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Japanese Women – Tips on How to Better Understand Them

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Stop me if you have experienced this before: a beautiful Japanese woman catches your eye. You try to make eye contact with the hope that she reciprocates. After a few nervous attempts you finally make contact. She quickly averts her eyes and you believe she has just given you the signal to approach. After mustering the requisite courage you smoothly make your way over to her only to have her decline your advance or worse shriek and run away in apparent disgust. You are perplexed because, as far as you were concerned, all the signs were there. Unfortunately, you are using signs applicable to Western women. Although it is changing, direct eye to eye contact is, to the contrary, considered quite rude in Japan.

Let us for the moment assume you have successfully navigated past the clumsy hi-my-name-is-so-and-so stage and managed to strike up a conversation. You are probably thinking at this point that everything is fine and you are in the clear. Sometimes this might be so, but with Japanese women you are always being tested. The words you choose, your mannerisms, the way you dress–these are all being scrutinized.

There is no one way or strategy to help you to understand Japanese women; however, there are certain rules, tips, and pointers that can help you to avoid the pitfalls that befall many. Here is one I learned from my time in Japan: Office romance does not work with Japanese women. This is something you can take to the bank. There is something in Japan called hon ne (true feeling or emotion) and tate mae (what is shown outwardly). If a Japanese woman is showing you her hon ne, it certainly will not be in a public place like the office. Further, it would cause her great shame to be the subject of affection in such a public setting. In short, if there is someone you are eying at the workplace, making a public advance there may not be a good idea.

Dating a Japanese woman is not necessarily tricky, but a small misunderstanding may lead to an uncomfortable end. When I first came to Japan, my impulse was to always insist on paying for whatever meal my date wanted. No, I am not well off, but that was the norm when I was growing up. For Japanese women, it is quite common for the bill to be paid “Dutch” style.

A relationship with a Japanese woman can be quite fulfilling and uplifting, once you have successfully navigated the rough seas of cultural differences and peculiar quirks.


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