lifestyle

The economics of dating in Japan: Who pays the bill?

20 Comments
By Hilary Keyes

The guy goes first. He gets a nice Moleskine notebook and a fancy ballpoint pen. He thanks her. The girl goes next. She opens a small box to find a Swarovski earring and necklace set. She thanks him. They finish lunch, they get the bill at the table, and… he only has ¥2,000 in his wallet. The girl opens her wallet and pulls out ¥10,000 which more than covers the bill, and they leave together, both smiling and holding hands. The end.

This actual date happened right next to me when I was writing another article. I made a note of what happened for two reasons: one, they were both being very vocal about their gifts and their discussion of the bill, and two, because it got me thinking about the economics of dating in Japan.

The lingering debate

Traditionally speaking, “men are supposed to pay for everything” on a date, but in my opinion that’s so far out of touch, it doesn’t even bear thinking about. Things are a lot more expensive nowadays (thanks to the ever-increasing consumption tax!), women can work and earn their own living, and frankly speaking, putting the full financial burden of a relationship only on one partner is just plain wrong.

And it’s not just me who thinks that way. According to a 2015 survey conducted in the US and cited in a Sage Journal research paper on “Who Pays for Dates?”, 64% of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, while 40% of women felt annoyed if men refused to accept their contribution to the bill.

In Japan, however, there are still some remnants of this old-fashioned train of thought.

Click here to read more.

© Savvy Tokyo

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20 Comments
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In Japan the men pay for everything

1 ( +6 / -5 )

In Japan the men pay for everything

I always found women in Japan are pretty open to paying their share. Of course, a gentleman will, if making a decent wage, take on the burden of the share.

Usually the guy can pay for dinner, then let the girl buy them a drink somewhere afterwards.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The wife is always happy to open her purse and graciously stump up whatever's necessary.

Almost charming enough to make me forget that she is the sole possessor of my bank book....

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Is it really a responsibility? From my experience most Japanese women are happy to contribute and offer to do so. However, on the other hand, I dated a woman from another nearby Asian country for 8 months and never saw her purse open. It is a personal choice. The man should always pay on the first date though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The guy goes first. He gets a nice Moleskine notebook and a fancy ballpoint pen. He thanks her. The girl goes next. She opens a small box to find a Swarovski earring and necklace set. She thanks him. They finish lunch, they get the bill at the table, and… he only has ¥2,000 in his wallet. The girl opens her wallet and pulls out ¥10,000 which more than covers the bill, and they leave together, both smiling and holding hands. 

This is rare.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I think men should pay for dates.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

An old Chinese proverb comes to mind: a generous man always has honey.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I think men should pay for dates.

What if both people are men? Or both are women?

Both people should pay for the date.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Usually the guy can pay for dinner, then let the girl buy them a drink somewhere afterwards.

Precisely what I do...I get the meal, she can get the coffee or a drink later even if she offers to pay half at the restaurant.....it maybe not be 50/50 but 80 /20 is fair enough, what counts is thats she actually offers to contribute and is no just a freeloader...yeah..male pride comes in to it a little.

The wife is always happy to open her purse and graciously stump up whatever's necessary.

Almost charming enough to make me forget that she is the sole possessor of my bank book....

Lol....like that. :-)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Both people should pay for the date.

It's fine to think that way, and there is nothing wrong with it.

But be aware that by holding this attitude, you will be cutting yourself off from a lot of women who disagree.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But be aware that by holding this attitude, you will be cutting yourself off from a lot of women who disagree.

Cutting myself off? What on earth are you banging on about. Women who contribute to an evening out are the norm, in my experience. Who wants to socialise with a ponce?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Women who contribute to an evening out are the norm, in my experience.

Sure, as I said, you can let them buy you a drink afterwards.

But few women respect a guy who makes them pay half when first dating.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

True.  I think that one person paying is fine as agreed between the two daters.  Just my personal preference not to discuss money when dating.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I went on a date once, and after dinner, while she was in the ladies room, I paid the bill.

When she came back she was a little annoyed because she had planned to pay all along.

On a subsequent date, after dinner, when she needed to answer the call of nature, she grabbed the bill and took it with her.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One thing I love is when you're at the pub -alone or with a mate- and your gf/date joins you & buys the first round (which might well be your 2nd/3rd/4th etc).

"hey guys, my shout. what are you drinking?" Best feeling, you think 'might be a keeper'.

In my experience, Irish & British girls -gf or mates/colleagues- were the best (at buying rounds/paying their share etc) followed by euros, americans & aussies then Asian girls (prob cause they don't have the same pub culture).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

She pays her part, I pay mine. If we keep on dating, sometimes I pay for the whole bill and other times she does. Or we keep splitting the bill on equal or each pay for what he/she ate. Fair all around. The women who felt offended for me splitting the bill, I gave them all the middle finger. The ones who thought it was normal, we kept on dating.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If I couldn't afford to pay the bill, I wouldn't have asked her out on that date. We might have done something cheaper. I have never had a woman offer to pay, but I have no problem with that, if she wants to. I also have no problem with a female partner making more money than I do, which sometimes happens these days.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I went on a date once, and after dinner, while she was in the ladies room, I paid the bill.

I usually pay when I go to the restroom. I do this with business all the time. It removes the uncomfortable conversation about who pays. If they put up a fuss - let them buy a drink at the next place!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Always happy to split the bill, or even be treated if the woman insists. However, there are a couple cases where I believe men should always pay (call me old fashioned, if you will):

1- When the guy makes considerably more money than the woman. (Just economics.)

2-When the guy is 20 years or more older than the woman. (He's probably getting the best of the deal, so it's only fair he pays up. Besides, it's undignified for a 45 year old guy to sponge off a 25 year old woman.)

For Luddite above, these rules can be used for same-sex dates as well. No need to complicate things. Birthdays excepted.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I went on a date once, and after dinner, while she was in the ladies room, I paid the bill.

When she came back she was a little annoyed because she had planned to pay all along.

On a subsequent date, after dinner, when she needed to answer the call of nature, she grabbed the bill and took it with her.

Well, Performing Monkey, don't leave us hanging - are you guys still dating or what?!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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