Looking for romance in Japan? Learn from our experience! Here a few things we’ve learned from foreigners who’ve dated in Japan.

With increasing globalization, it’s becoming more and more common to see couples consisting of Japanese and non-Japanese people romancing around town. But with all of the differences in language and culture, there are sure to be some problems that arise, so there must be a lot that these couples can learn from each other too, right?

With this in mind, we asked four foreigners who are married to Japanese people or have dated Japanese people, “What are the hardest and best things about dating a Japanese person?”

Woman, 20s, Germany

Sometimes there is just too much cultural difference. If I sleep over at a male friend’s house, which is totally normal in Germany, my boyfriend gets really concerned and jealous because it is unusual in Japan. If you make compromises, you can make it work, though.

Positive points:
In my home country, people don’t usually ask someone for a date. Instead, you start being friends and the relationship changes over time. I really like the culture of kokuhaku [confession of love], though: It made me feel really special and happy!

▼ “I…I…really like you, let’s go out on a date!”



Male, 30s, USA

Many of the Japanese women I’ve dated in the past seemed to want the best of both Japanese-style and American-style relationships, but none of the compromise. They wanted the Hollywood-style romance and “lady first” attitude, help cleaning around the house, help cooking and doing dishes, but they also wanted me to have a prestigious job, work long hours, pay for dates, be the primary “breadwinner” and “act Japanese” in public. Some also wanted to rush into getting married or moving in together, which as a 30-something American always felt way too soon to me.

Positive points:
I’m not very traditional when it comes to relationships, so I don’t expect my partner to do all the cooking and cleaning (and I cook a lot as a hobby, so I like doing most of the cooking anyway), but there’s nothing better than coming home after a long day at work to a hot, freshly cooked dinner. It’s also nice to be able to freely switch between two different languages; you can talk about anything in public and no one can eavesdrop!

▼ Didn’t you know that all American men are Humphrey Bogart at heart?


Woman, 30s, USA

The stumbling block for my husband and I is usually public displays of affection. By American standards, I’m fairly conservative about public displays of affection, but my husband is even less comfortable with them. Sometimes even holding hands or a chaste kiss goodbye is too much for him. For example, if I’m leaving on a long trip and he drops me off at the station, he won’t kiss me goodbye. I know he’s not rejecting me, just too shy, but sometimes it feels cold.

Positive points:
People often say the language barrier is a drawback, but I actually find it helpful at times. Sometimes my husband says things that would make me upset if I heard them from a native English speaker, but because he’s not one, I have to think about what he actually wants to say and ask him to clarify. I’m sure the same goes for me when I’m speaking Japanese. So, I think we listen more carefully to each other and consider the intent more than the execution.

▼ “No! Not in public! There are people watching!”


Male, 30s, UK

Maybe it’s just the girls I dated, but in all honesty, I never noticed any particular behavior that I felt was a result of her being Japanese per se. Problems can arise, of course, from communicating in two languages (or with one person speaking the other’s language), though. I know I fell out with a couple of the Japanese girls I dated in the past because I would, without realizing it, use a word inappropriately and cause offense or create a misunderstanding between us. It’s easy to talk about things that are happening in front of our eyes, but communicating thoughts and emotions in a second language can be tricky. Oh, and sometimes Japanese girls can be very shy about showing emotion in public. Don’t get me wrong, I hate seeing couples making out in public (a quick kiss is fine, but making out is gross), but I’ve dated some girls who’d get all flustered if I tried to put a quick kiss on her cheek or something in a restaurant.

Positive points:
Overall, the Japanese girls I’ve dated were very caring and considerate. Again, maybe it’s just the girls I dated, but I also never felt that I was in danger of them going off with some other guy at a party or seeing someone behind my back. Really, though, I think that comes down to their individual personality, rather than their nationality. It’s 2015 and we’re a very well-connected world, so I think over time our behavior will be shaped less and less by the place we’re born.

▼ Love is love, no matter the nationality.


It’s always interesting to hear the troubles of being involved in a cross-cultural relationship, but it’s also exciting to hear when they are successful and people are able to look past differences, difficulties and barriers to let the love shine through.

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