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Letters from Japan: ‘How do you find a good man?’

28 Comments
By HILARY KEYES

Savvy Tokyo's resident "Love in Japan" columnist, Hilary Keyes, answers anonymous questions from readers on everything from dating in Japan to women’s health issues. Got a question you’d like to ask Hilary? Send it to askhilary@savvytokyo.com.

Dear Hilary,

Please advise me. Since moving to Japan three years ago, I didn’t have as much of a cultural shock as everyone said I would. I felt like I fit into the rhythm of things here quickly. That was, until I tried dating. I soon discovered that many men here have a very different idea of “loyalty” than what I was used to. I’ve now heard too many people say: “it’s just physical, so it’s not cheating.” What’s worse (if that’s possible) is women allowing it because “men have needs like that.” I was fundamentally shaken. My home country doesn’t even have a red-light district (that I’ve heard of) but the ones here are absolutely enormous! 

As for my personal experience, my ex cheated on me without so much as a sorry. Whether it was some services, an acquaintance or go-kon [groups dates], I don’t know, but he completely hid the fact that he actually didn’t think of those things as cheating and had blithely admitted it at some point, actually hoping I would consent. I felt like I had been naive, trusting and stupid. I then started to ask friends, and checked online and realized just how unfamiliar for me it gets here. From sketchy “massage” parlors, fuzoku [sex trade], to papakatsu [sugar daddies] and all kinds of perverted, either legal and illegal services, and how a huge portion of men take part in it. And how a surprising number of women allow it (even when most of them still dislike it). Not to mention I got groped on the train twice as well. Something I never had to deal with. 

Did you know the age of consent in Japan is 13 for females? That’s the third-lowest in the world. And if a man over 20 slept with a 14-year-old it would just be a misdemeanor. What’s with that?! I’m not against people doing what they like, if they’re two consenting adults, but it feels like there are often darker things going on here. I read that an estimated 50% of females have been molested on trains and 95% of crimes go unreported. Not to drag all that into this but, when I started going down the rabbit hole, things just got stranger and stranger. 

Obviously, it’s now extremely hard for me to trust anyone, although I logically know there must be good men out there. I just feel completely shaken to the core by all this all at once. How do I find a guy that doesn’t lie, and actually really won’t go there? Let alone, a few years down the line of marriage (where everyone tends to drift apart a bit, get older and look less attractive to their spouse etc). How do any men here stay loyal? Family life isn’t even emphasized here… And apparently, older men sometimes prefer to talk out their worries at one of the numerous snack bars instead of their wives. Help. 

–Overwhelmed

Dear Overwhelmed,

I thought about shortening your message, but you made a lot of valid and important points that people should take into consideration before dating in general—let alone dating in Japan.

The statistics and industries you mentioned exist all over the globe; they aren’t uniquely Japanese whatsoever. While I don’t know where you’re from originally, I can almost guarantee you that there are red-light districts of some kind there, to say nothing of sex workers. The sex industry itself is a subject fraught with debate and discrimination the world over, which makes it even more difficult to speak of in regards to a different culture.

Aside from your ex’s possible use of said services, his admission and potential hope for your consent on the matter is what I want to focus on. I’m not sure how long you two were dating, but I assume that you considered it a serious, committed relationship. Unfortunately, either he didn’t feel the same way or he did but assumed you wouldn’t have the nerve to call him on his behavior. I’m glad that you did though. You shouldn’t be with someone that treats you like that.

I previously wrote an article on adultery and how it may be changing. Off the top of my head, I can think of five previous Ask Hilary articles that dealt with cheating by either the Japanese or foreign partner.

Click here to read more.

© Savvy Tokyo

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments

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The sexual revolution brought on by the feminists was supposed to liberate women.

It ended up liberating men.

Men don't need to buy women flowers, pay for their dinner or offer them a ring.

All men have to do is swipe on their smartphone and their needs are satisfied.

Women need to collectively be hard to get so men have to make an effort to get sex.

As long as women are "liberated", they will never get the attention they crave.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

What a strange "question." It starts with a normal question, nut then descends into a rambling critique of Japanese misogyny and sexual attitudes. Maybe she should give up on men and just find a good woman.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

BroncoToday 08:26 am JST

Men don't need to buy women flowers, pay for their dinner or offer them a ring.

And women don't need men to buy us flowers, pay for our dinner, or give us jewelry. Surprise, we can buy those things for ourselves because we have money.

