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Int'l couples, dating Asian guys


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Japan Today's latest Vox Populi column on international relationships:

What do you think about international relationships?

Tama Nishiyama, 20

"As society becomes more globalized, the number of international marriages or relationships increases, but I think there is another reason. Another big factor is that Japanese women are now becoming stronger than before. A long time ago Japanese women just did whatever the men said but now Japanese women are not like that. That is why strong-willed Japanese girls and foreign male couples work out well and weak Japanese guys and strong foreign women couples do not work out at all."

Miho Watanabe, 20

"I see many Japanese women and foreign men couples but there aren't so many Japanese men and foreign women couples. I think that is because Japanese guys are not kind to women at all. They do not know about ladies first and other manners. As for myself, I do not want to marry a foreigner, but I would love to live in a foreign country someday with my Japanese husband."

Yuko Shikahama, 17

"Because my foreign language ability is poor, I cannot go out with foreigners because I wouldn't be able to communicate with them. But it is fine for other couples if they speak each other's language. Secondly, I can tell that my personality will not suit foreign men. I am rather conservative, not an outgoing type. However, there are many outgoing women in Japan today but Japanese males are pretty sissy and I don't think they appeal very much to foreign women."

Eiko Sazame, 18

"If I get a chance, I would like to go out with a foreigner because foreigners are cool and handsome. I would like to have a cute half-blooded baby if possible. However, I am not confident of myself to go out with a foreigner because I cannot speak English at all. But if I could get a free English conversation lesson out of the date, it would be a good idea to go out with a foreigner."

=> http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=popvox&id=354

I wonder if these quotes are representative.

On to something else. I remember that the webmaster of the site linked below once reviewed another page listed in our directory, concluding his critique with the words "Asia to the Asiatics!". Anyhow, his website - Asianguy.com - is really funny and offers alot of interesting articles and indy news.

Read this page about Asian girls' experiences in dating Asian guys:

Boo-hoo! "Why do all those Asian girls go out with non-Asian guys?" Sob, cry, WHINE. C'mon guys, have you ever stopped to notice that the complaints that Asian girls make about Asian guys are so eerily similar? "Asian guys are cheap as hell!" "Asian guys are one-dimensional doctors or engineers!", "Asian guys have no passion", "Asian guys all dress the same!", "Asian guys have nothing interesting to say!", "Asian guys treat women like objects!", "Asian guys are SO BORING!"

=> http://www.asianguy.com/ohno/ohno.html
In the words of the immortal senator Jay Billington Bulworth: "All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep f*ckin' everybody 'til they're all the same color."


Sorry for the harsh words but I just saw Bulworth recently and I did enjoy seing and thinking about it.
Two statements stand out in my mind as having potential merit. The first of which is:

"A long time ago, Japanese women just did whatever the men said, but now Japanese women are not like that. That is why strong-willed Japanese girls and foreign male couples work out well, and weak Japanese guys and strong foreign women couples do not work out at all."

Hmm... I think there may be some truth to that, although it may be oversimplifying the issue a bit.

The second statement:

"I see many Japanese women and foreign men couples, but there aren't so many Japanese men and foreign women couples. I think that is because Japanese guys are not kind to women at all. They do not know about ladies first and other manners."

Again, I think the young woman may be generalizing a bit. Nevertheless, there certainly seems to be a disproportionate number of Japanese women with Gaikokujin men instead of vice-versa suggesting she may be right on some level.

Interesting stuff at any rate 👏
well i think this isnt just a japanese thing is asians in general, though i can really only draw off my own expreiences and what my girlfriend has told me. shes vietnamese and both her and her sister want to marry western men. she says that western men treat their women better that asian men, e.g. not as objects, and westerners are gernerally more open about showing they care about her. i personally beleive that a alot of that has to do with western culture and that a second or third generation asian-american male would treat a woman the same way as any western male.
also alot the the asian men who have hit on her are 10 or more years her senior, which kinda leads her to the belief that asian men are old perverts.
another thing is that she thinks that mix babies are really beautiful. i have to agree with that. alot of it has to do with personal opinion of things.
i heard something on the radio today which i think is relevent: "once you stop learning from your partner you tend to lose interest" and with international couples theres a whole lot to learn about each other and cultrues and even languages if you take the time. which is a lot more than two people who grew up in the same town or country. not to say that two people who were raised in the same place couldnt have a perfectly happy life together. but with the world getting smaller everyday i can see alot more international marriages and not just between asian girls and western guys but between males and females of all nationalities.
i do have quite a few more thoughts on this, but i feel that im gettin long-winded, and you all are probally getting tired of listening to me, so i'll just stop here.
Originally posted by Iron Chef

"I see many Japanese women and foreign men couples but there aren't so many Japanese men and foreign women couples. I think that is because Japanese guys are not kind to women at all. They do not know about ladies first and other manners"

Again, I think the young woman may be generalizing a bit, nevertheless there certainly seems to be a disproportionate number of Japanese women with Gaikokujin men as opposed to vice-versa suggesting she may be right on some level.

