If you’ve ever flipped through the pages of a glossy Japanese fashion magazine like Vivi or Non-no, you might have noticed that quite a few of the models are half-Japanese. For various cultural and aesthetic reasons, a mix of Japanese and Western facial features is generally considered extremely attractive in Japan, and there’s an increase in the number of Japanese women who believe that the key to creating gorgeous offspring is to have their own “haafu” baby.

In order to satisfy this desire, some women in Japan have taken quite calculated steps to help make this a reality, including purposefully moving into international share houses in order to be in close proximity to Western men.

If you’ve spent anything more than a couple of weeks in Japan, you may be familiar with the concept of the “gaijin house” or “share house.” Getting an apartment in Japan can be a serious hassle often involving coughing up huge sums of non-refundable “key money” and gratuities, begging a guarantor (which usually always has to be a Japanese man) to agree to vouch for your untrustworthy gaijin (foreigner) self, and just generally running around filling in paperwork and getting tangled up in red tape. “Gaijin houses”, on the other hand, are usually straightforward and hassle-free, allowing you to rock up with nothing but a passport and the first month’s rent up front to secure a room for as many months as you like. It’s no surprise that most of the gaijin in Japan use the services of these establishments at some time or other due to the alternatives being almost non-existent. The accommodation is often basic and the facilities are usually shared, which helps to facilitate a fun, college dorm-like environment. If you love socialising, it’s pretty much a dream situation, but if you’re the kind of person who values quiet, cleanliness, and sweet personal space, it’s pretty much a nightmare.

▼  Your typical cosy “gaijin house” has a lot in common with a hostel, and there’s often a communal cooking and eating area.

So, gaijin-friendly share houses are big communal apartments full of people from all over the world, just having fun together in Japan. Basically the perfect place for Japanese people who don’t usually have much contact with foreigners to meet folks from abroad for friendship, English learning, or, it would now seem, husband-hunting. Although traditionally share houses were for the exclusive use of students or foreign residents, recent times have seen more and more of these establishments opening their doors to working Japanese people who are unable or unwilling to commit to an expensive apartment lease, and who quite like the idea of living cheek-by-jowl with non-Japanese folks. While many of those from abroad who frequent gaijin houses are said to be young, English-speaking males (usually in Japan for study or extended travel) there has apparently been a surprising rise in single, working Japanese women who are keen to get a slice of communal living and meet some men from overseas.

▼ Foreign men are still very much a rarity in Japan, where the population is 98.5% Japanese.

One woman was apparently so desperate to acquire a foreign husband for the express purpose of having a mixed-race baby, she eventually decided to take the step of moving into a share house almost exclusively populated by Western men. Livedoor Japan reports that the woman, known only as A-san, described how she dated several men of various nationalities before finally settling on a French man six years her junior. The pair have reportedly been married for two years now and have a one-year-old child.

Responses to the story from Japanese web users have been a mix of scornful and dismissive slights against A-san and any woman who would go to these lengths simply to have a “haafu” kid:

“Women these days are, quite simply, colossally stupid.”

“I guess Asian guys are just considered total uggos everywhere in the world now?”

“Half-Japanese kids have their own struggles at school and in society. Think about that first.”

“I can’t understand wanting a haafu kid so badly that you would literally take any foreign guy.”

“Men aren’t fashion brands! Stop taking everything at face value!”

“Women who just want a Western guy for the sake of it strike me as being of low moral character.”

While others were slightly more, um, supportive (?) of A-san’s choice:

“Well, if you’re going to ruin your body and spend all your time and money raising a kid at least you’d prefer the kid to be cute, right?”

“We Japanese men are ugly, so I guess it can’t be helped…”

“What if I want to have kids with a tall, blonde, beautiful Russian lady? What are my options?”

“Don’t worry, my fellow Japanese brothers! It’s no loss!”

To be honest, there were a lot of comments that we can’t in good conscience translate here out of the risk of offending our good readers, as we don’t condone excessive potty-mouth or misogyny here at RocketNews24. Needless to say, the story sure got a lot of folks in Japan as riled up as you might imagine.

While this story may seem a little extreme and unromantic for some, this writer doesn’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with being attracted to a certain type of person or people with specific features, nor for thinking that half-Japanese kids are kinda cute (they are! but then again, so are kids in general!). And if, for example, you really, really love Japan, then marrying someone who’s from here is often just a natural consequence of spending time in the country and getting to know people here. Foreigners deliberately jetting off to Japan in order to exclusively date Japanese ladies/fellows is also a thing that happens, but if it doesn’t hurt anyone and their dates are happy to go out with them, then who are we to sniff at people having certain preferences?

What do you think? Should people like A-san check their priorities and learn to see people for more than just their physical traits, or are they right to take steps to ensure they find their ideal-looking partner and, in turn, have the baby they always dreamed of?

Source: Livedoor, Jin115
All pictures © Evie Lund/RocketNews24