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I've watched so many Western men in Japan who were enamored with the 'kawaii' factor of Japanese women, marry them, completely ignoring, to their peril, that these women are children and have zero pro

47 Comments

American author Stefhen F.D. Bryan who wrote the controversial book "Black passenger Yellow Cabs: Of Exile and Excess in Japan," an erotic ethnographic memoir detailing his encounters with about 30 Japanese women. (Japan Times)

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It was an interesting article. The author made some very valid points. I've seen lots of mixed marriages fail in Japan because foreign guys (usually) just had no idea what they were getting in to when marrying a Japanse girl. I know some couples who don't even speak each Luther's language competently; that alone puts quite a strain on a relationship.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well certainly not ALL Japanese women are like this but some are- I think you would find that in any country though perhaps Japan has a higher number than average? I do admit to laughing at foreign guys who marry a young, cute thing without really knowing her and then are shocked when she turns into the "typical Japanese housewife" who demands their money and refuses to work. Lord knows I have worked and do work with a few who have made some complaints.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As a Western woman with a Japanese boyfriend, I would say the lack of conflict-resolution skills goes for Japanese men too. But yeah, the key is to look properly at the person you are getting married to. A successful marriage is already difficult, but cultural differences and languages barriers make it even harder.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

These women are children

Why would anyone knowingly marry a child?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bit of a generalisation, no? Sure, kawaii is real and sure, some Japanese women can be emotionally immature - but the same applies to many Western women - without the added bonus of kawaii!!!!!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

As a foreigner (UK) married to a Japanese lady for 15 years, my exprience is shock at the lack of attention one gets as husband after the children arrive. The dynamic of the family changed to mother & children with father left as almost an outsider whose role is just to finance the family. I am sure not all experience this but I have heard many tell me similar stories about feeling like a visitor in their home after the children arrive.

This is exacerbated by 12 hour work days Mon-Fri (kids and wife asleep when I leave home and when I return because she's laid down with thrm to get them to sleep and fallen asleep herself) then weekend children & wife doing ballet, piano, art classes etc which leave little time for dad and children or whole family time.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Good thing my wife isn't kawaii.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If I bury my head in the Japan bubble I would agree Japanese wives are not appropriate for Western men. But everytime I visit home I realize I am judging them too harshly. Japanese wives generally cook well, or try to, take care of the children well, and take care of their bodies (or at least don't let them go to the extent you see in US). Many of my US friends are already divorced from US women, with the usual "grow apart", cheating on the husband, etc. Grass is always greener.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I'm not sure that writing a book detailing your experience of one-night stands makes you an expert on human relationships.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Sounds like another one of those guys who've come to Japan, running from something at home, thinking he can pick up easy here, and leaving bitter after only being able to score terrible girls.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So, what this author is saying that if you judge your women on looks alone, you may end up marrying an attractive idiot?

WOW. I am wholly flabbergasted. Simply shocked by the thoroughly thought-provoking conclusion that, surely, no one else has ever come up with before.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

the key is to look properly at the person you are getting married to.

of course. And that applies regardless of where you are or where you come from, or where the other person comes from.

A successful marriage is already difficult, but cultural differences and languages barriers make it even harder.

I don't think difficult is the right word; making a marriage successful involves a lot of hard work on both sides. I imagine being in an unsuccessful marriage would be much, much more difficult. Whether cultural differences and language barriers make things harder depends on the individual couple and their circumstances. Chez cleo the language barrier has never been a barrier as such, more a ruck in the carpet that one or other may trip over now and again (I think the ruck has gone now, the carpet is flat and a bit threadbare). Depending on your mindset, cultural differences can add spice to a relationship; if there's a cultural difference you don't understand or can't get your head around, you work together to find a way to accommodate it if it's important to the other person, because you love them and want them to be happy - and that works both ways, of course. Being obviously 'different' has worked great with the in-laws; I'm sure I get a lot more leeway from my mil than any homogeneous Japanese dil would have.

