lifestyle

The return of Charisma Man

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By Lisa Gay

That guy. You know him. Utterly geeky, yet walking hand-in-hand with an impossibly beautiful Japanese girl. Holding the native populace in awe with a barely coordinated swoop of his chopsticks and his "nihongo jozu." The dude whose crash-and-burn pickup line actually worked. Yeah, that guy. Beginning in 1998, he had a name. He was Charisma Man.

“Charisma Man” has since become shorthand for that foreign guy we’ve all run into. Even before writer Larry Rodney dreamed him up in his comic strip, he was lapping up the attention of Japanese women, from the bars of Shinjuku to the rice fields of Niigata and the "eikaiwa" of Kagoshima. But now, as he enters his third decade, it’s clear that Charisma Man faces grave threats to his very survival.

The first Charisma Man comic strip saw our geeky hero plucked from his home planet (later revealed to be Canada) and plunked down in Japan, where he was instantaneously transformed into a charming dude of the first order. But every Superman has his kryptonite, and Charisma Man is no exception. Forever stalking the shadows is Western Woman, who peppers our hero with a volley of insults that cut him down to size.

For all his success in Japan, Charisma Man had an unlikely origin—he was basically born on a train. Rodney came up with the idea while commuting to his teaching job here in Tokyo, and enlisted a graphic-designer friend back home in Canada, Glen Schroeder, to develop the idea into a comic strip.

“I emailed him what I wanted frame by frame and how I wanted each frame to look,” Rodney says. “For someone who had never actually been to Japan, I thought he did a pretty good job.”

Rodney dashed off the strip to expat publication The Alien (later Japanzine). It was an instant success, and the editor, sensing a winner in the charismatic loser, started bugging him for more.

“When I submitted Charisma Man, I just had that one idea,” Rodney recalls. Although he did manage to publish ten more strips before returning home to Canada, he refused to continue the series beyond that, feeling that the comic needed someone immersed in Japan to keep it fresh. So Charisma Man’s adventures were continued by The Alien co-founder and humor columnist Neil Garscadden.

Delves into the expat experience

Although Charisma Man intended to poke fun at superstar gaijin, the comic also delved into the general expat experience. Whether it made a lighthearted dig at the “racism” experienced by Western foreigners or unsheathed bizarre examples of Japanese branding (Deathly cigarettes, anyone?), the comic took potshots at the oddball goofiness that this country throws our way.

As the phenomenon grew, “Charisma Man” became a catchphrase for that somewhat nerdy guy who’s successful with the native girls. If it had appeared before the advent of the Internet, the comic might not have netted such a wide influence, but thanks to the rise of message boards and Japan-based bloggers in the Y2K years, “Charisma Man” became the default insult hurled at foreign guys who used their “exotic” status to pick up Japanese girls.

And where goes the expat, so goes the lingo. The term leaped from Japanese shores and influenced Western expats in other locales. Same guy, same situation, different country. Bloggers in South Korea and China picked up the meme and used it to explain the same kind of annoying dude—apparently, Charisma Man is not just big in Japan.

Further afield, academics studying Japanese society cite the comic for its depiction of the (largely white) Western experience here. Anthropologist Karen Kelsky, for instance, has published research claiming that Japanese women use Westerners as a sort of “mirror” to reflect back criticisms of homegrown men. By embodying the concepts that Japanese men are said to lack—empathy, self-reliance and so on—Western guys offer a way for them to make a muted criticism of Japan’s sexist society. Yet these concepts are not wedded to any actual experience with foreigners—rather, they exist independently of the Westerners themselves.

Mami Kishino, a recent college graduate, appears to be in thrall to the “charisma” effect. “Even if foreigners aren’t cool back home, here in Japan, because of their expressive, funny personalities, they are cool,” she says. Foreign men also give her a chance to take the reins in a relationship. “Japanese guys always want to lead, and they aren’t willing to be lower in status than their girlfriends.”

Then again, it’s easy for Western men to allow Japanese ladies to lead them around. For one, they are in a completely different environment and usually need help with the most mundane tasks of daily life. Japanese girlfriends often help with translating and interpreting a completely foreign language as well as culture.

Some Japanese women have learned the hard way that Western men are, well, individuals. Yuko Sumizawa, an event planner, has had some bad relationships with foreigners in her past. Although she still believes that foreign men are fun to hang out with, she sees them more clearly now. “The foreigner who tries to pick up every girl… there’s so many of them,” she complains.

Mika Aikawa, a hospital clerk, says that she grew up on American sitcoms that portrayed men as friendly, domestically minded partners. Yet she’s found that hard to square with boyfriends who were initially warm to their relationship, but cold about the future. “They don’t mean anything bad by it, but foreigners like to play around,” she explains. “The line between friend and girlfriend isn’t very clear, and that sort of relationship is hard to imagine in Japan. I understand now it’s part of their culture.”

Roppongi was natural habitat

If there was one area in Tokyo that could be considered Charisma Man’s natural habitat, it would be Roppongi. The numbers game alone tips the playing field to their advantage—but even here, there are signs that they are now on the losing side of the equation. Indeed, the Charisma Man phenom is under fire from several different angles.