All men have to do is swipe on their smartphone and their needs are satisfied.

Heh. I think you know that's not the case. If anyone can get sex on dating sties as easily as swiping right, it's women.

Women need to collectively be hard to get so men have to make an effort to get sex.

Because of course, in your mind the only thing men ever want from women is sex, and all women want from men is their wallet.

As long as women are "liberated", they will never get the attention they crave.

This is very, very telling.

Men very, very often lack empathy for women, and instead of seeing women as equals and partners, they see them only as a means to get sex. They can't identify with women as human beings, can't put themselves in womens' shoes, or see things from womens' point of view. They're incapable of being friends with women, and if you can't be friends with a woman, you can't have a good loving equal relationship with one, either. And men don't even know that this is what's happening, because they're far to wrapped in in what they want to find out what their partner wants - this is why when a woman instigates divorce, the man goes "wha happen"?

This isn't all men, of course - gay men are actually really empathetic, which is why so many women love having gay guy friends. And some straight men - men you would probably deride as beta males - also see women as people and treat them as they would treat their guy friends. These men are gems and I cherish each and every one of my male friends who goes out of his way to really try to see women for who they are, as people, instead of looking at them only as "can I hit that."

This is true of western men, but goes six times for Japanese males. They grow up in a culture that celebrates maleness and derides women as less-than. They see women as incompetent and treat them like children. So if you are a foreign woman, and want a partner who will treat you as an equal with love and respect, I'd tell you not to bother dating in Japan at all.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

commanteer Today 10:04 am JST

What a strange "question." It starts with a normal question, nut then descends into a rambling critique of Japanese misogyny and sexual attitudes. Maybe she should give up on men and just find a good woman.

That's a fantastic idea. Sadly it doesn't work that way.

If only I had a magic wand for turning women lesbian, I'd make many, many women much happier.

But just in case, maybe I should give this lady my phone number. LOL...

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

She's could be describing some men around the world, (not only in japan) but certainly not all men. Get a balance, girl

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But just in case, maybe I should give this lady my phone number. LOL...

Why not, no mess, no stress, right??? Lots of women enjoy some play with a girlfriend from time to time but most won't admit it. You don't need to turn into a lesbian, that's a different concept.

And, a woman knows exactly what to do to another woman and exactly where to do it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

'Good' man.. by who's definition? These two people clearly just had mismatched values, and due the fact so many people in Japan based on her research do not think the same way as her (including other women), what's 'good' and 'bad' is obviously subjective.

I don't necessarily agree it's okay to sleep with other people while in a committed relationship - but hey, that's for each couple to discuss and decide their terms for themselves. After all, the whole point of dating is to actively find how well your ideals and worldviews align, rather than just assuming and hoping for the best. Especially important when dating within a different culture. Both she and her partner failed to do this, but instead of being introspective she's resorted to shaming and misandry after the fact. That's not helpful for anyone, least of which herself.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Overwhelmed is all over the shop on this. She class some males as perverts for patronage of sex workers. So she classed all sex workers has perverts also. Then goes on to state” I’m not against people doing what they like, if they’re two consenting adults. Overwhelmed seem to be selfish and very self-centred. Plus she doesn’t understand the meaning of loyalty. To masturbate or to have sex with someone else is not being disloyal. If self indulgence not disloyalty.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

LamillyToday 12:47 pm JST

She's could be describing some men around the world, (not only in japan) but certainly not all men. Get a balance, girl

I do believe I did say "not all men" and was pretty clear on that. Don't know why that is unbalanced, but okay.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Elvis is here Today 03:00 pm JST

Those comments are shameless misandry with a touch of racism. Imagine a man saying such things about women! They would be rightly called misogynistic.

Well, you can't say those things about women, because women don't see men in the same way in which men see women. Accusing a woman of misandry is akin to accusing a Black person of reverse-racism.

And we see a ton of misogyny in the comments section here all the time - it's just that men don't call out other men for misogyny, and instead just join right in. But men don't hesitate to attack when a woman points it out, do they.

After all,

Who commits rape? Overwhelmingly men.

Who commits domestic violence? Overwhelmingly men.

Who commits domestic murders? Overwhelmingly men.

Who asserts the right to dominate in relationships by "wearing the pants"? Overwhelmingly men.

Who patronizes sex workers, and then turns around sex shames them? Only men.