I hate it when someone groups a whole load of different people together on account of one shared attribute ('women', 'Japanese', 'English teachers', 'liberals', whatever') and then refer to them as 'these people', as if that one attribute said everything there was to say about them. That's what Bryan seems to be doing here, totally ignoring the fact that 'Western men' do not marry 'Japanese women'; one individual marries another individual, and it's up to the individuals concerned to get to know and understand the other person before they commit for life. If any man, Western or otherwise, marries a woman solely on the grounds that she's 'kawaii' 'exotic' or whatever, then I would say he's the child, not her (though if she had any sense she'd see through his cultural chauvinism, too). Caveat emptor, on both sides.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Many of my US friends are already divorced from US women, with the usual "grow apart", cheating on the husband, etc. Grass is always greener.

Or perhaps the US women divorced your friends?

Mod, you allow the nasty comments about foreign women to be left on here and then remove comments that point out the obvious about some of the western men who are in Japan. Come on now!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Hook ups happen everywhere. The author doesn't need to pat himself on the back.

That said those who prefer blondes don't get pilloried. What's wrong with a little 'yellow fever'? Western gals are quick to blame the men for not dating a 'real woman' - which tells you what they think of the Japanese. Is it racism dressed up as sisterly concern?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I envision American author Stefhen F.D. Bryan as being some kind of a twit. He had "encounters" with about 30 Japanese women and came up with enough for a story demonizing them. Surely he met the wrong group.

As Zichi says above: "Marriage is about what you can give to your relationship rather than what you want to take from it." I could add to this ... but what he says is good enough for me ...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese woman are mostly beautiful and if you have your head screwed on you can work/cope with the immaturity and lack of other social skills such as lack of conflict resolution .

Would rather be with a beautiful immature woman who lacks some skill than a beastly, ugly, over weight, pink skinned western woman with a bad attitude who doesnt care about appearance any day.

Had one of those not interested in another one so i"ll take my chances with Japanese woman.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Is it racism dressed up as sisterly concern?

If the woman commenting is married to a Japanese man do you make the same suggestion??

Would rather be with a beautiful immature woman who lacks some skill than a beastly, ugly, over weight, pink skinned western woman with a bad attitude who doesnt care about appearance any day.

Funny, I think the same thing of most white men...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We could turn that around too to be that alot of japanese woman are happy to have a Trophy Gaijin for a husband.

I actually think the writer of this article is a farily superficial person to have run through 30 odd japanese woman only to come out and make this statement, surely he was not being honest with himself or the woman, perhaps he didnt take the time to get to know the girls or was only interested in getting another conquest and it sounds to me he was running round roppongi screwing what ever he could find.

Some japanese woman are fantastically mature and have excellent social skills including dealing with conflict and other facets of life, I often found them to be a fair bit more well adjusted than western woman , i guess it depends on where you are meeting the woman and the types you are meeting.

Hard and cruel to put them all in the same boat.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Hard and cruel to put them all in the same boat.

You mean like you just did with the 'western woman' who isn't as well adjusted as her Japanese sister?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's a generalisation Cleo or did you take it literally?

This guy who wrote the article isnt generalising in my opinion though.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

**It's a generalisation Cleo or did you take it literally?

This guy who wrote the article isnt generalising in my opinion though.**

Oh dear. Called out for generalizing, denies it and then suggests that this isn't what the author is doing.

Insert broad generalizations about western men in Japan. Good lord. can any of you men make any positives comments about Japanese women without having to attack foreign women in the process?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I like your comment, Zichi. BTW is this now common husband-wife relationship only a post WWII phenomenon, or has this been true for centuries in Japan? I often wonder...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@InControl my exprience is shock at the lack of attention one gets as husband after the children arrive. The dynamic of the family changed to mother & children with father left as almost an outsider whose role is just to finance the family.

