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Young Japanese men say paying for dates is hardest part of life as a guy: survey

66 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

"Otoko wa Tsurai yo" is one of Japan’s longest-running film series. Following the life of Tora-san, a wandering peddler who never quite manages to get the happy ending he yearns for, the series’ title translates to “It’s Tough Being a Man,” and for some guys in Japan, they feel that’s also an apt description of their actual lives.

Lean In Tokyo recently conducted a survey, asking Japanese men if they ever felt like their lives were tsurai, meaning difficult or painful, because of rigid notions about how men should behave and the pressure of living up to those expectations. 17 percent of the 309 respondents answered that they frequently feel like life is hard as a result of being a man, with another 34 percent saying they sometimes feel that way.

When asked what they felt was the most difficult thing about being a man, the overall number-one response was “Physically strenuous or dangerous work is thought to be something that men should do,” which was the response from nearly one in four surveyed participants.

However, when sorted by age groups, the pressure of putting muscular strength to the test or one’s life on the line in a professional capacity was only the top response for men 60 and older. For men between the ages of 20 and 39, the thing that made life hardest was “Being expected to pay for the majority of dates, and also to be responsible for planning them.”

Meanwhile, men in their 40s and 50s had a financial concern of a different sort, saying that what made life as a man the most difficult was “The expectation to keep working full-time, until retirement age, as a seishain.” In the Japanese workforce, seishain, or “regular company employees,” are workers with essentially permanent employment status. While that usually provides them greater stability and higher income than fixed-term contract employees, the open-ended nature of seishain’s employment also gives them far less leverage in fighting for their desired work-life balance, making them far more likely to get forced into unpaid overtime, after-hours company drinking sessions, and all the other unpleasant pseudo-work activities associated with being a salaryman in Japan.

In an unusual parallel, both men in their 20s and those 60 and above also expressed the pain of “It’s thought to be shameful and embarrassing for a man to sound weak or talk openly about his worries,” which was the number-two response for the 20-29 group and tied for number three for men 60 and up, while not appearing in the top three tsurai responses for any other age bracket.

As for what can be done to make life easier, the most common hopes among the respondents were to “foster a culture that accepts a greater variety of work styles” and “foster a culture that has greater respect for individuality.”

There’s some good news in the statistics too, though: The proportion of men who found life as a man hard eventually peaks and starts to go down.

Percentage of respondents saying life as a man is frequently or sometime hard:

● Age 20-20: 53 percent

● Age 30-39: 52 percent

● Age 40-49: 56 percent

● Age 50-59: 41 percent

● Age 60 and up: 38 percent

What’s more, only two percent of men in their 50s and eight percent of those older described life as a man as “frequently difficult,” less than half the percent of any other age group. So maybe as life goes on, Japanese men learn to roll with the punches and become more able to live life on their own terms.

Source: Lean In Tokyo via Niconico News via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Nearly half of young Japanese women say they “hate” the company they work for in survey

-- Survey finds big gap in Japanese train passengers who want to sit next to someone of opposite sex

-- Majority of Japanese men in their 20s say they want men-only train cars in survey

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

66 Comments
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Lol what a hilarious read.

The top two problems seem like things guys should enjoy being and doing.

Being strong and able and (omg) planning a date with AND paying (the horror).

Tell you what, I’ll hit the gym, then help her carry the heavy bags, then pay for dinner... and guess what, good things may come your way!

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Find a girl who doesn't expect you to pay for her, and then pay for her.

Nothing worse than a girl who feels entitled. Nothing better than one who is appreciative.

26 ( +29 / -3 )

I think these are just lame excuses of an irresponsible and lazy guy. Girls may not even want to go out with them. So there he go, free from any dates.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Men like girls who asks "Let's go Dutch" with their wallets in her hands.

Then we men go "That's okay."

Bet they're empty wallets

7 ( +10 / -3 )

MGTOW all the way!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Tell you what, I’ll hit the gym, then help her carry the heavy bags, then pay for dinner... and guess what, good things may come your way!

Or you may go home separately and never hear from her again after she got what she wanted from you. There are plenty of women using men like that (there have been a few articles on this site).