One is simply that Japanese are getting used to foreigners. The younger generation has grown up with the standard-issue English teacher, and "gaikokujin" are no longer the novelty act they used to be. The worldwide recession has also heavily hit the foreign professional: expat bankers and their ilk have been leaving Japan in droves. (A recent report on Japan Today profiled relocation company Allied Pickfords, whose business has grown by more than 30% since the “Lehman Shock.”) Even the once-lucrative "eikaiwa" industry has suffered due to the bad economy. Nowadays, many schools offer monthly salaries of as little as 180,000 yen a month—hardly the kind of remuneration Charisma Man needs to lead a successful life in Tokyo.

Foreigners come in hoping to land some girls

Hassan is a DJ in Kabukicho who has watched foreigners pack his place night after night hoping to land some girls. “If you’re not a regular, the drink-back girls fly to you. Chances are, you think you got really lucky—you got this hot girl all over you. If she wants you to get a drink, you’re gonna buy her the drink.” Drink-back girls are apparently affiliated with the club and get a tidy sum of money for persuading you to keep their glass topped up. But romance is never on the table: all they want is to empty your wallet as fast as they can.

“When I came six years ago, girls were like, ‘Foreigners OMG!’ It was so easy to get a girl,” Hassan says. “Now they’re used to foreigners, so that whole OMG thing has worn off.” Aspiring Charisma Men who’ve heard that girls were easy in Japan may find their hopes dashed. “If they’re not gonna get girls where they come from, then they shouldn’t really expect to get girls here.”

Laurent Coens, a Belgian transplant who has lived in Japan on and off for the past 10 years, echoes the sentiment. “The past was so easy, but everyone is getting used to foreigners. Ten years ago, I walked into a bar, ordered a Black Russian, and walked out with a girlfriend. I was getting reverse picked-up all the time.” Now you have to go to the countryside, he says, or at least a smaller city, to capture that level of obsession.

For their part, some Charisma Men milling about the bars of Tokyo gripe that Japanese girls are the cold, calculating ones. An Australian who declined to give his name complains that in his 10 years in Tokyo, he’s not once been taken seriously. “You’re just another toy to play with,” he says, adding that he’s thinking of moving home in order to find a serious partnership. Alex Endrizzi, an Italian wine importer/exporter, laments the lack of places to meet girls with a strong intellectual bent: “Universities? Maybe so, but in bars? It’s pitiful… these girls are nowhere to be found.”

Another anonymous guy went so far as to claim that foreign men were never as popular as they might have seemed. “You have the same Japanese girls sleeping with the same foreign guys. But these guys are only here for a year or two anyway, then they go home, and the new guys show up without knowing these girls’ past.” Then the cycle begins again.

To be sure, Japan still offers foreigners, especially Westerners, endless opportunities for self-reinvention. Trevor, an American working at a public school, believes that the experience allows anyone to adopt a new, dare we say more charismatic, personality.

“You come to a new area, leave old baggage behind. You’re really happy and appreciating all the new things around you. It’s a very attractive attitude.” In his opinion, the Charisma Man image is just sour grapes over those perceived as “breaking the rules.” And really, what is more rule-breaking than a gorgeous Japanese girl with an average dude?

Love him or hate him, Charisma Man has survived for so long precisely because he’s a spot-on parody of the Western experience in Japan. But can he remain relevant in the new, more hardscrabble Japan? Forget Western Woman—only time will tell if our hero can overcome the twin onslaught of a faltering Japanese economy and a savvier breed of Japanese female.

Charisma Man: The Even More Complete Collection

The chisel-jawed hero returns this summer with an expanded collection of strips detailing his exploits in Japan. "The Even More Complete Collection" contains all of the strips from the first book released in 2003, along with a selection of all-new episodes. An essential addition to any self-respecting gaijin bookshelf, it’s available at bookstores nationwide from the end of July.

See www.charismaman.com for more information.

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


87 Comments
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This is such a great laugh and so true. I can't wait to read all the episodes.

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This series sound hilarious. I guess I'll check it out.

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The series is so-so. It's a social commentary, so really nothing 'hilarious' about it.

"When I came six years ago, girls were like, ‘Foreigners OMG!’ It was so easy to get a girl,” Hassan says. “Now they’re used to foreigners, so that whole OMG thing has worn off.”

Yes and no. For those who have been here as long as this guy, it's easy to pick out -- as easy as the girls who want to empty your wallet -- whom you can get lucky with and whom you can't. But yeah, if you stick to bars in Roppongi, why would you want to get lucky with a lady friend there any way? As another person rightly said, you can easily be part of some Japanese girl's 'foreign phase', or be a toy (fun if you're into that), so there's also a good chance of STD if not careful.

Anyway, I don't mind this series. It's given me a chuckle from time to time over the past decade (plus). If people DO come here solely for that reason they are fools -- or at least as foolish as any girl that would have them simply because they are a foreigner. Perhaps they deserve each other.