After 14 years and 3 kids myself, I could've written the above word for word. Additonally, after trying to address our dying relationship I have experienced the added shock of being told by JWife, angrily, "There is no more husband-wife. It's YOUR responsibility to work and get a salary, it's MY responsibility to take care of the home and children!" (how fast would we be boxed about the head if we preach that to women?!)

This coming from a woman who has traveled extensively around the globe, speaks 3 languages, was not the quiet-mousey-Jgirl-who-serves-man-his-meal-and-waits-for-him-to-start-to-eat (I dated those girls too. yawn.). This is the reality of a marriage I find myself in which has not been troubled by infidelity (to my knowledge), alcoholism/addiction, debt, poverty, or domestic abuse. Lately I have been hearing in my head an old drinking buddy's rude (or so I thought at the time), scowling response to me upon announcing my engagement to JWife those many years ago, "This is isn't the country you get engaged in! This is the country you play in!"

Sucker.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have experienced the added shock of being told... There is no more husband-wife.

Don't get upset... get even!

If a woman has the nerve to tell her husband that kind of disgraceful nonsense then, IMHO, he has the absolute right to go out and satisfy his needs wherever he can do so.

And she can go to hell.

Just keep smiling at home, keep the pay checks coming and you can have the time of your life.

Remember, the Charisma Man effect doesn't stop just because you're married.

Forget "western morals" or whatever else might be holding you back and go out and get those beautiful Japanese ladies.

Believe me, there are plenty out there just dying to be "well-treated" by a western man.

The funny thing is, after you realise what a wonderful time can be had in Japan even after your married, well, you might just be thanking your wife for presenting this opportunity...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

StormR: Would rather be with a beautiful immature woman who lacks some skill than a beastly, ugly, over weight, pink skinned western woman with a bad attitude who doesnt care about appearance any day. Had one of those not interested in another one so i"ll take my chances with Japanese woman.

Funny, in my experience, the guys saying stuff like that are usually not exactly fit and fine themselves. It's nice though that they have enough self-confidence to look in the mirror and see what's not there. Someone has to, right?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Many Western men has a sterotype impage of Japanese women that is traditional, take care of husband, cook dinner, and clean house. Lots of guys hope for that, but todays young women are much different. The Japanese women are picky and have high expectations and to them, marriage must be a two-sided contract. He must put family first and cater to her in-laws and, hand over control of the bank accounts to her.

After marriage, you will experience most Japanese women have bossy attittude with no B.S. approach. The Japanese women's innocent exterior will eventually give way to real-life experience of emotional, controlling and fiery temperament. But grounding relationships in reality can get past expectations and truly get to know each other as individuals. My advise is get to know a women real well and define the boundaries that you both can agree on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Fortunately, I am extremely Kawaii myself, so my marriage works a treat.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Right on stormR!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"IMHO, he has the absolute right to go out and satisfy his needs wherever he can do so.

And she can go to hell.

Just keep smiling at home, keep the pay checks coming and you can have the time of your life."

And the foreign guys bash the Japanese males that do exactly this. There is a reason why the sex industry is huge here.

I don't get it. Foreign men often want a woman who will cook, clean, look after them and make them feel manly. And when the wives demand they get out of the house while she does such things, you all complain. Frankly, any foreign guy who thinks "My Japanese girlfriend won't become one of those women" really needs to be ready for the shock and surprise when it does happen. I know some lovely couples but they are the exception, not the rule.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Who says everyone wants the perfect life long partner? I'm forty, divorced over ten years now and committed to lifelong bachelorhood. That means relationships are short - several months to several years - till the woman realizes I'm not a keeper and her goals may be different. For that, many Japanese women are suitable partners. They make good company and are not too demanding and my expectations don't have to be too high. Just being a stepping stone in someone's life journey, or a chapter in her life is fine with me. It's not all about what wonderful 'wives' they'll make. The idea that love absolutely has to be forever is outdated and anachronistic.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Obviously shallow off the cuff quotation, but interesting thread. A lot of prejudices sneaking out.