So when you use a significant amount of your tiny pay check on a date with a girl who never intended to see you again because it's expected of you, yes, it sucks.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The majority of women expect the men to pay for dates. Where is the equality? Can't have it both ways, equality and chivalry. Lol.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

If a girl expects me to pay for a date, I expect something in return. Simple economics, since the beginnings of humans.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

Guys, save your date money and go to soapland for a guaranteed good time once or twice a month. Your indifference to dating will actually attract hugh wuality woman who will come after you.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

If a girl expects me to pay for a date, I expect something in return. Simple economics, since the beginnings of humans.

I bet the girls love you.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Act like you been there before, then they come running to you.

I dont mind paying, but I am not planning anything for it. What I call a date is, "hey Im going over here on Friday to do X, you can join if you like". Any special requests from their side about future locations/activities come with a special request in return from my side.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

thank god I'm married- now I don't have to deal with this crap

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I have an idea, Japan, to solve this problem.

Treat women equally, as if they were as competent as men, give them the same wage as men, and promote them the same as men. Also stop hypersexualizing them and treating them as if their only importance is in how they look.

That should do it.

You're welcome.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

A simple Starbucks date is also cheap and a good chance to get to know someone. The expensive dinners can come after you have dated for a while.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

I have an idea, Japan, to solve this problem. 

Treat women equally, as if they were as competent as men, give them the same wage as men, and promote them the same as men. Also stop hypersexualizing them and treating them as if their only importance is in how they look.

That should do it.

You're welcome.

So what should happen in the meantime? Should men pay for first dates or not?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

A simple Starbucks date is also cheap and a good chance to get to know someone. The expensive dinners can come after you have dated for a while.

Hah, I remember an old article here where girls were complaining about men taking them to "cheap" restaurants on a date.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Girl in Tokyo and Strangerland, the girls who expect (emphasize) the guy to pay for them, know the game. At least in Japan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The Japanese women of 21st century is no more submissibe and compliments to men as those in "The Meiji Era'! facing at what is real, guys!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Go cheap on the first couple of dates. If she continues to see you then you know she's not after your money. Also, dates don't need to be expensive to be fun. Besides, the point of the first couple of dates is getting to know each other (most likely in the form of conversation which can happen in any setting)

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Inequality between the sexes affects both sides but in different ways. Women are more likely to be sexually assaulted and get pregnant from someone they don't want to. Men generally have to earn enough to impress a woman and after that have to keep up or improve their income to support a family, which in Japan could mean dying an early death from karoshi or quite likely just not having a social life, and his partner can run off with the kids at any point yet still expect him to pay.

I think these kinds of surveys should ask what people want from society. How many men and women want true equality (within logical reason) where everyone is paid fairly for the same hours and have equality of opportunity in the home? From what my university students have told, I bet many more men would want that than women as a lot of my female students (1/3!) have said they don't want to work and are going to look for a husband to achieve that...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So I’m 0-9 in the votes??

I’m the only guy who figures girls like boys to be strong and I in general pay for girls on dates.

Must be that toxic masculinity again

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

To paraphrase - “foster a culture where it’s not be shameful and embarrassing for a man to sound weak or talk openly about his worries,”  “foster a culture that accepts a greater variety of work styles”, and “foster a culture that has greater respect for individuality.” Encouraging responses - this shows a healthy self-awareness in the attitudes among youger men.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think if you invite someone out on a date (regardless of your gender) that costs money you should at least offer to pay. There's also plenty of dates that don't cost a penny. If a woman won't go on a date unless it costs you money, maybe you have bad taste in women? Go to the park, down to the beach, walk through the city, come over and just hang out...?

Maybe you should date women who have their own money?

This gold-digger trope is so freaking stale, seriously. I've been called that because my husband is fairly well off and I'm a stay at home Mom, but by people who weren't there for the first 4 years of our relationship where I worked two full time jobs and paid for everything we had in our lives while my husband finished grad school and went through two unpaid internships.

Seriously if you're throwing out money left and right to pay for dates with women who (you claim) refuse to contribute, maybe you just need to stop chasing after shallow, broke women?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

the first 4 years of our relationship where I worked two full time jobs and paid for everything we had in our lives while my husband finished grad school and went through two unpaid internships.