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Oh, one last thing. There was apparently some article about this book in a CNN book this month, and some old guy at a cafe who was reading it came up to me and starting shouting at me. I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on, nor could the people around me, though he was trying to shout in English. When he pointed at some article related to this book he told me to 'go home' in Japanese. He mumbled on for about a minute about how Japanese junior high and highschool girls (don't ask me why he chose that age group) are not prostitutes before he got semi-pushed out the door (he looked like he was half-leaving, but I give total kudos to the two young men who 'helped' him out and then apologized to me). I got a free coffee out of the deal, and no lie the young lady next to me said she was sorry too (were I only single!). I was so dumbfounded I barely had a chance to figure out what the hell the guy was on about, though I later briefly saw the CNN with it in.

My point is that it was the second or third time I've seen such ire in Japanese men about the subject of what they sometimes claim are 'their women', and it seems that whatever magic this book holds it has some evil truths to others.

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This series is pretty funny as it portrays some of the stereo types that are very much alive here in the land of the aging sun. When my wife and I were first dating she would always be telling me "you know that girl is hitting on you right?" and I would respond as the clueless dullard I am "really, I thought she was just being friendly" There is still some novelty value in being a foreigner. I have to say charisma man is no where near as geeky as some of the eikiwa set I've met The author should have made him fat with bad skin and an insatiable appetitie for all things samurai as that would be closer to the truth.

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Same old story..dorky white guy comes to country because he is pathetic in his own country and white girls wont date him..I can see that everyday in Japan..why write a comic.

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I am befuddled by guys who go to bars to pick up women and complain they don't meet intellectually stimulating women. Well, duh. That's not a Japan thing, where in the world would you meet the cream of the crop in a bar?

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karmaproof, Mocheake, Pestronika,

agreed, agreed, agreed.

the actual comic in question is not terribly original in its ideas. it is not terribly deep either. it's just, i guess, that nobody else thought this a topic worth writing about.

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why write a comic

You mean it's not a documentary?

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"Japanese are getting used to foreigners."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

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Hilarious that today, July 21, this headline is right underneath the pic of Leonardo DiCaprio strolling through the airport with all the screaming J-girls.

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and white girls wont date him

or maybe he's after a slim, polite, well dressed and humble...and the odds are much better here?

Charisma man was a great laugh at the beginning of the series, but got tired as it went on and ran out of ideas. The brain surgery/emergency lesson call in one - " I'll just have to wing it" was the one I remember most.

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Well the book launched in 2003 is the only Japan guide I ever had. Did I do something wrong? :)

I can tell you, Japan newcommers, that it's even better than described there... Who cares abou the white women when I can be "an isle of manhood" at a "Japanese ladies only" party :)?

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and who is this charisma man? Mr. James from McDonalds?

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How come its OK for this guy, and the lady behind "My Darling is a Foreigner", to make big money off popularizing stereotypes about foreigners, but, if a foreigner dared make similar observations about J-guys, they'd be decried as being racist?

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It is written buy a guy???

I always thought it was written by a fat western woman who spent a year in Japan and was mad because even the loser drunks from home would not hit on her anymore.

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“They don’t mean anything bad by it, but foreigners like to play around,” she explains. “The line between friend and girlfriend isn’t very clear, and that sort of relationship is hard to imagine in Japan. I understand now it’s part of their culture.”

Surely this is in jest? Japan is possibly the most promiscuous society this side of hell.

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The whole charisma man thing is still alive. I dont see much of a problem with it because the ones that usually go for it are the ones that are looking for an english speaking toy or what not. Used to hate them and what not, but it is what it is. Charisma man is like a fishing lure. You get a certain type of fish with it. Along with other things...theirs rich old guy lure, fat rich guy lure, muscle built model lure etc. The charisma thing is the funniest cuz random basement anime dork gets hot chick. But like the article said, you get to reinvent yourself when you come here. Confidence for the dork is good in my opinion. Ill still laugh at you though as I walk by. If it works for you though...who cares? Is there any un-charisma woman strategy for the white ladies? They seem like the loniest ones here...

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This is old news. CM was kind of amusing in the beginning and now has a faint nostalgic air about it, familiar, yet so last decade.

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I haven't seen a lot of "fat" or "ugly" western women here in Japan, although women tend to be far more transient. I imagine that men like this have to tell themselves that the women are "fat" and "ugly" to justify their jerkish behaviors and sense of entitlement. Also, to justify the "not even hot by J-standards" ladies they attract.

I mean, there are the Roppongi girls, who aren't too bad, but about 95% of the time when I see a charisma man types with their girlfriends or wives, it's obvious the guy could do better in his home country if he wasn't a ... er ... traditional sort of fellow. (Heck, plenty of evangelicals who want to be trod upon in America. And they mean it, unlike the J-girls who play at submission to reel you in.) Why would you date a 4 in Japan when you could date a 5 back home? Doesn't make much sense, especially since you can't understand--ohhhHHhhhh ...

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Funny thing is my Japanese female friends always ask me why western guys go for strange looking or not cute Japanese girls. From their point of view, that hot J-girl with these guys is not hot by local definitions. On the contrary they usually think the girls are not so attractive.