For me I am of an age where quite a lot of my friends/ colleagues are married with children by now.

My impression is, whether J-Foreign, J-J, or F-F, 80% or more of unmarried couples are unhappy with each other. They will pick out any problem in their partner and make it into the reason, but I don't think those are the real reasons. It is how much they can sacrifice for the other or not, and identify problems and try to solve them, that is the central issue. imo.

Sure, Japan is an incredibly xenophobic place, and there are other stresses besides that that any expat must endure living in another country. These can create stress in a marriage. But I don't think the real reasons are "cultural differences."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

StormR: ...I often found them to be a fair bit more well adjusted than western woman...

StormR: Would rather be with a beautiful immature woman who lacks some skill than a beastly, ugly, over weight, pink skinned western woman with a bad attitude who doesnt care about appearance any day.

MumbaiRocks: Japanese wives generally cook well, or try to, take care of the children well, and take care of their bodies (or at least don't let them go to the extent you see in US). Many of my US friends are already divorced from US women, with the usual "grow apart", cheating on the husband

Wakarimasan: Sure, kawaii is real and sure, some Japanese women can be emotionally immature - but the same applies to many Western women - without the added bonus of kawaii!!!!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't usually write long missives on here, but after reading this quote I spent GBP 1.91 on the kindle edition of his book. I guess it wasn't much for a weekend's worth of reading, although a lot of the content was not really to my taste. I found the author to be a little bit inconsistent and not particularly credible in a lot of his experiences and views. He seemed to go from love to hate in one small step (in some cases fro almost no reason like grinding teeth or, perversely, because the woman had not been his lap dog). Nearly all of the women were what he labels chococurious (or somesuch) and he makes them out to be basically sluts. He goes on at some length about his endowment but also seems to have any num ber of weird sexual encounters which involve him pleasutring himself etc. He makes porn type pictueres and short clip movies of most of his girls. He considers marrying 2 of them at the same time and wants them both to know and eaccept this. and at the same time is seeing a few other women, all of whom he labels as being somehow special. He makes odd statements about being a feminist while at the same time clearly having a fairly jaundiced view of women. He loathes women when they are drunk, for goodness' sake. He goes on and on about the incidence of chlamydia in Japanese women, but at the same time prefers not using a condom. His views on race are also a bit strange - he often uses the term "yellow women" for example. All in all a pretty mixed up book from someone who seems so pleased with himself and his own insights that he seems to have lost the ability to empathise or understand any other point of view......

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

wakarimasen: All in all a pretty mixed up book from someone who seems so pleased with himself and his own insights that he seems to have lost the ability to empathise or understand any other point of view......

but the same applies to many Western women - without the added bonus of kawaii!!!!!

That's a bit rich coming from someone who's basically written off Western woman as not being kawaii.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I didn't write them of at all. Just said kawaii can be nice also. Was married to a "Western woman" for 14 years and have dated a few since then. Happen to be living in Japan right now so opportunity is more with Japanese women and I have come to like many aspects of the ones I have met's approach to dating and relationships. That's all. You will note I said "many Western women". Pull your chin back in a little.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

wakarimasen: Just said kawaii can be nice also

That's not actually "just" what you said because as you've written it, it is perfectly clear. To your thinking Western women lack the kawaii factor.

What you wrote was:

Sure, kawaii is real and sure, some Japanese women can be emotionally immature but the same applies to many Western women - without the added bonus of kawaii!!!!!

Happen to be living in Japan right now so opportunity is more with Japanese women and I have come to like many aspects of the ones I have met's approach to dating and relationships

I've no issue with that, just the need you obviously felt to denigrate western woman while praising Japanese women.

You will note I said "many Western women".

The "many Western women" in your sentence, as it's written, refers to emotional immaturity so you're just digging a deeper hole here.

Pull your chin back in a little.

