While the Japanese language doesn’t assign any national descriptor to the practice, it does indeed have a phrase for “going Dutch:” warikan, which translates literally to “divided bill.” And of course, if Japanese society has a phrase for splitting the bill, some people also find themselves asking if it’s OK to do so on a date.
Popular messaging app Line’s electronic payment Line Pay division recently polled 35,915 of its users between the ages of 20 and 39, asking them who pays on their dates and how they feel about it. Starting off with a question for just the ladies (17,886 of whom responded), the survey asked how they felt about splitting the bill on a date, and found that the vast majority were OK with the idea.
● Splitting the bill evenly is OK: 69 percent of female respondents
● I want the guy to pay for everything or more than half: 25 percent
● I want to pay for more than half: 3 percent
The idea of splitting a bill in a non-50:50 ratio might seem kind of odd, but it’s not entirely unheard of in Japan. With so many restaurants also serving a wide variety of alcohol, it’s not unusual for a couple out on a date to consume several adult beverages, but often with the guy knocking back more rounds than the girl. Because of that, sometimes a guy who’s feeling slightly generous (or perhaps self-conscious about paying for everything if the relationship isn’t serious yet) will offer to pay more than half, in recognition that a large part of the bill reflects things that he ordered for his own enjoyment.
But while many of the women in the survey said they’re OK with going Dutch, when the survey asked the 18,029 men how things actually shake out on their dates, the result showed that even splits aren’t all that common, as the guys described the way their bills are settled as:
● I pay for everything: 52 percent
● I pay more than half: 38 percent
● We split the bill evenly: 6 percent
● She pays for everything or more than half: 1 percent
● Other: 3 percent
Those displays of largesse aren’t something all of the men really want to do, however. When the survey asked the guys who pay for everything or more than half how they actually feel, they said:
● I want to pay for everything/more than half: 60 percent
● I actually want to split the bill evenly: 14 percent
● I actually want her to pay something, but less than half: 11 percent
● I actually want her to pay for everything: 2 percent
● Other: 13 percent
Looking at the numbers, it seems like the 25-plus percent of guys who’re unhappy about paying for so much of the date might actually have a pretty good chance of their date being receptive to the idea of going Dutch. However, it’s important to bear in mind that the survey was done by Line Pay polling its users, and that one way the app is being marketed is by showing how easy it is to use for splitting restaurant bills. Here’s one highlighting what a pain it is having to split a bill using cash, because of things like needing exact change, some people needing to leave in a rush, and a host of other reasons.
It’s likely that Line Pay users themselves, statistically, are more receptive to the idea of splitting bills, and downloaded the app specifically to make that part of their lives easier. Because of that, Japanese women as a whole might be less accepting to going Dutch than the 69 percent of the women in the survey who said they’re OK with it, so if you’re a guy taking a girl out in Japan, it’d probably be best to be mentally prepared to pick up the entire tab, at least early on in the relationship.
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