My experience with women in Japan has had little to do with bars and more to do with communities or interest circles. There are lovely, smart and interesting women in these communities that won't net you only because you are foreign. They will care much more if you are a decent guy and share some interests.

But if you follow the usual foreigner-Jgirl cycles you are in for instant girlfriend syndrome which is often followed by "what the hell have I gotten myself into disease" and can have outcomes ranging from "evil Ex-girlfriend trauma", "chronic scary stalker infection" or "girlfriend of the month syndrome"

So some advice. Forget bars, scary brand bag girls and gaijin hunters. Instead, take up a hobby you like, and get to know some nice people and you may manage a nice girl to share your existence with in the process.

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I don't have a problem with there being guys who have great charisma, but I have a problem with this; "Utterly geeky, yet walking hand-in-hand with an impossibly beautiful Japanese girl". I've never seen anyone who I would describe as a geek that I could also describe as "Charisma Man". The image from the comic is a superman style cliche caucasian - blue eyed and blonde haired with a cleft chin - which has nothing "geeky" about it. Am I missing the humour of the comic because I only have the information in this article? I guess the superman look is the way "Charisma Man" looks to the Nihonjin, rather than being a weedy, bespectacled cliche geek? Foreigners are attractive precisely because they are different. I've seen Australian women swoon over Irish men simply because of their accent. For what it's worth, I think the foreigner attraction probably still applies in country areas of Japan; women in Tokyo or Osaka probably see too many gaijin to find them exotic anymore.

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tha_harper and others.

What your missing is that the Charisma Man image is how Charisma Man sees himself. A blonde, blue eyed, super hero that beautiful Japanese women adore. In the comic, it is only when "Western Woman" is in frame with Charisma Man that the artist draws the true geeky, unattractive Charisma Man and reveals the beautiful woman he is with to be much less than so.

The joke being that Charisma Man and the women he is with are living in a self created delusion, and only Western Woman sees the truth.

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"Western Woman" -- what is that, someone like Calamity Jane?

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Want a girlfriend here? Just ask people you meet! They will all know a single girl. Introductions are key.It removes all the suspicion and the fact you have mutual friends seems to make the girl like you from day one.Also Japanese girls love playing cupid for their friends

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@DeliciousWhale - OK so you're saying that the superhero image is the way he sees himself rather than how Nihonjin see him. The article would be improved with an image of how he looks when "Western Woman" sees him. Of course, both images could be wrong - maybe he's not as geeky as Western Woman thinks, just as he's not as attractive as he thinks he is.

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i have three Japanese friends (ladies) who married to Kiwi and Australian guys the thing is I know these guys from way back and they are ,,,,,,not nerdy but,,,,,self absorbed and think they are witty and cool the tell the same joke over and over again, wife 1 laughs every time , wife 2 doesnt laugh anymore and yawns in boredom wife 3 pretends she got a text message they didnt chase these guys and none of them have kids,,, i just feel bad for them that they got the wrong end of the stick or whatever the saying is i am the evil western woman who chased after the Japanese stud and am still madly in love after 10 years of marriage and having a kid i think i like being the evil western woman

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gaijinfo - The difference between Charisma Man and DiCaprio is DiCaprio was never a dork.

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Eleven years in Japan and it only gets easier and easier to get women. Whoever thinks its difficult getting Japanese women, you're not doing it rite!

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Funny thing is my Japanese female friends always ask me why western guys go for strange looking or not cute Japanese girls. From their point of view, that hot J-girl with these guys is not hot by local definitions. On the contrary they usually think the girls are not so attractive.

This very idea is the foundation of trade between different peoples going back further than recorded history. Each party gets rid of something deemed not worth very much in their own land, and in return receive something much more valuable in return. silver for coffee beans, arrows for deer skins, silk for elephant tusks.

The j-girl you mention has no social beauty value according to her own peers, but to charisma man she gorgeous. Charisma man has no social skills in his own country, but to j-girl they are gallant and romantic.

This is trade in it's most basic form.

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The article would be improved with an image of how he looks when "Western Woman" sees him.

The Charisma Man website has links to the first 4 strips. In each one, CM starts out looking like Superman on steroids, tall and handsome with huge muscles, tight abs, etc. As soon as WW appears, he's shown as about 6 inches shorter, skinny, weedy and flabby. What he really looks like isn't the issue, so much as the way he reacts to WW.

mrskit - I'll raise you 30+ years of marriage, 2 kids and 1 grandkid. Being the evil western woman is great. :-)

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How odd, your reactions! I always knew Charisma Man was by a man; always assumed that the "real" CM, i.e. the spindly, pathetic little fella, wasn't how anyone saw him, just how he actually was; thought Western Woman is being mocked just as heartily as CM. Maybe I'm missing something? I am, after all, one of those embittered, sexless, western porkers...

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At PeachDreamy Eikaiwa Gakuen -

Western Woman #1: ... and I graduated with honours in English linguistics...

Interviewer: Excellent.

Western Woman #2: ... I have a Master's degree in ESL...

Interviewer: Very impressive.

Charisma Man: ... I worked at Boo-Boo Burger and studied home taxidermy at night school...