Interesting stuff at any rate 👏

I'm going to disagree, because I belong to an online group of gaijin women who are wives/partners of Japanese men and I've never heard anything about them being unkind. The biggest problem seems to be the merging of two different cultures.
There's two ways to look at this. If you are that open-minded, can communicate, and willing to take some flack from both ethnic sides (your race and his/hers) and families, then there's really no major issue.

However on the other side of the coin, I've noticed a few foreign guys (in particular) that only look specifically for asian girls as if it were a fetish they need to fulfill and that in itself is not cool.
I wasn't agreeing with her statement that Japanese men may or may not be "unkind" rather that there is indeed a disproportionate number of Japanese women with foreign men (as opposed to vice-versa) and very little evidence to suggest why this is and might be worth further studying from a sociological perspective. I agree with your statement that "The biggest problem seems to be the merging of two different cultures." I also think this very same thing in part has to do with the initial attraction and appeal for both sides as well, which presents an interesting conundrum taking the age-old adage of "opposites attract" to the extreme. At any rate, it's all speculative at best but fascinating discussion nonetheless.
You're right, it is a fascinating sociological study, and there has been at least one recent book written on the topic.
Here's one of Gil Asakawa's latest columns shedding some light on how cinema approached the issue of mixed couples:

"Hot Asian Babes" -- Then and Now

=> http://nikkeiview.japanreference.com/article.php?ID=78
As a very non-submissive caucasian American female who is married to a native Japanese male, I have to speak up here. My husband is a very nice man who is always there for his children and me. He puts some of the American males I know to shame. I know that he would never run out on me and I know he will always give me freedom and respect.

It seems to me that I have heard that the divorce rate among Japanese females/American males is extremely high. I know there are many, many different reasons for this, but I think a lot of it stems from the American male being disillusioned about Japanese females and vice versa. I think a lot of American males think that Japanese females are submissive and will constantly dote on them and cater to their needs without question, and I think Japanese females are thinking that American males are so much more sensitive to their needs and are so kawaii, and also some of them want very badly to go to the USA(when applicable).

After being married awhile, I think both parties come to a very rude awakening which causes divorce in a lot of cases. I know several Okinawan women who are divorced from their American husbands and the ones who aren't divorced are acting like they're divorced. I have had a few of them tell me that all that matters to them is that their husbands make money and stay gone. Isn't that a popular saying in Japan? Something about the wives wanting the husband to stay healthy, make money and stay out of the house? And on the other hand, the Japanese women finding out that their western husbands are not all they expected, either.

I think there are two sides to everything. I've been told by Japanese men that Japanese women only care about such things as their children(I have 3 myself and of course, I care about them, but not to the point of shutting their father out), elaborate bento making, shopping, their friends, etc. and don't really care about their husbands. I think there might be another saying about the business man wishing to hop the train for somewhere far away? Maybe because he has nothing really to come home to?

I'm just saying that everyone and every situation is different. No one ever speaks up for the Japanese male and just automatically assumes that all of them are chauvinists, abusers, alcoholics, whatever. Within every relationship, there is good and bad. No matter what race you are. People are people?

Sorry for the rant.

Oh, and the book about American female/Japanese male marriages is called Looking Beyond the Mask. It's really quite interesting and offers a different look on things.

P.S.--Thanks for the nice comment about my group, Haivart!
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Rachel, Haivart, thanks for sharing your thoughts. One brief word on submissiveness: I can only talk for myself, but generally I do not believe that "Westerners" marry Japanese ladies because they indulge in something like a "Madame Butterfly syndrome". Perhaps such cases exist, but I assume they are not the rule. I am married to a Japanese myself, and submission was never expected. People are people, I agree to that.

Oh, and just to clear things up: I did not intend to denigrate Japanese husbands, I was just astonished to read the stereotypical comments I listed in my first post.

has anyone noticed....

Have people forgotten that manners and all culture don't really seem to matter. I know lots of people who have fallen in love with people they didn't like at first or weren't sure of.

I can't speak for any of you, but I can say that as a foreiner leaving for japan in just three days, I hope to fall in love with a guy someday. and if he's japanese then so be it. I'll have fallen for that person because of who he is not because I want to prove a statistic wrong.
@Shin, i personaly havent really caught any flack from either her family or mine, though i can see where that would come into play with alot of couples.

@Kiana, i dont think anyone here is with their signifigant other just to prove a statistic right or wrong.

also i agree with thomas, my relationship never had anything to do with her being submissive or whatever other stereotype, hell i still cant beleive she actually loves me.
that's how it goes huh?

You never do quite believe that person has fallen in love with you until it finally happens and then you land on ur a$$ stunned and bewildered.

