Most of the places where groups of men congregate in Japan aren’t too surprising. You can always find guys hanging out with other guys at sports stadiums, video arcades, pachinko parlors, pool halls, or any restaurant or bar that specializes in meat or fried foods.
Recently, though, there’s a new spot that’s gaining popularity for a day out with the boys: Tokyo Disneyland.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Disney’s movies and characters, there’s no denying that the marketing team behind the Tokyo Disney Resort does an outstanding job. Aside from its core target market of families with young kids, Tokyo Disneyland draws tons of couples, and not just teens, either. The park remains a popular date spot for young adults, too.
In addition, both teens and adult women regularly make the trip to the Happiest Place on Earth (in Japan) with their female friends. Until recently, this sort of single-sex excursion was almost exclusively for the ladies, but Disneyland is now seeing more and more all-guy groups coming through the gates, something that’s been dubbed “Danshi Disney” (literally “boys’ Disney”).
Danshi Disney veterans say there are four upsides to an all-male outing, with the first being that it makes it easier to relax and have fun. When going with a date, many guys feel the need to make sure she’s having a good time, which usually takes precedence over their own enjoyment. Removing the girl from the equation means if you want to spend the whole day repeatedly riding Space Mountain, no one can stop you.
▼ Or you can skip the attraction altogether, if you’ve got a crippling fear of thrill rides.
Speaking of roller coasters, not having to deal with an emotional one is another plus for some Danshi Disney fans. Disneyland tickets aren’t cheap, and after shelling out for admission, most people want to make a full day out of it. That can translate into a lot of emotional highs and lows as you spend several hours next to a potential romantic partner, and some guys would rather not have to worry about that when really they just want to enjoy the theme park.
As a matter of fact, some guys even point to Danshi Disney as a means of changing the way society perceives them. “Why do groups of guys at Disneyland get teased and called ‘gay,’ while groups of girls don’t get called ‘lesbians?’” one Internet commenter wondered. By going to Disneyland in a pack of dudes, some hope to stand as proof that being born with a Y-chromosome doesn’t preclude you from liking Mickey and his pals.
▼ Sup, bra?
Finally, perhaps the weirdest impetus behind the Danshi Disney movement is when guys do it specifically because it’s not their ideal situation. By going to the Tokyo area’s archetypical date spot, some of them form a sense of solidarity with their Danshi Disney cohorts through to their shared goal that, “Next time we’re going to come with girls!”
Of course, doing that would eliminate all of the other Danshi Disney benefits. But hey, should you find that special girl, Mickey will understand!