Interviewer: Can you start tomorrow?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

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A few comments:

If EVERY foreigner guy was getting girls way above what his looks should allow him to get, then I would buy this. When you see a "nerdy/unattractive guy" with a good looking girl, that isnt Charisma Man, it is skill.

I am able to get better looking girls than others think I should based on my looks because I know what girls want and give it to them, while making sure to get what I want in return. Don't hate, appreciate!

The girl Mika in the article is full of crap, "friendly and domestically minded"? Im sure she grew up with the comedy "Friends" and the Joey character is the most guy, and is EXACTLY like the guys she is complaining about, trying to screw everything that moves.

It is always claimed the girls with foreigners are less attractive. But funny how Japanese guys and girls dont think these girls are unattractive until AFTER they know they are going out with foreigners....

Guys, get over yourselves. Gaijins have all been sleeping with the same 10% of the Japanese girl population since the 80's, the other 90% of women want nothing to do with you. So stay within your 10% and you will do fine. Try to go outside it, and you wont be.

Western woman is just mad because the guys are getting laid without having to suck up to her and play her games. Girls make unattractive/non rich guys play games that good looking dudes and rich guys are exempt from. They simply dont like it when guys can decide on their own not to participate when Japanese girls let them get laid without doing all that. So guys dont let Western Woman slow your your roll or take your mojo, just ignore and mute as required.
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karmaproof: "Same old story..dorky white guy comes to country because he is pathetic in his own country and white girls wont date him..I can see that everyday in Japan..why write a comic."

I don't know too many people, if any who came here solely to pick up easy ladies. A lot easier, and cheaper, to do that in Thailand if sex is all you're looking for (so I've heard). Now, EVERY foreign guy I know in Japan has said it's a benefit, and some have even stuck around longer than they might have otherwise for that purpose, but no one I know came here solely for that.

Anyway, people are taking this WAY too literally; it's a cartoon (comic), and meant to be a commentary on society. It's quite to the point as well, in many cases, and quite true. It's not in any way sacrosanct or some sort of bible to go by if you're interested in picking up a Japanese lady, but for those taking the comic so literally you need to chill.

S7ro9K: "Surely this is in jest? Japan is possibly the most promiscuous society this side of hell."

This comment made me laugh, and you have a good point. Have any of you tried to explain the difference between 'being a couple' and 'dating'? I've literally seen jaws drop when I used to say I was dating around and was not in a serious relationship; they all, like the dolt who says what she says in the article ("The line between friend and girlfriend isn’t very clear, and that sort of relationship is hard to imagine in Japan. I understand now it’s part of their culture.”), seem to forget there is a step in which you get to know people and what your type is before you commit to a serious relationship. It doesn't mean you take them to a love hotel (where the couple next store are having a hard time distinguishing between the line of marriage and love affair!) the day you meet them or take them on a first date! And I agree, for better or worse this can be a very hedonistic society, with people screwing around left and right, 'nampa'ing, etc. On the other side of it on more than one occasion in my dating history I met up with a young woman who before the second 'date' (considering the time we met to be the first date, despite it being by chance) decided we were boyfriend and girlfriend, and one who took me to a party to meet her family and friends, introducing me as such. In that case, when I told her the next day that it was too much and I wanted to 'break up', you should have seen the expletives I got in the subsequent email (the woman's name was, no joke, 'Saeko').

Anyway, it's a comic. I'll check out the book. More than anything I agree with one poster above who said that it was fun for the first few years (the comic), but the stories seem repetitious after that.

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who dates who is none of my business and who I date is no one else's business but I think that Charisma Man himself does not exist in himself. He is created by Japanese girls that give him inane, and insincere compliments such as "sugoiiiii" as if he did a magic trick when doing something ordinary and mundane or "kawaiiiiiii" when he wears a pink shirt.

But they give this same array of overkill batterings to everything including slugs crawling along concrete. Ones self esteem must be pretty low to want to draw any confidence from such a source.

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bobbafett - yup slugs are a bit slimy so the appropriate over-response would probably be "kya~!"? followed by a bit of a jump and pointing the finger at it? Which by the way is pretty much the same response I get when I take my clothes off...

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The joke being that Charisma Man and the women he is with are living in a self created delusion, and only Western Woman sees the truth.

Maybe the truth or maybe just the way she sees it. They have a lot of strips that talk about different people's perception, so who knows?

Anyway, I loved CM, but haven't seen anything in ages. New strips!! Woohoo!!

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I've met two kinds of western women while in japan - the flight attendant/student/passing through hot bod party animal who can say hello in not less than eight different languages...fluently. They're incredibly fun but are like butterflies. THe second western woman is more professional and usually obsesses over her weight or looks - after all - who can compare to the wafer thin j-girls - with their prolific health problems from over-dieting. THey're usually bitter because the western guys all aspire to be charisma man and have a hard time find a normal human being to date in a sea of males. The key - is just have fun - enjoy the experience - and be open to all races - or at least cultures that don't offend you...and be careful out there...

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Western women, terrible.