Isn't love great lol! I think having an international relationship is very special but, I would be honored to have someone love me regardless of the relationship's status.
Hmm... all this discussion has really set my mind to racing. Let's open it up a bit and I apologize if perhaps I am getting off-topic and this pertains more to the Society and Gender forum. The question I would like to pose to all of you then is to what extent then does culture play in overcoming barriers and obstaces for a relationship between say a Japanese and non-Japanese to be successful? Frame it in whichever context you'd like, whether it be from two single people casually dating, two people who have been dating for some time and are considering the possibility of marriage, or two people who have been married for some time, etc.

You see, I think culture does play a crucial role--both early on in order to establish a solid foundation, as well as later for longevity. Certainly, there has to be an open and honest appreciation of both cultures for a relationship to thrive beyond it's initial attraction or "Honeymoon" stage. To what extent has culture been a barrier or obstacle for those of you who have experienced it firsthand from a relationship perspective?

For myself, I did date casually for several years while in Japan although I was too caught up in my work to ever commit to anything more serious than an occasional movie date here and there so I can not speak from experience per se. Although, I do have a dear friend (fellow American) who met and fell in love with a Japanese woman. Their courtship was somewhat secret at first as her family are very traditional and it took them the better part of five years from the time they were dating until they were engaged, and eventually got married before they accepted him fully into their family. I would suspect that this type of behavior on the part of her family is by no means unique and I would encourage any of you to share with us similar experiences you may have had in overcoming cultural barriers or obstacles in fostering or nurtering your relationships. Thanks for reading.
You know, I really like it here! :) I was expecting to get flamed bigtime for what I said, but I didn't, and I thank you all for that. It's so nice to come into a forum that's nice and respectful. It just makes me happy.

Anyway, Thomas, I know that not all western guys are after the Japanese girls for their stereotypical submissiveness, but I have actually heard American men say(including some men very close to me) that they would like to have a nice, quiet, virtuous Asian woman instead of the head-strong American woman they're used to. Of course, as we all know, that is just purely a stereotype. That was part of my whole point. Some of these men that are buying into this stereotype marry Japanese/Asian women and then later find out they are definitely not what they anticipated, because they can be just as head-strong! 👍

And Iron Chef, there have been several obstacles for my husband me. Amazingly enough, though, my family accepted him with open arms(surprise! Southern family!) and his family accepted me too. We're lucky that my husband's family is very supportive of him. You have to realize that my husband is chonan(oldest/only son) and he came to America almost 8 years ago and has only been back to Japan once and doesn't ever intend to go back there to live with his parents. And after I have heard some of the horror stories from other gaijin wives of chonan, I can't believe his parents are so accepting of everything.

A lot of the obstacles we have encountered have been over child-rearing. Things like the babies don't need coats or socks in the cold because it supposedly makes them stronger, hitting kids on the head with the knuckles for punishment, teething doesn't hurt, just little things like this that can always escalate into something else. Also, other things that we clash about are his whole work ethic in general, his conservativeness, the inability to fully communicate/express feelings that leads to bottling of emotions, the inability to say NO, and a few more. I would elaborate on all of these, but I feel I'm being a little long-winded as it is.

All of those things, we have tried to meet halfway on. I have to admit that it can be pretty difficult at times, just like any other relationship that has its difficult moments.
Thanks for sharing Kirei, that's very insightful and I think you are indeed very fortunate both his and your families were so open-minded. That's good to hear. My own family has a similar background in that I am actually half Vietnamese but I have two brothers who are full-blooded Vietnamese from my mother's first marriage (she has since been twice widowed). All my brother's life he primarily dated Vietnamese girls even after graduating from college. Ultimately though, he ended up marrying a blond, blue-eyed girl from south Florida (go figure) and her family has been nothing short of spectacular in opening their arms to both my brother and our family. They've had their fair share of ups and downs (she's not a fan of Vietnamese cuisine for instance, heh) but when my nephew was born everything seemed to fall in place. For myself, I know that I shall return to Japan someday soon and should I be fortunate enough to meet someone this second time around it is my hope that her family will be as open-minded.
Inspired by this fascinating thread I started to reread a book I have bought in Japan years ago:

"The Modern Madame Butterfly - Fantasy and Reality in Japanese Cross-Cultural Relationships" by Karen Ma.

Ma devotes two-thirds of her book to relationships between Western men and Japanese women, because "this combination has been the most prevalent in Japan and continues to dominate the intercultural dating scene". However, one chapter deals with the subject of Japanese men, because she "feels that the stereotypes of Japanese men are the very opposite of the stereotypes of Japanese women".

Ma's data seems to be a bit outdated (the late 80s, early 90s) and I wouldn't regard her book as the bible of intercultural relationships, but it's quite insightful and enlightening.
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Being a good librarian, I borrowed the book from the library and have started reading it. It appears to be a good overall view of the topic, though I wish some aspects (especially historical) had been gone into a bit deeper.
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