15 tips to dating a Japanese man (everything you need to know)

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When two people come together from different cultures and start dating, it often brings to light the many differences between them.

This is no different when it comes to dating a Japanese man.

Japanese men are known for being respectful, hardworking, and often quite shy.

Their unique dating culture needs to be kept in mind when it comes to dating a Japanese man, to ensure that you have a complete grasp on their expectations.

If you’re looking to date a Japanese man, then here’s 15 tips to help your dates go as smoothly as possible – without any of the awkwardness.

15 tips to dating a Japanese man

1) Make the first move

Did I mention that Japanese men are quite shy? It’s true!

Even more than this, many actually consider it rude to ask a woman for her number after just meeting.

If you’re interested and want to get a first date out of him, make sure you take that first step and ask him for his number. Or even ask him out on that first date and get it over and done with.

They are far too polite.

They will want to know whether or not you have a boyfriend, and gauge if they even stand a chance, but these aren’t questions they’re going to ask you. Especially if you have just met. They might try and get it out of conversation, but they are unlikely to be direct about it. This could lead to a completely missed opportunity if you sit back and wait for them.

Other Japanese men are simply worried about getting turned down (I think this concern translates across cultures). The more they like you, the more worried they are about taking that first step. The stakes are even higher now.

If you pick up that they’re interested and share their feelings, it helps to just make that first move.

2) Don’t be late

Now that you have the first date locked in, there’s one key thing to remember: don’t be late! Set an alarm, get dressed early, leave plenty of time. Whatever it takes. As they say, first impressions count.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Japan, you will have noticed that everything is very punctual over there.

The people are always on time. The trains are always on time. The post is always on time. Everything runs on time.

This comes from something called ‘kikubari’, which directly translates as ‘attentive’ in English. It’s about being aware and mindful of others. If you turn up to that first date late, you are showing the exact opposite. It will come across that you have little respect for him. That’s not the best way to start off a relationship.

Set that alarm and make sure you turn up to that date on time.

3) Don’t stereotype

Just because the man you’re dating happens to come from Japan, doesn’t mean you can lump him with every stereotype you know.

The same would apply for you and your own culture.

He may not be shy and timid like many other Japanese men.

He may not enjoy traditional Japanese dishes.

He may break every single one of the stereotypes put on the Japanese culture.

So, how do you avoid it?

If they’re left everything behind to live in our country, then they certainly have a good story behind them. Make sure you ask them about it. Get to know them and who they are.

The worst thing you can do is assume their story starts the minute they landed in your country. You can learn a lot about where they have come from and what they believe by taking the time to listen to their story.

 By getting to know them and who they are, you can avoid making assumptions.

4) Share your interests

This is rule 101 of any relationship, but even more important when you’re crossing cultures. The best way to discover more about the man you’re dating is to show an interest in him.

But you also need to share your interests and find that common ground.

Introduce him to what your hobbies and what you enjoy doing in your spare time and find something you can do together.

Finding that common ground is what will connect you in your relationship.

5) Expect communication issues

Even if you speak Japanese, or he speaks English exceptionally well, you need to be prepared for communication issues.

When it comes to different mannerisms and how things are said in different cultures, words can take on different meanings and tones.

Getting a grasp on all the little nuances of the language can also be difficult. Take for instance the Aussie slang, “Yeh, nah” (no thanks), “snags” (sausages)… the list goes on and on.

Let’s face it, knowing the English language is one thing, understanding all these little phrases on their meaning is quite another.

6) Teach them English expressions

When those inevitable communication issues do arise, instead of sitting back and letting them be, take the time to teach your Japanese man some of your native lingo.

Think of all those terms and phrases that they definitely aren’t going to teach in any English classroom.

Let him in on all these little secrets, so that communication becomes a little less of an issue for you over time.

You will quickly learn just how confusing the English language is.

Here’s just a few examples:

  • “Through,” “thorough,” and “trough” are all pronounced very differently, despite the “rough”.
  • Both the words “that that” and “had had” can be used.
  • We have plenty of words with silent letters.
  • The same word can have different meanings: “cross their mind”, “get cross with someone”.

At the same time, you can ask him to share words and phrases from his own language so you can also learn along the way.

7) Show them your local favourites

If he’s moved out to your country recently, then it’s likely he has taken on some of the main touristy places.