Tears flowing.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

From my experiences dating in Japan, things were simple but fun for me. I didn’t mind paying for both. The only time ladies paid was if they were asking, but I offered to pay anyway. Sometimes, we paid our share, or I would pay for the meal and my date paid for dessert. Fine with me.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“Being expected to pay for the majority of dates, and also to be responsible for planning them.”

Just take her to the Subaru showroom to check out the new WRX. The coffee is free and if the conversation is stilted, there are plenty of magazines for her to read while you talk turbochargers and 19 inch alloys. You even get a free rentacar for fifteen minutes!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I might add to my post that I never went to expensive restaurants, just cafes, and my dates were fine with that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@savethegaijin I generally enthusiastically agree apart from

This gold-digger trope is so freaking stale, seriously

Not all women, but they definitely exist unfortunately. It seems more prevalent in Japan than any 'western' I've resided in though.

Good for you anyway!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sure gold-diggers exist. But the overwhelming number of women are not gold-diggers, but still enjoy the feeling of being provided for, due to that being a base human nature within females, as a prerequisite to being able to have children. It's human nature. So calling any woman who expects the guy to pay for the first dinner a gold-digger is seriously. As is expecting her to sleep with you on that first date as 'pay back'. If you do pay for dinner, you're more likely to get to your end goal, but by no means have you purchased that right.

And of course, some women feel that they can pay for themselves, and that no man needs to pay for them. Good for those women, but I'd argue they are a very vocal, small minority.

Guys get this silly idea that they need to take every woman out for Jiro's Sushi or something like that though. If money is a problem, take her somewhere like Sukiya, or slightly more expensive. If that puts her off, then you're probably aiming for someone with expectations a little higher than you can provide, so it's not a good match. If she's a good match, she'll enjoy sukiya, let you pay, and feel more romantically inclined towards you as well.

Being bitter about the above is being bitter about human nature. Good luck making your point heard above 50,000 years of human evolution.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

JimizoToday 10:11 am JST

So what should happen in the meantime? Should men pay for first dates or not?

Isn't that up to each individual?

I won't tell you what to do, but I can give you a tip from the LGBTQ world, where gender roles and expectations don't have as much influence:

Whoever has more money might pay for both;

Whoever has less money might pay what they can afford;

If both people make roughly equal salaries, they each can pay for themselves.

Isn't that practical?

I would further suggest being upfront from the beginning so that you will not feel taken advantage of. Isn't it better to date someone with whom you can talk straightforwardly about these things, instead of beating around the bush and playing games?

We aren't 19 any more. At least, I'm not. LOL.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

timeonToday 10:27 am JST

Girl in Tokyo and Strangerland, the girls who expect (emphasize) the guy to pay for them, know the game. At least in Japan.

Why would you date a game-player? It doesn't sound like the relationship would be very equal, and if you resent it when women take advantage of the societal expectation that men be the breadwinners, then maybe, just maybe, you should date a feminist. :)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I can't say I've ever thought life was hard as a man. Luckily I'm not a one-dimensional poser thinking with his John-Thomas and flexing his muscles to impress the ladies. My relationship works because I respect my partner, and treat her like a lady. You don't always have to splash the cash and head for the nearest love hotel.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In terms of who pays, it seems the trouble here is all in the expectations. I don't think anyone should walk into the context of a dinner between 2 people and expect for anyone else to pay for the food they eat, regardless of gender or anything else what if anything is pre-agreed upon. I think it's a bit weird and presumptuous to expect anyone to pay for your dinner as an adult. Personally, I've offered to pay for friends and dates on occasion when I could and was feeling generous and have not when I couldn't or wasn't. And these aren't business transactions for Pete's sake. Why on earth would you expect something in return except maybe for that person to reciprocate at a later dinner? I had very little trouble with this dating at the time (or perhaps I did but I was blissfully unaware). It is very much a simple concept in my mind anyway. I'm a bit surprised it causes so many such pain.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Young Japanese men say paying for dates is hardest part of life as a guy

For young women, the hardest part of life is worrying about your physical safety and whether a man you want to trust is going to harm you in some way.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

but I can give you a tip from the LGBTQ world, where gender roles and expectations don't have as much influence:

Whoever has more money might pay for both;

Whoever has less money might pay what they can afford;

If both people make roughly equal salaries, they each can pay for themselves.

