentage, it's probably 5% or less.
To Western Men - 5 stars
This is the app where you become superstars. Try this one first if you want a Japanese girlfriend. When you find a woman wearing kimono, just swipe right, it'll be a match. A paradise on earth. You'll have no shortage of women.
The world-famous dating (hookup) app is also quite popular among young people in Japan.
To Western Women - 2.5 stars
Unlike OkCupid, it has a large number of Japanese male users. In that sense, it's worth trying. However, there are two drawbacks.
1. The number of Japanese who speak English is so limited. You'll have a very hard time understanding what they are saying, i.e. Japanese.
2. As you know, this app is actually a hookup app as well as a dating app. So if you can't grasp the real intentions of the male users, you may end up feeling unpleasant. Please be cautious.
To Western Men - 4 stars
You are superstars on this app too. However, the number of your enthusiastic fans is much smaller than OkCupid. Nevertheless, not a few “Western male addicts” prefer this app.
- Wearing kimono
- Interested in Language Exchange
- Introducing themselves in English
When you find a woman with those characteristics, just swipe right. Heaven on earth is there.
To Western Women - 4 stars
Roughly 10% of the users appeared to be Japanese. The rest are made up of devastatingly handsome and sophisticated Western men. About half of the Japanese users seem to speak English.
The weak point of this app is the small number of users. In other words, quality over quantity, I guess.
However, there is one thing you need to keep in mind. On this app, you are likely to match so-called gaijin hunters (外人ハンター, gaijin-hanta). They are downright stupid people who can associate exclusively with Western women, especially Caucasians.
To avoid dating scum of the mankind, first ask about their exes.
Their dating history will tell you whether they are a gaijin hunter or not.
To Western Men - 3 stars
Unless you're outstandingly attractive, you can hardly match with anyone. Not everyone can be a superstar here. Looks are everything.
Waseda University vs Keio University
Waseda University and Keio University are the two major private elite schools. Keio University, in particular, is a school where many students from upper-class families attend.
Again, some of them, especially Keio graduates, come from well-off families and have a lot of pride. Frankly speaking, they are very hard to get along with. Oh là là!
To be honest, I've never tried this app.
Therefore, it is probably full of many Western male addicts and gaijin hunters just like OkCupid and Bumble.
So what's the difference? It's worth paying for?
There won't be much difference, so try the other three freemium dating apps first. Then you'll be able to make a right decision. Don't expect too much.
5. Omiai & Pairs
Both apps are originated in Japan and available only in Japanese. The users rarely speak English.
The user age range of Omiai is said to be early 20s to early 30s.
On the other hand, the user age range of Pairs is said to be from late 20s to late 30s. It has more members than Omiai and is more suitable for serious relationships. I would recommend Pairs, but there is little difference.
Copa - The Hottest Spot of East of Asia
Japanese women are really magical creatures. On the domestic dating apps, they are kind, graceful, humble, honest, and benevolent as always.
However, on English-language dating apps, their personality changes drastically. They dress glamorously, like showgirls, and become bold, outgoing, and proactive.
Revival of the Great Song “Copacabana” (1978)
Seeing Western men, their eyes will open wide.
Then, with great excitement, they begin to take light steps. Before long, they start to dance samba in kimono. They squirm their body “side to side” to the music of passion.
Ugly Asian men are bounced to the left, and handsome Western men are swiped to the right.
They were young and had each other
Who could ask for more?
These are the fashions of international relationships in Japan.
Both Japanese women and Western men have “lost their minds” at the hottest spot of East of Asia (Copa).
There was blood and a single gun shot
But just who shot who?
The superstar was a psychotic killer.
The bottom line
(At the copa) don't fall in love
Don't fall in love
(until you're able to speak Japanese)
A bientôt !