Money can’t buy love, but does that mean romance is free?
In Japanese society, adult men are largely judged by their degree of professional success. Japan smiles and proudly nods when discussing men who are owners of prosperous businesses or high-flying employees of prestigious companies, as thriving economically is often equated with intelligence, dedication, and responsibility, all traits the country greatly admires.
But does the esteem for wealthy men extend to the dating pool? Internet portal My Navi Woman recently polled 133 women between the ages of 22 and 34, asking them if they could be in a serious romantic relationship with a man who earned less money then they did.
The majority of respondents, 63.2 percent, said that no, they couldn’t date a man, long-term, if he had a lower income. That “long-term” qualifier seems to have been a critical distinction for the survey participants, as some of them said they’d be worried about their household finances if and when they became pregnant. While some working Japanese women take pregnancy/maternity leave, it’s far more common for them to stop working entirely when having a child. Many don’t return to the workforce until several years later, if at all, and prioritizing child rearing means the family would have to rely on her partner’s earnings.
Also, as mentioned above, Japanese society tends to see a strong connection between a man achieving success in his professional field and his being worthy of respect. “I think I’d start to look down on him,” theorized one respondent who said she couldn’t date a guy who made less money than she did.
Still, a sizeable majority, 36.8 percent of respondents, said that they’d be OK earning more than their boyfriend. “Money’s not everything,” one such participant reminded researchers.
However, that doesn’t mean that the women in this group relish the chance to financially support a man. In their explanations for their choice, many alluded to the fact that they’d still expect a lower-earning boyfriend to pitch in economically, such as the woman who said “I want to work too, so if we pool our earnings, we should be OK.”
Casey hopes you’ll follow him on Twitter regardless of any income gap that may exist between the two of you.