I'll worry about my own chin, thanks. You keep your eye on the "kawaii" ladies. I'm sure they're falling all over themselves to get at you.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No they are not falling over themselves. Neither am I falling over myself to get at them. Just trying to live a normal life. Still don'r see why you are so riled by my short comment andn then longer note after reading this book. Earlier comment is that MANY Western women can also be emtionally immature without the added bonus of being kawaii - is that denigrating them all (or indeed any of them) - maybe added bonus was sloppy grammar, but hey, this is not a literary site, it's JT.. If I like kawaii sometimes isn't that my taste and am I not allowed to say so? Plenty other people might find kawaii offputting (witness some posters above). As for my comments on the book, have you read it? If you are so animated by my short comment then i am pretty sure it will have you apoplectic. Can't wait for the next article on JT about smoking.......

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I read this book a while back and found myself disagreeing with a number of the points made by the author. i also found him to be inexplicably racist, frequently inconsistent and sometimes his views and his way of dealing with situations was pretty gross. Nevertheless, i guess he is only telling it like HE found it - don't think it is a true reflection of the vast majority of realtionships in Japan. As for the Western/Japanese women argument, what's the big deal. Different strokes and all that?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wakarimasen: Earlier comment is that MANY Western women can also be emtionally immature without the added bonus of being kawaii - is that denigrating them all (or indeed

Yes, it is not only denigrating but ridiculously incorrect.

maybe added bonus was sloppy grammar, but hey, this is not a literary site, it's JT.

Yes, it's JT but if you don't want your comments interpreted incorrectly then be more careful about how you phrase them. As it is, you've yet again said that Western women are not kawaii, so what is it? You're a sloppy writer or that no Western women are cute / pretty?

If I like kawaii sometimes isn't that my taste and am I not allowed to say so?

You can like whatever you want. My objection is not to your preferences but the need you felt to insult how many hundreds of millions of non-Japanese women in order to convey your preferences. I have my own preferences too but don't find it necessary to put down men who don't meet them.

If you are so animated by my short comment then i am pretty sure it will have you apoplectic.

It might but I have no intention of reading the book in question. I get more than my fill of ridiculous, sexist, racist and just plain stupid comments on male / female relations in Japan by reading this site.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

OK. You are entirely correct that I have denigrated or written off hundreds of millions of non-Japanese women that I have never seen or met. Indeed a totally unacceptable and sexist approach for which i apologise profusely. Additionally , plenty of Japanese women are not kawaii and do not deserve to be treated as objects. Finally, it is a pity that you rely on JT for your daily quota of ourageous sexist and stupid comments on a whole range of topics. Sometimes reading an improving book can educate and show that there are worse things happening at sea every day.

Still, I will be more careful next time I express any opinions on here (or, indeed, anywhere).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wakarimasen: ....sexist approach for which i apologise profusely

Who said anything about it being sexist? A bit narrow-minded and silly perhaps but I never said it was sexist.

...and do not deserve to be treated as objects.

Nope, I never said anything about your treating them as objects either.

Sometimes reading an improving book can educate and show that there are worse things happening at sea every day.

Thanks, professor. I'd never have thought of that myself. And where might I get these fancy things called "books"?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You could start with the book under discussion on your kindle (if you have one) for GBP 1.91. Hard copy on Amazon is GBP 13.67. Otherwise books are widely available in "bookstores". Some of them sell magazines and also coffee and funky stationery items. Too much fun under one roof. In lots of them "kawai" women hang out reading and the like. As our intrepid author might have pointed out, it is a great place to "meet" women (or, I guess, men). Even better if they are reading English language magazines (as one of his favoyurite pick up lines was "You look like you speak English"). Hope this helps.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I re-read a couple of chapters of this last night (inspired by the brilliant "debate" on JT). A few of the encounters and relationships he describes are pretty weird and dysfunctional. he has also clearly swallowed a few sociology and psychology books - and uses a number of standard theories to explain his mistreatment of his "yellow" girlfriends. Rings more of justification than explanation. anyway, not really the most balanced or pleasant view of Japan and Japanese society and definitely not of Japanese women.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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