Instead, now is your opportunity to show you some of the backstreets that tourists wouldn’t be nearly as familiar with.

Take him to your favourite park, head off on a walk, find your local bookshop or settle in for a morning at your favourite coffee spot.

Mix things up each date to keep it interesting, while also immersing him in more and more of your culture. Pick dates that can help out, from putt putt to seeing a movie together – these are experiences that are well worth sharing.

8) Avoid sarcasm

Sarcasm has a time and a place, and it most certainly isn’t on a date with a Japanese man. It’s best to just avoid it altogether.

Sarcasm does exist in Japan, but a much softer version. They tend to take gentle jibes at themselves, rather than a dig at someone around them.

Japanese humour is very different and your sarcasm is likely to be taken the wrong way. He will feel that you don’t like him, or are simply a mean person.

Of course, the longer you date, this is something you can warm him up to. Introduce sarcasm very gently and be sure to avoid saying anything offensive.

9) Cook for him!

I know, I know, your feminist alarm bells are ringing at this one.

But the truth is, if you’re interested in a Japanese man, then hopping into the kitchen is a great way to win him over.

They tend to be attracted to those who possess more feminine qualities. Don’t worry, there’s no need to rush out and doll on the make-up – natural is best. The way to their heart is often through their stomach.

If you’re looking to mix things up a little, invite him over to your place for a date and have a go at cooking one of your specialties.

Of course, this can go both ways, you can ask him to take charge of the next date and to cook you up one of his specialties.

10) Understand their language

No, I don’t mean you need to rush out and learn Japanese (though if this turns into a long-term relationship then it certainly can’t hurt).

Understand some of their cultural mannerisms. In Japan, yes often means no and silence tends to mean yes. Confusing, isn’t it? Japanese tend to be very agreeable people, and they don’t like to upset others. This leads to their vague form of communication.

He is unlikely to ever say no to waiter when asked something, and the same of you. It helps to be able to work out whether he really means yes, or he’s simply saying it to be polite. Naturally this can take some time.

Also remember that your silence can also be taken as a yes. Always speak up.

11) Let him pay

It might go against every feminist bone in your body, but step back and allow your date to pay on that first outing.

It’s one of the ways that Japanese men show that they care, and is always their way of showing how financially stable they are – making them worthy of this date with you.

You can always offer to pay, but if he insists, step back and let him. You can fight your feminist battle another day.

12) Let’s NOT get physical

You may have your own rules when it comes to what to expect physically on that first date – and that’s great!

But if you’re after a little advice, Japanese men very rarely have set on the first date. Often, they won’t even touch you.

Don’t get offended if he doesn’t leave you with a good night kiss to ponder for days to come. It’s no indication of how he feels about you and that first date – he just likes to take things slowly.

In fact, you can expect the entire relationship to progress a lot more slowly than you’d expect in other cultures.

13) Don’t expect compliments

Japanese men aren’t big talkers to begin with. They tend to be quite shy and sensitive. For this reason, they tend to stay quiet and think before they speak.

You’re unlikely to hear many compliments leave his mouth, if any, and those three little words, “I love you” are rarely uttered.

This can make it very hard to work out whether or not he likes you.

It all comes down to his body language. Just like in western culture, body language can tell you a lot about what someone is thinking and feeling.

Japanese culture especially relies heavily on this type of non-verbal communication.

14) Respect their culture

Of course, this one should go without saying.

Just because the Japanese man you’re dating is now in your country, doesn’t mean he should be expected to leave his culture and traditions behind.

Let them live on through your relationship.

Share an interest in where he has come from and even act on it.

Ask him his favourite meal back home and go about cooking it for him, or ask him to prepare it for you one night.

There are so many different ways you can both respect and show an interest in his culture that will bring you both even closer together.

15) Don’t expect them to change

If your Japanese man is living in the Western world, you may have expectations of being able to assimilate him even further into the culture.

Never enter a relationship with this expectation in mind.

The same way you’d hate someone trying to change you from day one of a relationship.

You need to be able to accept him and his culture from day one to make the relationship work, and he needs to be able to do the same of you.

Of course, you will run into road bumps along the way.

This is normal when it comes to two different cultures coming together.

But these can be worked through with open communication and clear expectations…but most of all, with respect.

A little respect can go a long, long way and lead to a very happy and long relationship together.

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