Spot on. Also works like this in the hetero world, at least in mine, tbh. And it's pretty much the same with good mates -men & women- or family; if you're on $150k and your gf/friend/sister/bf/hubby isn't, you should buy a couple more rounds, pay for the cab, and/or dinner etc

All about discernment, common sense and savoir-vivre. No gender roles here.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

^ Bingo

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That Bingo was for Maria, just a bit late

0 ( +2 / -2 )

then maybe, just maybe, you should date a feminist. :)

And I thought a night out with the geeks from the IT department was bad ;)

1 ( +5 / -4 )

There are 2 sides to every coin here. According to Strangerland, the guy should pay, almost without exception.

I think that is from a successful older guy's perspective. In your 20 or 30's, I think you have to split the bill until breakfast has been a shared experience. Then you have a gray zone depending on individual finances.

Not sure what was wanting to be said here, but I found this comment kind of interesting. "But the overwhelming number of women are not gold-diggers, but still enjoy the feeling of being provided for, due to that being a base human nature within females, as a prerequisite to being able to have children. It's human nature."

Almost T-shirt worthy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think that is from a successful older guy's perspective. In your 20 or 30's, I think you have to split the bill until breakfast has been a shared experience. Then you have a gray zone depending on individual finances.

I can't speak for being in 20s or 30s now, but when I was those those ages, it was still better to pay. Just go to a cheaper place. And most girls will buy drinks at the second place, or at least offer.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Who pays for the date is all about common sense, as someone stated above. You other guys in the comments are hilarious overthinking this "issue" lol.

So personally, I hated having a guy pay for my date. I was not even aware of feminism at the time-- I was just a kid. Lol. But I hated it if a guy was like, "Let me take care of the check." I don't know why, it made me feel uncomfortable and indebted...

Anyways, I married a man who hated having to pay for dates just as much as I do so now we try to go on free dates lol. Most of the time, though, if we are out at the movies or something, he pays because he has a full-time job and I'm just a college student/at-home wife at the moment. We never argue over these things, really. We don't think twice about it. We've been married about 10 years now.

Anyways, my point I'm attempting to make is that you should use common sense when dating, obviously. Did you ask the girl/guy out? Does she/he make less than you, same, or more?

If you asked a guy/girl out and make a considerable amount more than him/her, maybe you should be a decent person and pay. It's only the polite thing to do.

Also, interestingly, I believe there was a study done on some women, and although they want equality, they still instinctively want to marry a financially stable partner. Financial stability = security. So if you offer to pay for the date, that would be seen subconsciously as, "This man is able to provide security for our potential future offspring." Lol.

And by the way, my daddy taught me to value and respect myself. He taught me how to be picky with men and never settle. He taught me traditional values.

And if you asked me on a date, friend or possible love interest, I'd ask you if you're paying. And if you're not paying, I would ask if we can go on a no-cost date because I really do not have the money right now.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

in Japan, Men are living wallet.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"But the overwhelming number of women are not gold-diggers, but still enjoy the feeling of being provided for, due to that being a base human nature within females, as a prerequisite to being able to have children. It's human nature."

Almost T-shirt worthy.

Thin line between toilet-paper-worthy and t-shirt-worthy.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Message to all the real men: don't ever let a woman tell you what to do with your hard earned money. If a Japanese woman expects you to pay for everything without ever even offering, throw her out. Plenty of other women out there without the toxic self entitlement of Japanese women

5 ( +7 / -2 )

In my dark and very distant past, I paid for Dinner without question, though I also generally ended up with a stay over afterwards. (Choose your date partner carefully). A date has to be just more than simply eating a meal, it's a package entertainment trip, which, if its done well enough, can lead to a better understanding of each other, and perhaps a more... lasting relationship....

Women who simply want a free dinner, and who are going to fly away straight afterwards were/are to be avoided - (they're akin to reverse butterflies.).

Timing of the dinner is important too. Make sure there's a lot of free-time either side of it. Friday nights were generally the best, and choose your venue, to have "backup" options - ideally close to your own digs, should the last train leave you both stranded.... ;-) ... and before attempting such an event, clean up your digs a bit... make it respectable for an impromptu party visit.

