What do Japanese people think of other Japanese people who try to date only foreigners or who insist on speaking English to all foreigners?
Living in Japan, you pick up new terminology. For example, one buzzword is “Gaijin Hunter,” which is used by some to describe a Japanese guy or girl (let’s be honest, it’s mostly girls) who specifically seek out foreigners for relationships. In fact, we’ve talked about gaijin hunters at length before.
Gaijin hunters are considered to be shallow by critics in the expat community, since they seek foreigners as companions in order to show off and “be seen” by others, rarely caring about the individual in question. While some expat guys might not mind that much as long as it gets them a cute Japanese girl for a while, others feel uncomfortable, used, and “othered” by this practice.
Another phenomenon, which I’ve decided to dub the “English vampire”, is someone (of any age or sex, but usually middle-aged dudes are the most ballsy about this) who specifically seek out foreigners for impromptu English practice. Some expats in Japan, particularly ones who’ve been here for many years and speak Japanese fluently (aka Secret Ninjas!) experience frustration when a random Japanese person comes up to them out of the blue and starts speaking broken, elementary-school level English at them and not with them.
But sometimes a person can exhibit traits of both a Gaijin Hunter and an English vampire, as in a controversial YouTube video which shows a cringeworthy encounter between a grumpy, sour-tempered gaijin and an oblivious old man eager for English practice, the two terms have begun to mix. Now, “Gaijin Hunter” is being used interchangeably to mean a Japanese person who pesters foreigners for romance and/or free English. So, what do Japanese people think of this phenomenon?
A new video by That Japanese Man Yuta seeks some answers.
In the video, Yuta asks interviewees what they think of Japanese people who specifically pursue only foreigners for dating. At first, the interviewees state that they “think it’s fine” but once Yuta points out that the term has negative connotations, the interviewees follow up by deciding that it’s not good to ignore a person’s individual characteristics in favour of pursuing an ulterior motive.
Yuta then asks what they think about Japanese people speaking English to all foreigners and why this may not always be a good thing. Some of the interviewees don’t quite seem to understand what Yuta is getting at.
▼ This dude seemed to get one aspect of why it can be annoying:
As seen in Yuta’s previous video, “Japanese people react to ‘But we are speaking Japanese!'”, where most of the interviewees seemed to miss the point, many people in Japan have trouble seeing situations from the point of view of foreigners. And, to be fair, it’s a pretty niche group to be in, but I would assume that common sense should dictate that using people, “othering” them, and pushing your own agenda at their expense really shouldn’t be tolerated.
So, readers, what did you think of the video?
Source and screenshots: YouTube – That Japanese Man Yuta