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I always found Charisma Man to be disingenuous and mean spirited. It almost seemed like an extension of school yard bullying written by people who perceive themselves to be cool or pretty poking fun at those they perceive not to be. Why should anyone care whether a guy (or girl for that matter)is able to date locals, regardless of what they look like? The need to ridicule them, or remind them that they are really a 'dork' or a 'nerd' is just petty and mean spirited. Who cares? I also got the impression that the J-Girls exploited this opportunity for change, experience, something different quite masterfully. It is clearly a 2 way street, and yet the girls are often portrayed as naive, impressionable, stupid etc, when often, the exact opposite is true. They know exactly what they are doing, and why. And one last thing. A J Girl friend's mother once asked me "Why is it that foreigners always date the ugly Japanese girls?"

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smithinjapan said: so there's also a good chance of STD if not careful.

What fear mongering rubbish. Odds are far stronger of the guy giving the girl an STD. Most guys who get STDs through fairly average J-girls are not unlucky and not necessarily not being careful either. What they are is just plain stupid. You bag it properly and you might get crabs or herpes. Anything else means the guy is dumb. And herpes is bad luck if you get symptoms because that is genetic weakness. But you should have checked her anyway.

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After reading all these comments, am I realizing that the equation is; ugly foreigner dates ugly Japanese girls? That definitely cannot be. Someone who is ugly in one person's eyes could be beautiful in another's. For those who say they date ugly Japanese girls, are they themselves perfect and ugly-free?

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"For those who say they ( ugly foreigners ) date ugly Japanese girls, are they themselves perfect and ugly-free?"

They think they are.

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Tigerguy, some ugly foreigners date ugly Japanese. Some good looking foreigners date ugly Japanese. Some ugly foreigners date good looking Japanese. And some good looking foreigners date good looking Japanese. Anyone who has neglected one of the above categories is a simple minded stereotyping fool focused on one corner of the big picture. Open your freaking eyes people.

Further, I have dated gorgeous J-girls that other Japanese found unappealing and I have dated so-so girls that Japanese thought were the bomb. And I have dated girls that everybody thought were the bomb. But I don't care what anybody thinks about my girls except me. All but a few had something special that made them worth it even if others could not see it.

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Charisma Man the embodyment of the zero to hero element that exists in Japan. My annoyance with them never stemmed from the fact that I thought I was cooler or pretty, it was their inflated ego's (like the superman appearance of CM) and the condescending attitude that accompanied it. There were certian questions that almost always came up in conversations and my answers would always elicit the response of me being a blasphemer.

CM: Don't you think Japanese women are the most beautiful women in the world? Me: No, they're not any more or less beautiful then other women in world. CM: Whaaaaaaat, blasphemer! CM: Don't you hate how Japan only lets foreigners be English Teachers? Me: I'm not an English Teacher. CM: Lies!

The asinine conversations that seem to be repeated ad nauseum by CM types, are enough for them to deserve being satired.

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Am I the only one who prefers "western" women to Japanese? Everyguy gets "yellow fever', but it's usually just a phase right? They find help eventually... don't they?

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The surprise and obsession to foreign guys has been deteriorating as they are dime dozen these days in Japan. The expression of showing the wonder has been lessened but not exhausted yet. Even now, after sitting in the train, the girl beside me can't resist to turn her face and have a look at the "exotic gaijin". Girls who seem to be easy peeking and overly open from the first day, surely very experienced with so many foreign guys before your turn. An average dude can easily get a girl here because of the traditional attitude of Japanese girls being impressively polite. In Tokyo, any body can be Charisma Man but the fact that his surrounding girls are not obsessed ones, they are the ones who were with some other charisma men before you. Chances are still there to be a real Charisma Man in the down town and out of Tokyo where foot prints of foreigners haven't been so prominent yet. Don't surprised to see, people with camera taking your photos and girls staring you tirelessly when you're right on spot.

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Am I the only one who prefers "western" women to Japanese?

How far west? Korea? China?

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jam_sandwich at 12:17 AM JST - 22nd July

Am I the only one who prefers "western" women to Japanese? Everyguy gets "yellow fever', but it's usually just a phase right? They find help eventually... don't they?

I for one don't care western or Asian (though most of the western women I have met in Japan need to lose the attitude).

I don't know where you live but if your here in Japan look around you for every "western" woman you will find several thousand Asians, do the math.

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I'm in the "West" right now, North America actually. Girls here aren't bad... what's with the attitude that's everyone is talking about? Every girl here has not given me attitude, the ones that do are the exception to the rule. You know, if you treat them with respect, they tend to treat you the same. Who says you can only be Charisma man in Japan (or Asia(?

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Am I the only one who prefers "western" women to Japanese?

You still have preference based on geographic origins of women, so your really not even that different.

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Men wanting to expand the gene pool are almost always attracted to the new and exotic. J men with blonde scandnavian types, european men attracted to asian women etc. Personally I have had "yellow fever" for the past fifteen years with no regrets.

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Doesn't all this apply to Charisma Woman too?

