Love & Relationships in Japan! How to Date in Tokyo

There are various cultural differences across each country across the globe. Then how about differences in the way we love? Dating and courting in Japan is uniquely different from other countries. In this article we will introduce how relationships differ in Japan.

First, how does a man meet a woman? Most times couples meet at schools, companies, or through friends. In those cases they first become friends and then become a couple. This is obviously similar to how it works in other countries as well. If longer you spend time with one another, the fonder you become of each other. Don’t you agree?

Another way men meet women in Japan is through a Gokon. Gokon is short for Godo Konpa (singles mixer). It originally meant a drinking party held by several groups. Now it usually means a drinking party between men and women’s groups who are searching for a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Gokon is a unique way of meeting. There is somebody like a leader called kanji in both the men’s group and the women’s group. They arrange the number of the people who join the party and the time and the place of the party.

Gokon is usually held by a small number of people, but Machi (town) kon which is held by a large number of people is popular these days. In the case of machikon, at least more than 100 people and at most as much as 3000 people join it! At least two of the same sex go around together freely to several fixed restaurants in the town and look for somebody they like with eating food. It is popular because there is a good possibility of meeating somebody you like as there are a lot of people taking part in it!

There is also a traditional way of meeting called omiai (an arranged meeting). At omiai a man and a woman who want to get married meet by arrangements of a third pefson. In the old days the third person was usually a boss at the company where he or she works, or somebody from their families. But now if a person wants an arrangement meeting, the person generally registers in an arrangement meeting site and so on that a matrimonial agency runs.
Unlike gokon, omiai usually aims to marriage, so most people who made dates with each other after omiai get married.

Second, declaring one’s love. In the case of overseas, most people become lovers gradually after going on several dates with each other, don’t they? In Japan, usually one person declares his or her love to the other and then they have dates with each other. It is opposite to overseas, isn’t it? Generally a man tells he loves her to the woman, so especially if a man doesn’t say “I love you” though they had went out with each other several times, the woman sometimes worries about their relationship wondering if they were friends or lovers.

Compared to other countries, most Japanese men are more shy. So there is less expression of love like physical contact or words teling he loves her. It probably makes a woman feel somehow unsatisfied, but it will make her more happy if she was told he loves her by her lover when he does not say so everyday!

Anyway, the feeling of love is the same all over the world! What kind of love do you like?

Photo by オハヨー, acworks, ametsugu

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