.. Enjoy!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Inequality between the sexes affects both sides but in different ways.

I agree. I'm reminded of my early days in Japan when a female friend was telling me of the lack of opportunities for women. While on a train, I said something along the lines of, "It must be terrible being a woman in Japan." She glanced around at the tired looking salarymen, and said, "Yes, but it's better than being a man."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Relationship is not for the weak, selfish and insecure, this should disqualify most people from having a long lasting relationship

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So I’m 0-9 in the votes??

I’m the only guy who figures girls like boys to be strong and I in general pay for girls on dates.

Must be that toxic masculinity again

Nah you're just a boomer.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Always split the bill.

My opinion is 'dates' are a opportunity of 'getting to know you' social events.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Guys soapland is the best way. In the short or long run it is much cheaper on the wallet. You will even have enough left in there so that your not on the rice and beer for 3 weeks.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sukiya for a first date? You've got to be kidding me...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

These guys are thinking too much. You don't need to pay for a first date and you don't need to go anywhere fancy. If that is her expectations, then she's probably materialistic and isn't worth the effort. My first dates are all about walking and talking. Her getting to know me and I'm getting to know her. Furthermore, we get to see if we can enjoy our time together without distractions. Going out for dinner? I already know I will enjoy the dinner. But I don't know if I will enjoy the person. I believe money should be spent on things that are worth it. Someone I don't know isn't worth it

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What with the plummeting birthrate, isn’t it plain that most Japanese men are into P4P-anxiety less dating...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Love the photo :D

If a girl expects me to pay for a date, I expect something in return.

What would that be? :D

thank god I'm married- now I don't have to deal with this crap

Yeah, now all you gotta do is hand over all your money. :D

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If you both work, then both reach for the wallets.

Simple.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hah, I remember an old article here where girls were complaining about men taking them to "cheap" restaurants on a date.

If you're serious about a girl, you absolutely should take her to cheap places like Saizeriya, Royal Host, Matsuya, etc. to gauge her reaction. If she's OK eating there then she's a keeper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Or take your date to any of the nonsmoking small, non-corporate venues readily available in Japan/Tokyo, such as ramen, udon, sushi, etc. places. A little awareness of a neighborhood, some online searching, and safe-for-the-body, good food and charming venues can be found. See if your date is situationally aware of better than corporate offerings and you may have found a keeper. Just my thoughts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

take ur date to the dirtiest and seediest place u can find, and she better pay for herself, if she is cool about it, she is into you and u can see her real feathers .. if she makes a scene , erase that phone number

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@rgcivilian1

Guys soapland is the best way. In the short or long run it is much cheaper on the wallet. You will even have enough left in there so that your not on the rice and beer for 3 weeks.

So for the majority of guys commenting your date has to end with getting your leg over if you've paid for the date? Are you really that shallow? No wonder women have the impression we all think with our meat 'n' 2 veg. Maybe I'm old fashioned.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

what is your point in dating if its not to prolong your life line or enjoy ? if you like to play papa and just pay for women that is your right , but most normal people expect something in return..that is how relationships work.. mutual exchange .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Young Japanese men say paying for dates is hardest part of life as a guy: survey" We should all face such difficult challenges, I really pity them...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@lesenfant

If you both work, then both reach for the wallets.

Simple.

I think this comment said it best.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Surely, when I was dating, my boyfriend pay anything. But, my opinion is Japanese young man is very kind for woman. So they don't want woman to pay. Of course, we tried to pay but we cannot do that. It is a difficult problem in Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Percentage of respondents saying life as a man is frequently or sometime hard:

● Age 30-39: 52 percent

Actually for me, being from the US, I found dating in Japan much more fun than the US. Most of the time in the US, dating felt more like an interview than a date. And for a while, I thought that was to be accepted. However, when I came to Japan and started dating, I was actually having fun, and my date and I just enjoyed the experience. I always gave a small gift on the first date, saying it was an American custom. Everyone I dated liked it. Other than that, I was just being myself and didn't feel interviewed in the least.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Boo hoo.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Half of these comments are basically saying "I'm paying so **** me." Gross. It's not like you paid to get your carpet cleaned. It's a human being.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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