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I love how Western Woman is the nemesis of Charisma Guy! XD! Honestly, I read a couple of Charisma Man strips and it reflected the dime a dozen Charisma Men on this very site... and yes Charisma Men do have a mix of irrational fear and contempt (sour grapes style) for Western women. It's amazing how such a reaction seems to increase in a directly proportional relation to the accomplishments of any Western woman they meet or learn about from others or from Media (such as JT), so that Western Woman does not need to be physically there to burst Charisma Man's bubble.

I quote Good_Jorb's post because it is so true it's sad and hilarious at the same time:

QUOTE Good_Jorb at 11:28 PM JST - 21st July: "There were certian questions that almost always came up in conversations and my answers would always elicit the response of me being a blasphemer. CM: Don't you think Japanese women are the most beautiful women in the world? Me: No, they're not any more or less beautiful then other women in world. CM: Whaaaaaaat, blasphemer! CM: Don't you hate how Japan only lets foreigners be English Teachers? Me: I'm not an English Teacher. CM: Lies! The asinine conversations that seem to be repeated ad nauseum by CM types, are enough for them to deserve being satired."

Pure gold!

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Absolute rubbish.

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Dont really care if i get called CM or not. I prefer foreign women. American women are too much of a head game. Not sure why every question they ask has double meanings...I brought this up to a few of my American female friends, and their response was what dont you like a challenge? Yeah I do...thats why I golf...In a relationship I prefer somebody I can be with and relax and have fun. Not always have to think what does she really mean by this...

Again Foreign does not necessarily mean Japanese...just not stuck up, world owes me everything Western woman...

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Does CM use the same hair product as Mary?

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just not stuck up, world owes me everything Western woman

I think that we can find a reason for the western women in Japan getting their backs up if this type of attitude is the prevailing one. I have dated a welsh, a swede, a Chinese and Korean here in Japan but really dont want to date the locals.

The Korean has a shocking attitude problem, The Chinese girl was in a hurry to get married, The Swede went home (sob) and the Welsh girl was here for just 3 months. I found the Welsh girl to be the most charismatic and interesting of all of them. As for the locals, they are mad.

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how ironic. Charisma man's biggest success seems to be in allowing some people to feel superior to others, as evidenced by the many condescending posts on this thred.

I have new respect for all real-life CMs out there.

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jam sandwich-

Am I the only one who prefers "western" women to Japanese? Everyguy gets "yellow fever', but it's usually just a phase right? They find help eventually... don't they?

there are "yellow" women in western countries.. when you say you prefer western women, do those yellows grew up in western countries count? how about those "western looking (mix)" who grew up in japan?? just curious.

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I went to the US last year and found the women there to be very attractive.

However, on my English teacher salary I'd be well pushed to keep one of them in Coke and Big Macs full-time. Sometimes basic economics rule and you just have to go with the flow.

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Who cares who dates whom. Some guys have a native fetish, some girls have a foreigner fever. Who cares. As long as they're not hurting each other or anyone else it's just two humans trying to find a connection. I mean, yeah, for some people it takes time to develop a discerning eye for the foreign --i.e some guys with ugly locals and some gals with ugly foreigners. But really, does it bother you that much? It's jus two people who at that moment dig it.

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most Japanese women are not particularly looking for western guys

Hi Patrick! Hisashiburi. Actually you are wrong. Japanese women are looking for a western guy but most probably they are not attracted to you. Good luck though.

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I've always wondered, why does Western Woman care who Charisma Man dates?

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Some Western Women here aren't all that neither but think the locals think they are....

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patrick smash, you are right on. Speaking fluent Japanese is the key to finding a decent Japanese girl. Usually, the ones that are most wary are the ones who end up being the best, IME.

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As long as the woman knows how to clean, cook and show respct to the man, who cares we she comes from.

I don`t like them labels like "charisma man". Even bloke is different, ven women are. As long as the woman knows her place then eberything falls into place.

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I've always wondered, why does Western Woman care who Charisma Man dates?

I think this is sort of a "chicken or the egg" argument. I had heard of so-called Charisma Men before I first came to Japan as an exchange student, but didn't really have an opinion on the matter until I openly heard other foreign men bash foreign women unprovoked and without any real reason. Like, I would be with some friends out to eat and one guy would loudly proclaim how some girl was hot, and were she in America she'd be "the hottest girl in the room," right in front of me. Not that I think I'm the hottest girl on earth, but no one wants to hear stuff like that on a regular basis. Or like when my American boyfriend, who I was studying abroad with at the time, was told by a very unattractive American classmate that it was such a waste to come to Japan with a girlfriend because he could be getting much hotter Japanese girls if he was single.

You hear stuff like that for a year, and it starts to make you a little bitter. Those guys are obviously major tools, and I don't hang out with people like that anymore (for the most part, haha), but for me at least, I didn't start hating on Charisma Men until they hated on me first. Now I've been here long enough that I don't really care. If some Charisma Man wants to date exclusively Japanese girls and feels the need to bash Western women while doing so, it merely shows more about his own insecurities than my supposed physical and personality flaws.

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@pandaclair I dont think people should bash Western Girls. I like western girls as friends, but dont like dating them. Most, not all, seem to have been brought up in the dating GAME. Which is why I prefer foreign women. If I want to play mind games, trivial pursuit is more my brand of vodka. However some guys like the GAME and thats cool for them. No need to hate on each other...but no need to date each other either!