Japanese culture is even more male-dominated than western culture, but as it's a less violent society there isn't the same rate of violence against women, so that's one backhanded compliment I can readily give.

Sadly, equality has a long waaaay to go.

Yes, it really does.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Kind of ridiculous to lump mem together like that.

Perhaps she should get more comfortable with planet earth, instead of assuming a statement like “how can I find a good man”?

If I titled a letter “how to find a good lady” and then continued on to bash all the negative situations I’ve been in, I’d expect a lot of scorn.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

girl in tokyo

Sorry thats just not true.

All the things you said “only men” do, women also do, just at a lower rate because they don’t have testosterone.

If women were bigger and stronger then guys would be getting beat by them.

” Accusing a woman of misandry is akin to accusing a Black person of reverse-racism.”

Ok what? Anyone of any race can be racist or do racist things.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That's a fantastic idea. Sadly it doesn't work that way.

If only I had a magic wand for turning women lesbian, I'd make many, many women much happier.

But just in case, maybe I should give this lady my phone number. LOL...

GIT,

Google is your friend, lesbians divorce at 2-3 times the rate of gay men!! So the above wont make women happier, it will do the opposite in fact!

https://www.aecainlaw.com/blog/2021/05/why-do-lesbian-couples-divorce-more-frequently/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just change one word for another...at it becomes simple: Men to (=) Women or Women to (=) Men....

“Men (=Women) very, very often lack empathy for women (=Men), and instead of seeing women (=Men) as equals and partners, they see them only as a means to get sex. They can't identify with women (=Men) as human beings, can't put themselves in womens' (=Men’s) shoes, or see things from womens' (=Men’s) point of view. They're incapable of being friends with women (=Men), and if you can't be friends with a woman (=Man), you can't have a good loving equal relationship with one, either. And men (women) don't even know that this is what's happening, because they're far to wrapped in in what they want to find out what their partner wants - this is why when a woman (man) instigates divorce, the man (woman) goes "wha happen"? 

This isn't all men (women), of course - gay men (women) are actually really empathetic, which is why so many women (men) love having gay guy friends. And some straight men (women) - men (women) you would probably deride as beta males (females) - also see women (men) as people and treat them as they would treat their guy (not gender difference) friends. These men (women) are gems and I cherish each and every one of my male (female) friends who goes out of his (her) way to really try to see women (men) for who they are, as people, instead of looking at them only as "can I hit that."

This is true of western men (women), but goes six times for Japanese males (females). They grow up in a culture that celebrates maleness (femaleness) and derides women (men) as less-than. They see women (men) as incompetent and treat them like children. So if you are a foreign woman (man), and want a partner who will treat you as an equal with love and respect, I'd tell you not to bother dating in Japan at all."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Men very, very often lack empathy for women, and instead of seeing women as equals and partners, they see them only as a means to get sex. They can't identify with women as human beings, can't put themselves in womens' shoes, or see things from womens' point of view. They're incapable of being friends with women, and if you can't be friends with a woman, you can't have a good loving equal relationship with one, either.

One of the most breathtakingly wrong-headed, anti-human paragraphs I've ever read anywhere. Congratulations.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

A good man is such a good man when his friend (girl) is betrayed by her man, a good man is there to do his good part to comfort her, from lips to lips to a random one night stand. Yeah, he's still a good man.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If only I had a magic wand for turning women lesbian, I'd make many, many women much happier. But just in case, maybe I should give this lady my phone number. LOL...

Really? Not for too long, according to the studies quoted in this article...

(Netherlands) Of the 580 lesbian couples who were married in 2005, 30% were divorced ten years later compared to 18% for heterosexual couples and 15% for gay male couples...

(Scandinavia) A study on short-term same-sex registered partnerships in Norway and Sweden found that divorce rates were higher for same-sex couples than opposite-sex marriages, and that unions of lesbians are considerably less stable than unions of gay men

(UK) As of 2013, lesbian couples were twice as likely to initiate actions to end legally recognized partnerships as compared to gay men. In 2016, married female couples were approximately 2.5 times more likely to divorce than male couples.... According to Office for National Statistics, divorce rate of heterosexual couples is at its lowest since 1971 in England and Wales. The divorce rate for same-sex couples increased in 2016 and 2017, which the Office for National Statistics explained as a likely result of the fact that same-sex marriages have only been legal since 2014

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_of_same-sex_couples

Indicates a certain instability and a lack of understanding or empathy among females in relationships, whether hetero or homo, most people would conclude...

