There are many similarities, as well. Marriage has a long history in Japan, a history that is based on gender roles influenced heavily by Confucian views. Keep in mind, I am an outsider looking in. Reuters The point of dating is to get to know someone. The rules of dating, courtship, vary across cultures. However, the point remains the same. There are a few key ideas that are identical to dating in Japan and in the United States.
These ideas are good advice for anyone seeking to develop friendships and romantic relationships: Express interest in the person: It only hurts relationships. Physical Intimacy — Sex I will expand on the third point. It is one of the key differences between Japanese dating customs and American dating customs. Several studies have found correlations with the amount of time a couple waits to have sex and the quality of their relationship.
This study found that the longer a couple waited while dating to become sexually involved, the better their relationship was after marriage. In fact, couples who waited until marriage to have sex compared to those who started having sex early in their relationship reported higher marital satisfaction, better communication patterns, less consideration of divorce, and better sexual quality.
This brings me to the key difference between Japanese and American dating. Physical intimacy, even between professed couples, is a slow process. Kissing, hand holding, and sex do not come until after kokuhaku more on this in a bit.
Although there are always exceptions. With many couples, the physical intimacy part develops slowly Back to Japan, ; Larkin, Physical displays of intimacy in public are taboo. This lends to the slow in American eyes development of the physical aspects of dating. In the United States it is normal to express interest in a person through touch, kissing, hand holding, etc.
However, the idea of uchi-soto weighs heavily on people. Japanese society pressures people to be respectful and considerate of others, even at the expense of your own needs Larkin, This is why PDA public displays of affection are taboo.
The Western ideas of honesty and openness are seen as both attractive and problematic. Because of uchi-soto, many Japanese people are oblique about expressing their feelings.
This is called amae. Amae is behavior that shows desire to be loved or take care of you Strowhorn; ; Kirai, Japanese men tend to be subtle and indirect when approaching women because of these societal norms.
Men are encouraged by the corporate world to be subtle, tactful, and highly considerate of the well being of others. That is, when they approach women at all. This is one of the differences to consider with Japanese dating rituals. Dating follows a different course than Western standards. Again, there are exceptions. First Comes Friends Before dating there is gokon.
These are group blind dates. A group of friends get together and mingle. This lets each group take stock of each other. The approval of friends when dating is often important Back to Japan, After several gokon, often between 5 or 6, people pair off for coffee, movies, and other typical date activities. However, these are generally done in public. The couple is still not considered dating. They are only feeling each other out — rather than feeling each other up.
Next comes Love Scene from Memoirs of a Geisha Kokuhaku is the next step for people who are into each other. However, it is a strange practice in Western eyes. One that is said to make many Westerners uncomfortable Back to Japan, ; Larkin, Kokuhaku is the confession of love often seen in anime.
It is not something we typically tell someone we are only starting to date. However, in Japan, this is the initiating confession for dating. After kokuhaku, dating follows a more recognizable route: Physical intimacy starts to ramp up. The speed depend on the couple. Then Comes Marriage Marriage rituals vary based upon family expectations.
I will instead focus on the reality of marriage in Japan: Like many societies, marriage in Japan was arranged for much of its history. The purpose of marriage was the continuation the family line. This, as I mentioned in this article , has changed in many circles. The traditional gender roles still persist: Japanese men often do now share in housework. Because of this view, women who work are often not seen as contributing to the household. The closest idea to the Western virgin was the otome maiden who was thought to be lacking sexual desire in addition to experience.
During the Tokugawa Period, both men and women could be considered adulterers. Married women, unlike men, were penalized. Women were property of husbands or fathers. Adultery was a property dispute that was left to the decision of those involved. Punishment could be everything from a fine to death Stanely, A, No marriage means no children, generally. The decline in population is linked to a decline in marriage. Marriage on the the decline for several reasons. Educated men prefer to marry younger women and women who are less educated.
Educated women do not want to marry less educated men. Because of these problems there are several trends that are on the rise: Women are marrying much later, when at all Hirakawa, There is an increased interest in international marriage, particularly of Japanese women marrying Western men Bardsley, ; Hirakawa, Declining marriage rates equate the decline in population.
Many Japanese men have yet to change their views. It is the world only Katsuragi knows. Okay, I am sure many of you are celebrating. Yes, Japanese women are interested in foreign boyfriends. Conversely, foreign women find it hard to snag a Japanese boyfriend because of the same problems Japanese women experience Japan Times, There are problems with international dating. Language barriers and cultural differences are just a few. Girls can find a cute Japanese boyfriend as well.
These relationships may seem easier on the surface. However, language and culture are significant barriers that cannot be underestimated. It is important to understand why marriage is on the decline because it reflects on the difficulties people everywhere have. It is difficult to make a connection with another person. It takes patience, understanding, and openness. It is impossible to fully understand a person; she will always annoy and surprise you. Despite the cultural differences in dating, people everywhere want to find someone to trust and share their lives with.
Something about modern society has made it more difficult or perhaps simply made that difficulty more visible for two people to make that connection. The physical part of this connection is important, but it can be overemphasized. The emotional connection is what lasts throughout life. As I illustrated with research, it is often best to keep sex out of a blossoming relationship.
Emotional context is important for the physical aspects of relating to another person. It is an outgrowth of loving that person for who they are rather than letting hormones rule decisions. Dating and marriage faces similar problems in the United States.