Survey paints a different picture of dating for young men and women.

Japan is definitely a country that thinks about romance a lot, with pretty much the whole nation discussing the best Christmas Eve date spots and Valentine’s Day presents. But all that time spent thinking about courtship doesn’t always translate into time spent dating, a recent survey shows.

Japanese online dating service O-net recently polled 309 men and 309 women who’ll be turning 20, the age of legal adulthood, in 2020. When asked if they’ve ever had a girlfriend, 55 percent of the men said yes, but that number dropped dramatically when the guys were asked if they were dating anyone now, with only 23.3 percent of them currently having a girlfriend.

On the other hand, women in the survey were far more likely to be dating a guy, with 35.9 percent saying they currently have a boyfriend. It’s unclear whether that large gap is just a quirk of the specific samples, or a product of guys being more likely to simultaneously be in multiple relationships with serious romantic partners, perhaps without the ladies’ knowledge. There was a similar contrast when women were asked if they’d ever had a boyfriend, with 66.3 percent saying yes compared to the 55 percent of men who’d had a girlfriend at some point in their lives.

As low as the 23.3 percent of men with a current girlfriend may seem (and it is a drop from the 27.5 percent who had one in O-net’s survey last year), it’s still a step up from 2016, when barely one in five guys had a girlfriend.

“Do you currently have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” yes responses for the entire group (left set), men (center set), and women (right set) for the surveys from 2016 to 2020.

A longer look back shows that a dating gap between Japanese men and women has always been present in O-net’s survey, with a gulf of 15.7 percent in 2008 when 37.1 percent of women and 21.4 percent of men had a special someone.

Women (pink line), total (dark blue line), and men (light blue line) for 1996 to 2020

Men’s and women’s statistics for 2020 almost exactly matched, though, when they were asked if they want to be in an active romantic relationship in the future, a proposition to which 47.2 percent of men and 47.6 percent of women said yes. However, both of those numbers are down from last year, by a marginal 0.7 percent for men and a more substantial 5.8 percent for women.

▼ “On second thought, maybe I rather would stay home and read SoraNews24 than go out to dinner with that guy I’m not all that into.”

Surprisingly, while less than half of the respondents expressed enthusiastic interest in dating, the majority still say they want to get married some day (74.2 percent of men and 84.1 percent of women). That might seem like a contradiction, but in Japan’s group-socializing society, getting to know each other and even falling in love without going on many private dates isn’t an unheard-of path to married bliss. That social phenomenon has the potential to make dating seem stressful, inconvenient, and unenjoyable, but it also sometimes means that not wanting to date doesn’t necessarily correlate to wanting to be single for life, even if extending the “just friends” stage of a relationship means postponing taking a hot spring bath together.

Source: PR Times via Career Connection via Livedoor News via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso, PR Times, Pakutaso (2)
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