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Why the Japanese are not interested in dating

Updated on July 10, 2014

The reasons

There are quite a number of reasons for the low birth rate in Japan, some are complex but it is easy to outline a number.

Firstly, dating is actually a hassle for a lot of young Japanese these days. Not just for men but for some women too. Unlike in the west where we have our own places once we find a job. Many Japanese tend to live with their parents until they are married, no matter how old they are. In the west, dating may mean going to the movies and bar and then back to your place once you are comfortable with each other.

In Japan it tends to be a bit more formal with stages. E.g. First go out for a coffee and get to know one another. Secondly go on an more adventure date, e.g. movie, sight seeing, shopping. Thirdly a drink and the bar and perhaps and love hotel in which the man would always pay since they can't go to their parents home. This seems very routine and a hassle for many guys and would rather spend their time on their hobbies e.g. TV games, comics, model collection. You would think that they may miss at least a physical relationship with a women, however after interviewing many young Japanese guys, it seems they are not that bothered at all. Many say that women simply use up all their money and free time and they feel they need to always try and impress. Japan has this word "Hikikomri" meaning life "shut in indoors", they are a high percentage of males in this category who prefer to stay in all day playing video games, making crafts and not have too much contact with the outside world.

On the other side for women, many have a similar attitude. Men often take them away from their free time and hobbies. In actual fact though, recently a lot of women prefer going to host bars where they pay money to drink and talk to guys all night. They don't have nor expect any physical relationship with any of the men their but just like to talk to handsome young guys and spend their money. With this kind of mentality from both sides it no wonder the birth rate is so low.

Recently more and more women get getting higher positions in Jobs and many fear that getting married and especially having children will put and end to their careers. This is another reason why women especially in titled positions may be reluctant to get married.

Hikikomori room

Possible solutions

Parents should try to encourage their grown up children to get out on their own, maybe like in the west. This will encourage them to socialize more and the loneliness may also make them realize how much a partner is important. However the main thing stopping young people living along is the amount of money needed up front. In Japan it is not uncommon to pay up to 6 months rents in advance. Upon moving out you may only get 1 or two months rent back.

City governments in Japan should focus a little more an facilities, especially pre-school. It is extremely difficult and competitive to get your child into a decent government run pre-school in the cities. People end up having to go private with very expensive tuition fees and little government support. People hearing about this get put off, parents with just the one child maybe also get put off having more children.

companies need to introduce better maternity leave plans to welcome women back in once they have given birth and are fit to return to work. This would make a great difference in family building and would also take a lot of pressure of women's backs.

Japan used to have a one job for life system back in the bubble economy days. Salary would natural go up with your age and the wife would be a housewife never having to work, just do the housework, cook and make babies. However that has all changed, jobs are definitely not for life, and the husbands salary alone won't always be enough to cover the families expenses so women need to work but hopefully without sacrificing family building.


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    • Hezekiah profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Japan

      Minababe - Yes, those cuddle or "Hugging" cafes are very popular and the female staff seem to hate the concept of relationships. One girl in particular said that she hated Christmas because Japanese couples go out on dates and hold hands. She said she wishes they would drop down dead!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I remember watching a fascinating documentary from Vice about this entire situation, and it struck me as so sad. I think there was one scene of a girl who worked at a cuddle cafe who said she would never, ever date. It was like the entire concept of dating and romance was either burdensome or fearful to her and members of her generation. I really hope Japan is able to do something about this situation, because as you mentioned, it is going to have a huge devastating impact on the country economically and socially.

    • Hezekiah profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Japan

      @Nell Rose - Yes I was quite surprised too. The guys too, many just can't be bothered with the ladies, no matter how pretty or attractive they are.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      That's really interesting to see that both the men and women would rather be indoors doing other things than dating! amazing! I love learning about new cultures, so thanks, fascinating hub!

    • Hezekiah profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Japan

      Thanks for commenting. It is becoming a problem for Japan financially because people aren't having children meaning extending the issue of an ageing society. The government is already in debt and having issues with pension payments. Japanese need more encouragement or incentive.

    • Thomas Swan profile image

      Thomas Swan 

      4 years ago from New Zealand

      Interesting. I had heard about this being a problem in Japan. I think your solutions would work to some extent. However, the problem is starting to appear in Western cultures too where we have those things in place. It's not as serious, but it's getting there. I think the cause is social anxiety brought about by the rate of cultural development. We are advancing at a terrific rate with new technologies and it's creating an ever more unnatural and unsocial environment. I don't think we should halt our advancement, but we should think about the mental health of the population more.

    • Hezekiah profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Japan

      The brothers are not so common these day anymore. Most of them are run by Chinese or Koreas (Supervised by the Japanese Yakuza) and are illegal. Japanese wives, do mind very much if their husbands are cheating, however a divorce is a massive issue here in Japan. Being a single mother, gives you a label here and it would be extremely difficult to find a new partner with baggage in Japan. Women just try to continue with the relationship and hold out until their children are old enough to leave home.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      It's my understanding that brothels are common in Japan and that employers sometimes pay for a day's excursion to a brothel as a little benny for their male employees. It is considered acceptable and wives do not object. Believe 60 Minutes made a documentary of this social practice several years ago.

      Their dating practices do sound tedious, but then most of them here are too.

      Interesting to read about their lower birthrate and the common value of putting money ahead of family and marriage.

    • Hezekiah profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Japan

      thank you @teacher12345, it's quite a worrying topic here in Japan actually.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Your share is quite interesting on a custom most countries consider either lightly or with high reserves. Thanks for the education on this topic in Japan.

    • Hezekiah profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Japan

      ï¼ easy exercise, thank you. The Hikkikomori can always been around in japan however now it has gotten to the stage where it is affecting the birthrate. The after war baby boomers are retiring about now and Japan has a lot of pensions to payout.

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 

      4 years ago from United States

      Hi Hezekiah,

      Wonderful insight. You bring up an international concern - "Hikikomri" meaning life "shut in indoors". Just as we have been fighting the battle of obesity worldwide, I foresee this "shut in indoors" to be a socio economic problem.

      We need population and we need the brightest and smartest and this will serve to change our world.

      Thank you for sharing! Unusual topic, five stars for originality and five stars for insight, voted up!

    • Hezekiah profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Japan

      Greedy landlords and estate agencies are too blame for that one. They take up to two months deposit, one months agents fee, one or two months (Shikikin) or thank you month money and other fees here and there. If you leave the premises in good condition you may get on month back when you leave. Very hard for young people, although recently there are some places that accept a couple months rent only in advance.

    • BNadyn profile image


      4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      It's always interesting to see how the western cultures differ from other countries. I can see why many young people stay at home longer living with their parents if most places require 6 months in advance! Thanks for this perspective on this topic.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is quite an interesting view on the Japanese and dating. Thank you for the education.

    • idevices profile image

      Abhishek Gupta 

      4 years ago from Kolkata

      quite interesting to note and understand the cultures as well as the changes technology has brought in many lives


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