Let’s be honest; there are a lot of distinctly average-looking foreign guys living in Japan dating jaw-droppingly beautiful Japanese girls. We’ve all witnessed it- a woman who could play the female lead in the next James Bond movie, walking down the street with a guy who, if we searched for him in the same movie’s end credits, would more likely appear as something along the lines of “man in post office # 3”.
Were the same couple to be seen out and about in the guy’s home town, pretty much everyone would be looking from her to him, then back to her again and whispering to their friends “Wow, that guy’s punching above his weight….”
Shallow? Yes. Narrow minded? Definitely. But no matter how much we remind ourselves that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, there’s no denying the fact that human beings, flawed as we are, make a lot of decisions based on appearances. And when Johnny Average gets to date Princess Zelda (I’m a nerd, remember?), heads turn.
How do they do it?
Rather than ask my wife (a native Japanese lady and, yes, far too pretty for me) and risk alerting her to the fact that she might have done better, I took my question to a higher power- the internet.
After a little bit of poking around, I came upon an incredibly interesting article on Madame Riri, a Japanese-run website that analyses all-things-Japan from an outside perspective, titled “7 Reasons Why Foreign Men in Japan are Such a Hit with the Ladies”.
Allow me to present, dear reader, from the depths of the internet, seven reasons why foreign men in Japan get so many girls…:
1. Because they’re different
Despite the continually increasing number of foreign residents and tourists in Japan, there is no denying the fact that foreigners make up an incredibly small portion of the country’s population, with less than 2% of Japan’s 27 million residents being non-Japanese. As a result, foreigners, especially us tall white guys, tend to stand out…
“With the number of foreigners in the country so low, it’s not unnatural for women to want to meet and befriend the foreign people that they happen to meet,” tells Madame Riri. “There are some women who, almost as though the man were a fashion accessory of sorts, love the thought of walking down the street on the arm of a foreign man.”
Does anyone else suddenly feel like one of Paris Hilton’s dogs…?
2. Foreign men have “alluring physical features”
Madame Riri suggests that a combination of physical features, from light-coloured hair and eyes to a comparatively tall, solid physique, make foreigners a big hit with Japanese women. Foreigners from European and American countries tend to have more defined facial features when compared to Asian men, which, according to our guide, are both striking and “charming”, apparently.
3. “Their audacity”
It would seem that a lot of Japanese ladies are fans of the whole “western confidence” thing…
According to Madame Riri, “modern Japanese men are becoming more and more passive,” and are less likely to openly pursue women, stating that “compared to our herbivorous young man, western men are distinctly meat-eaters! Western men come out and say what they’re feeling; if they like a woman, they tell them. Our men, on the other hand, seem to find using romantic words and talking about affairs of the heart incredibly difficult.”
4. The way they treat women
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard the phrase “English gentleman” since I first came to Japan. Despite doing my best to inform that, as nice a stereotype as it is, it’s not entirely true (sorry, guys), many Japanese continue to believe that England is a county populated entirely by gallant young men in frilly white shirts and riding boots, bounding across gravel driveways to throw a cloak over a puddle for some hapless maiden.
Even so, western men’s treatment of women in Japan seems to be hugely well received:
“With well-planned dates and concepts like ‘ladies first’, western men are, in general, very kind to women. They are often brought up from a young age to treat women like princesses, and, regardless of the woman’s relative indifference, are expected to behave like gentlemen as a rule.”
Again, I hate to burst your bubble, Madame Riri, but I think you should come and meet some of the “gentlemen” who frequent my local pub sometime…
5. A boyfriend is cheaper than English classes
And then things get a little gritty.
“There are always those people who, on seeing a foreigner, will approach purely because they want to try out their English speaking skills.”
Love and romance aside, it’s not uncommon in Japan to suddenly find yourself chatting to an old guy on the train- or, rather, being talked at by an old man on the train- who wants to dust off his English and only half listens to the responses to his own questions.
But, honestly, with all that money spent on English language education, who can blame them?
6. “I ship out tomorrow…”
Visa laws being what they are, the vast majority of foreigners only remain in Japan for a short time. “With this in mind,” explains the website, “relationships between Japanese women and foreign men often accelerate quickly. Women can take this opportunity to engage in a brief, relatively carefree relationship.”
I feel so used… (sniff)
Last but not least comes the fact that, for some people, the grass is always greener on the other side:
7. “Tell me more of this magical place you call ‘Eng-Land’!”
“There are some girls who, with very little first-hand knowledge, simply enjoy hearing about foreign countries, and image them to be something greater than their own,” chides Madame Riri. “Even women who would ordinarily shun offers of dates from Japanese men, with as little as a ‘you’re cute’ from a foreigner, are ready to hit the town and hear fantastic tales of far off lands where everything is so much brighter.”
Oh, Madame Riri, you’re not just some batty old love therapist, after all; you’re cynical, observational genius!
Source: Madame Riri