I can't accuse you of misandry, because you've claimed that...

Accusing a woman of misandry is akin to accusing a Black person of reverse-racism.

Oh well, that's that argument then. But I will accuse you of being heterophobic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"girl in tokyo

Sorry thats just not true.

All the things you said “only men” do, women also do, just at a lower rate because they don’t have testosterone."

They (women) don’t do it at a “lower rate,” but in a “Passive-Agressive” way.

It is just under the radar. So, the percentages are smaller.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

BroncoToday 08:26 am JST

Men don't need to buy women flowers, pay for their dinner or offer them a ring.

And women don't need men to buy us flowers, pay for our dinner, or give us jewelry. Surprise, we can buy those things for ourselves because we have money.

Yep, dating, chivalry women have killed that off, but many still use men for foodie calls & want presents, trips etc, knowing full well they have little interest in most guys & ones they are had better make a LOT more $$$ than they do LOL! Most are insanely entitled!

All men have to do is swipe on their smartphone and their needs are satisfied.

Heh. I think you know that's not the case. If anyone can get sex on dating sties as easily as swiping right, it's women.

THIS is true! Far too many women are too promiscuous & unable to pair bond, many have lots of short term stuff & little to no relationship experience & then in their 30s when they are getting old they want a top shelf guy, BUT they DONT want to become a WIFE...crazy! But the guy must be a traditional husband..... and making good $$$

Men very, very often lack empathy for women, and instead of seeing women as equals and partners, they see them only as a means to get sex. They can't identify with women as human beings, can't put themselves in womens' shoes, or see things from womens' point of view.

WOW, just wow!!

They're incapable of being friends with women, and if you can't be friends with a woman, you can't have a good loving equal relationship with one, either. And men don't even know that this is what's happening, because they're far to wrapped in in what they want to find out what their partner wants - this is why when a woman instigates divorce, the man goes "wha happen"?

Being friends & being in a relationship are two SEPERATE things. As for divorce come on now at least be honest, in the west family courts heavily favour women over men BIG TIME!! So women are HIGHLY incentivized to divorce, even if they have behaved atrociously courts will award them child custody, home guys & a ton of $$$ from the father. Getting married is very DANGEROUS for men, that is why men are avoiding it like the plague the institution has become!

This isn't all men, of course - gay men are actually really empathetic, which is why so many women love having gay guy friends. And some straight men - men you would probably deride as beta males - also see women as people and treat them as they would treat their guy friends. These men are gems and I cherish each and every one of my male friends who goes out of his way to really try to see women for who they are, as people, instead of looking at them only as "can I hit that."

Sigh, you are mostly TAKING from your gay & beta simp ""friends"" they are getting much if anything in return likely. Guys you are better off not doing the above, its time you wont ever get back!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So men are unhinged. Well I seen women doing beastinality porn for money. Is that unhinged ? I wonder if those women are loyal with their mammals partners. I am loyal my K9 but I am not having a sexual relationship with my dog. But I known of women having sexual relationships with there dogs, is that unhinged also? Humans are very strange mammals and trying to tag males under one banner is really discrimination.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And women don't need men to buy us flowers, pay for our dinner, or give us jewelry. Surprise, we can buy those things for ourselves because we have money.

Then please explain to me why women who have jobs, still expect the guy to pay for a date? Some of the reasons I heard from women is "if he invites me, he should pay", or "I spend time and money looking good, so the guy should pay". Please do share your thoughts on this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lorem ipsumToday 08:12 pm JST

Then please explain to me why women who have jobs, still expect the guy to pay for a date? Some of the reasons I heard from women is "if he invites me, he should pay", or "I spend time and money looking good, so the guy should pay". Please do share your thoughts on this.

Sure, I'll share my thoughts. But first, let's correct one thing:

*why some women who have jobs, still expect the guy to pay for the first date.*

I hate to have to say it, but #notallwomen expect men to pay for each and every date. But as for those who do, I think some want men to pay for first dates as a way to demonstrate sincerity, while others probably are entitled and think men should cater to them. I can understand, though not endorse, the first reason. But the second one just makes me think you're dating the wrong women. My suggestion would be to split the check, and if she acts out like an entitled princess, don't go out with her again. But at the same time, be ready to suggest going places that both of you can afford.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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