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Why I do not like Western men? Some are physically attractive but I look for kindness and generosity. Foreign men in Japan are very spoilt and selfish. Japanese girls spoil the men so much that the men lose their men's feauters abd become selfish kids.

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LoveUSA, hang on! I am Western and i am kind and generous. I never once forgot to buy my late wife a packet of fags for Christams or her Birthday.

I am a traditional man that women these days would love. I have plenty of charisma and im an OAP, im fanous for it in Wapping.

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I really get a kick out of this...my wife is fairly hot and 14 yrs my junior...plently of looks from oyajis when we are out and about - Rico Suave, I am not. But actually do good-looking women elsewhere on the planet only mate/date with good-looking men?

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do good-looking women elsewhere on the planet only mate/date with good-looking men?

good-looking women with brain see what's inside of their men, not just looks ;)

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Ultradude, as long as the man is rich enough, many women don't care what he looks like.

For me, with my DiCaprio looks, Obama charisma, the brains of Stephen Hawking and the money of Bill Gates I do find it difficult to know what they really see in me.

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with my DiCaprio looks, Obama charisma, the brains of Stephen Hawking and the money of Bill Gates I do find it difficult to know what they really see in me.

they see YOU.

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Japanese girls spoil the men so much that the men lose their men's feauters abd become selfish kids.

I can agree with that but thats all men unless you find a girl that is a bit more down to earth or just avoid that Japanese girls so that one can maintain a sense of ones place on the earth.

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my ordered copy came today....heh heh, good for a laugh and brings back memories of some real charisma men that I have known over the years.

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I think the explanation of the phenomenon is simple. In a way, it's supply and demand. Let's say only 10% of Japanese women want a relationship with a foreign guy, but there are not that many foreigners in Japan, a lot less even. They are rare, and therefore are valuable in a way, because they're "exotic" and that attracts some people.

Now the foreign guy is shocked by it. A lot of the foreigners in Japan are not the type who was very popular with women back home, because if they had been they likely would already have a girlfriend (or girlfriends for the players) and they wouldn't likely have come to Japan (unless she came too). So they go from an environment where they had to constantly work just to get girls to notice them, as if they were losers and had to "buy" the privilege of a girl's attention by being useful to her, to an environment where apparently some girls actually want to be with them, without the need for coaxing. They go from being on the bottom rung of the dating ladder to being a desired object for a certain "niche". They used to be part of the faceless crowd that girls got to pick from and now they're part of a small group that has actually many girls interested they can pick from.

Now this mere exoticism may not be the perfect foundation for a serious relationship, but I don't think that's what we're talking about here.

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good-looking women with brain see what's inside of their men, not just looks ;)

But for women all over the world, brains or no, first impressions count. And a huge part of the first impression is looks, style, and (much more in the western world than in Japan) height. If a man fails to score well on those 3 points, a woman won't hang around long enough to find out what's 'inside'. The main thing about whole Japanese woman/western guy dynamic is that the woman usually gives the guy a chance- even if he doesn't score top marks on the checklist.

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..."Have you car?"..."Are you know Brad Pitt?"...

Hahahaha. Stop! I can't take it anymore!

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Lulz.

Al women of any race and culture are easy.

Just treat em' like dirt and they fawn over you.

True story.

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I always found that the average foreign guys in Japan ended up with average Japanese girls. I know probably 2 dozen dozen men and women (more actually) who have married a Japanese person, and I can honestly say that they have ended up with someone comparable on an imaginary comparative 'looks' scale. And I should add that these are people who would quite comfortably find a partner in their birth country. Only once did I ever meet a woman who had dated a foreigner who was jaw droppingly stunning in the same league as a model or actress in Japan. Sure, the tools are out there running around like a K9 with two appendages, but I never see them with a 'stunner'.

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Very, very true Tamarama. The 'charisma men with models' scenario is more urban legend than observed fact.

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Well the stunner/model types anywhere on this planet are going to be a PITA, high maintenance & often incredibly empty inside so any relationship with those types wud typically start & finish rather quickly

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I have always loved Charisma Man! I'm def. gonna buy this! What a legend he is. Let's face it - all us foreign blokes have had our Charisma-Man moments in Japan - whether we admit it or not!

“You have the same Japanese girls sleeping with the same foreign guys. But these guys are only here for a year or two anyway, then they go home, and the new guys show up without knowing these girls’ past.” Then the cycle begins again.

Aint it the truth! I personally know of a Japanese chick who had, ummm, "relations" with at least 10 Charisma Men over the space of 4-5 years. Sadly some of these blokes fell in love with her. I hear however she married one lucky CM last year!

But the real threat to Charisma Man is not gonna be foreign woman. It will be the new Charisma Man on the Block - Chinese Charisma Man! He is definitely moving in on our scene, fellow Charisma Men...

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The writer of this piece strikes me as the type that could have been the model for Charisma Man's "arch enemy" - Western Woman/Femi-nazi I think the character's name was.

Well done, editor.

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