It almost became an extra-national sport for some foreigners in Japan, especially those settling for an intermediate duration, for example with a Working-Holiday Visa: "collecting" Japanese women. This expression is quite miserable, but we all probably met at least once, a mixed couple where we noted that the (Japanese) woman did not play at the same level as the (gaijin) man.
This is it for the cliché, not so frequent indeed and which seems to fade away these past few years. But the fact remains true: foreign hunters of Japanese women (from the expression "gaijin hunters") and girls entering this (two-player) game are a reality. There are even specialized dating sites for this market! While in some of these men is hidden a Charisma Man, it yet remains a fantasy for most of them.
Let's share a few words about this behavior, what it implies and what can not been seen at the first glance.
What works for Japanese women
In a very prosaic way, there are some contextual criteria giving to foreigners a ikemen ("hunk") status towards Japanese women:
- exoticism: with only 2% of foreigners in Japan (and among which many Asians who are not immediately physically different), the Western man sounds like a "rare piece", especially outside Tokyo. Some studies support that the attraction is stronger between distant populations, explained by a survival reflex: conceiving a hybrid person will potentially strengthens its genes against illnesses.
- uncommon physical traits for Japanese men: tall, light-colored eyes and hair (especially blond!), white skin, well-maintained beard… up to the penis size?
- gallantry, still quite unusual on the archipelago while the Japanese woman loves to be considered as a princess: holding the door, walking with her and holding her hand, protecting her against many dangers(!) such as touts or insects, paying during dates and financing diverse expenses.
- globally, the image of this dark, charismatic and strong Western man, more active than grazing, somehow fantasized wilder. We naively think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
- and in addition, if you whisper some words in your own language… ;-)
However, these advantages might not work at all if you pair them up with these handicaps:
- not speaking Japanese, even a little bit;
- being unaware of basic politeness rules in Japan, such as being noticed or too extroverted;
- not taking care of yourself, appearing neglected and dirty;
- not to be tall, that is 170 cm(5′ 7″) or less;
- and sometimes, for our non English-born readers, not speaking English: some women date foreigners only to practice their English, for which they spent money and time in evening classes.
Behind the appearance…
If some people use and abuse of these codes and play with their gaijin status to achieve their goal, it is not that simple.
They are pretty numerous, these gaijin wandering at nightime around Shinjuku or Roppongi districts, mostly in night clubs, looking for Japanese women who are just waiting for them. Because often, those answering the demand are not so naive as we want to believe. On the contrary, most of these women exactly know what they are doing and what their assets are.
There is that strong impeding threat felt by many Japanese women: the fateful corner of the 30 years old. Even if the country is getting older (due to many elderly people), thirty-ish years old seems to be the perishable date in their mind. Therefore, before finding the boring but necessary husband to be a neat couple, they are finally quite numerous who are willing to have fun before the wedding, playing with men (who might become sort of a fashion accessory) and discovering new sexual experiences.
What’s better than a foreigner with a temporary visa, who does not master the subtleties of the Japanese society (especially honne / tatemae)? The relationship gets faster as each of the player’s intentions are not hidden, and while she always appears as very ladylike, the Japanese woman is not fooled and knows perfectly how to play the prey when it is necessary.
Then, how many disappointed guys, after one or two perfect evenings or even nights at a love hotel, did not hear back from their sweethearts anymore? For the Japanese girl, this affair will be nothing more than a parenthesis quickly forgotten, as having an excellent ostrich policy: what she does not think about had never happened! Let’s be honest: the chances of building a serious relationship based on these behaviors are almost none. And after all, is it not what the players are looking for?
Starting from teenagehood until their mid-twenties, a certain number of Japanese women are expecting this Prince Charming shown in drama TV shows and to a lesser extent in animated movies. But the harsh reality hits once married: the husband’s salary becomes a game field of his despotic accountant wife, giving him low pocket money to drink with colleagues at the corner’s izakaya.
More generally and schematically, foreigners on Japanese land are perceived by two categories of people: those who admire them, seeing superiority in them, and those for whom they inspire up to hatred (without necessarily showing it). For these latter, the "playboy" behavior would not be innocent. Not to mention that in Japan, gorgeous women according to Westerners don't match with Japanese men’s preferences, whose standards are much higher.
And even if some couples can last… according to figures published since 2013 by the French Embassy in Japan, about 80% of bi-national French-Japanese couples would fail in the long run.