Japan is an amazing country in the way its culture incorporates both the ancient as well as the uber-advanced. So here you can find people still taking part in age-old formal tea ceremony while leading the world in robotic technology. For this and many other reasons, the Japanese are thought to be difficult to understand, especially in terms of personal relationships. Here are however a few pointers on what Japanese men are really like and what to expect when dating them.
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Part of a formal culture
In Japanese culture, formality and ritual signs of respect are more highly valued as compared to the American social context. Thus you may find your male Japanese friend behaving with some formality even in social or in casual settings. This is not so much because he is not interested in you but because it is his way of treating a lady, or any acquaintance for that matter with respect. Sometimes this formality may take the form of indirect communication where he may enquire about your work, schedule and family before asking for your phone number. This kind of indirectness is also evident during conversations, for instance you may be discussing a topic like economic recession or environmental degradation and you may notice he won't directly give his opinion on the matter. Instead, he might express his feelings by less direct methods, like by hinting or through gestures and actions.
Learn to read in between the lines
Another aspect of their rather formal culture is that Japanese take great pains not to appear rude or disrespectful to others. This often leads them to be extremely polite about doing something which they may not want to in their hearts. So even if a first date has gone well and your Japanese partner has called you to go out again, the tricky part is to determine if he is sincere about it or if he is just being polite. If you don't hear from the guy at all for a long time or if he sounds as if he is just being polite, then treat him with the same polite formality. The relationship will come to an end without any complications. On the other hand if the guy calls and you sense sincerity the first time, find an excuse and ask him to call again. If he does so and sounds even more sincere, then agree immediately if you are really interested in him. Most probably this could be your last chance since you might be embarrassing him if you do not accept the date. And the whole point of all the formality in Japanese culture is an effort to avoid embarrassment at all costs.
They like feminine women
Japanese men like women to be dressed in decent and respectable manner. Women who turn up in skimpy clothes or revealing costumes are looked down upon in Japanese culture which is still basically conservative. They also dislike women who behave raucously since in Japanese culture both men and women are expected to maintain social decorum and propriety. So a woman who swears and makes gross jokes around a Japanese man may be considered ill-mannered and unattractive. In fact traditionally women in Japanese society were expected to be demure, graceful and soft-spoken. And while Japanese women are an integral part of the public sphere now, they still prefer a feminine appearance over a pantsuits and faded jeans. So if you dress and behave elegantly and demonstrate both respect for yourself and for others, including your date, then he is likely to admire you and appreciate your cultural sensitivity.
Rather private people
Being a formal and still conservative society, open expression of feelings is not really common in Japanese culture. Thus while your Japanese guy may really like you and genuinely interested in getting to know you better, he may not be so vocal about his intentions. Instead of wooing you with lovelorn words or expressing his romantic ardor, he may use non-verbal cues and gestures to convey his interest in you. Because of his shyness, your date may be nervous about making a move such as giving you a goodnight kiss or something more intimate and so he may not act at all. Again, this trait should not be mistaken for his disinterest. The best thing to do is to give him some time and let your relationship move at a relaxed pace. Eventually he will make a move. On the other hand, if you want to make a move first, follow his own preference of the indirect style so that he is not scared off. Try sending him a text message or an emailing to subtly tell him how you feel and see if he starts to open up.
Since Japanese culture is a private one, people here are not comfortable with public show and spectacle. So even if you are crazy about your Japanese boyfriend, avoid over-dramatic or spectacular gestures of love which will only end up causing acute embarrassment to your partner. For the same reason don’t mind if your Japanese partner is not too keen on PDAs or public display of affection. Rather keep things private between the two of you since small, deeply-felt personal expressions like a love letter or a meaningful gift are the best ways to convey your love for your man.
Long term relationships
Dating in the American sense is very new to Japan. Rather here couples engage in a more formal courtship since the end of relationships is usually considered to be a formal commitment like marriage. So if you feel that your Japanese boyfriend is genuinely interested in you, keep in mind that he may be looking at long-term plans. If you are merely interested in casual dating, now would be a good time to make your priorities clear.
Overall Japanese men may be rather slow in dating, but in the end, they are more likely to be steady and dependable. Indeed in Japanese culture it is more important for men to be capable of taking care of their families and making them comfortable rather than indulging on extravagant and public gestures of affection.