Ah, the age-old question…when dating Japanese women, should you split the bill? Even for Japanese couples, the issue is tricky...
But I’m here to give you a tip not all Western men know:
You absolutely can (and should) go Dutch in Japan.
Except, there are tricks to it.
Read on to find out how to do it right!
Japanese Dating Culture (Is Weird)
Let me preface all this by saying I mean no offence to Japanese people.
In fact, I think we can learn a thing or two from them about work ethics and respecting elders.
When it comes to dating Japanese women, though, the culture is plain weird.
For starters, there is a lot of games involved.
Japanese men are notoriously shy. Maybe that is why some of them shut themselves down and switch to VR porn instead of dating. Anyway, for girls, this means their whole act is:
- Appear sweet, innocent, and submissive (as the perfect Jap girl should be, apparently).
- Go deep into stalker mode to figure their crush out.
- As soon as things get physical, ask for an exclusive relationship. In the West, people call that crazy. While in Japan, it’s the norm (well, pretty much the norm anyway).
In short, Japanese women struggle to make these often incredibly beta guys feel more masculine. And the check, unsurprisingly, is a part of that.
Who Doesn’t Love Free Food?
There is one very solid argument on why women don’t pay for the first date. Plain and simple, they like free food. Really, who doesn’t?
Dating is expensive and going out with multiple people can easily break the bank.
If you had the option of women paying for your food, while you sit around and ‘get to know each other’, why wouldn’t you?
“Yeah, I wasn’t so sure about him but agreed to go out anyway…”
– I recently heard a (Western) female friend say.
“Worst case scenario: I still get a free meal!“
In that sense, dating Japanese women is no different than dating Western girls. Who doesn’t love to be treated? And research reveals that most girls still expect the guy to pay, even if they consider it fair to go Dutch.
Why Is It Called Going Dutch Anyway?
Slightly off-topic here, but hear me out. Why do we even have that expression, “Going Dutch”?
Here’s a clue:
It has nothing to do with how advanced women’s rights are in the Netherlands. Granted, on dates in Amsterdam you would split the bill, but that’s not why we say the expression.
The term actually comes from some German-speaking settlers in the US.
Apparently, the ‘Dutch’ (they were not really Dutch, they actually came from Germany) of Pennsylvania were known as extremely honest people. They would never borrow money from anyone – to the point that they’d split the bill in the tavern equally as well.
It was never about women’s rights or independence!
Going Dutch is more so about keeping things nice and fair. And that is exactly what it means to Japanese people today.
Don’t Call It Going Dutch, Call It…
The correct Japanese term for splitting the bill is warikan. But it does not look like the typical fake wallet reach.
When people in Japan dine together, whether it’s a group of friends, coworkers, or a date, typically just one person orders the food, everybody shares, and then that person tells each member of the party how much they owe.
How much you pay depends on status more than it does on gender.
If you’re a manager taking his employees out for dinner, you are expected to pay the bill (or at least the larger part of it).
boss > guys > girls
In other words, if you were a group of friends eating together, the women would still pay a share of the bill but not all of it. This is often weird for foreigners.
But how does it work for dates?
The Great Expectations
A study conducted in 2013 confirmed that around 70% of the Japanese women interviewed still preferred to be paid for. Legend has it that some of the guys were even offended by the questions. Why should that even be a topic of discussion, they said, what kind of man-woman equality is that?
Clearly, the expectation is still that on a first date the guy should pay. It’s one of the few chances that Japanese men have of asserting their masculinity. But the younger generation is increasingly opposed to this. It is now normal for university students (and people that aren’t rolling in money) to split the bill. Struggling college girls love free food as much as anyone but they are recognizing that it is the polite and fair thing to do.
And Japanese Culture Is All About Being Polite And Fair
Mutual respect is very important to Japanese people. So, while the girls do love to be pampered they would also not want to make you feel uncomfortable.
The girls in Japan face a weird dilemma:
If they offer to pay, they might hurt a man’s ego and emasculate them.
However, if a Japanese girl assumes she won’t be expected to pay, isn’t she being too demanding? That is pretty bad in Japanese culture.
So what do most Japanese women do? They ask how much they are expected to pay. This, to them, is the best of both worlds. It still puts the guy in the position of power, while being polite and fair. Notice how I am saying polite and fair a lot here? This is the key to going Dutch the Japanese way (wow that feels weird to say).
A Woman’s Perspective
International dating is always a bit weird. For foreign women dating Japanese men, they are often surprised by the whole issue with the check. Here is what one of them shared on the Internet after a date-gone-wrong:
Recently, I went out for dinner with a Japanese guy I thought might be interested in me. After dinner, he went to the cashier to pay the bill. When I offered to pay for my half of the bill, he accepted my money. I was shocked!
Maybe I’m spoiled and pampered back home cause when I go out with guys (even just normal friends) they would pick the tab even when I offer to pay my share (which I truly intend to).
So what does this mean? Have I read the signs wrong? It was like the dinner was a costly elaborate one. And he was the one who invited me.
How about some thoughts on this.https://www.japan-guide.com/forum/quereadisplay.html?0+12115
In other words, she doesn’t mind paying the bill…but she does?
Typical of a Western girl to not bother to learn about the culture she’s integrated with, but that’s another discussion for another day.
Japanese men will say yes to splitting the bill because they don’t want to offend you.
Japanese women will offer to split the bill with the intention of following through.
How To Go Dutch With Japanese Women
All of this hopefully helped give you context. Dating in Japan is not like dating in the West. The fake wallet reach is not fake at all. These girls don’t mind paying for their share of the meal. Sure, they expect you to take the lead (with all things in dating, not just the bill). And this is how you do it:
You give her a smaller part of the check to pay.
This is what Japanese people do.
When they dine in a friend group, they still let the women contribute but only with a small amount. You can apply the same principle to dating. It’s best to treat your Japanese date if it’s an expensive venue. When you start going out more regularly, though, it is perfectly normal (and even expected) for her to pay a share.
When you’re dating Japanese women, you should conform to the local dating culture… To a certain extent. A lot of Japanese girls are tired of local guys. They appreciate a man taking initiative. They also love dating Western guys, by the way, and they will forgive some faux pas. Don’t be too worried about the check, Japanese girls feel pretty lucky to be on a date with you in the first place.
Dating Japanese Women: Meeting Them Online
Now that we have the whole going Dutch thing clear, where do you meet Japanese girls in the first place? Right now, the best way to do that is meeting them online. We did a full guide on dating Japanese women like a pro, check it out here! A large chunk on that is on online dating because it’s the most effective way.
This is one of my favourite places to meet Japanese girls. These women are tired of the local dating scene and Japanese guys with low confidence.
Meet them, ask them out, and apply your newly learnt skill of going Dutch the Japanese way.
By the way, if you have any cool stories or tips on dating Japanese women, share them in the comments below.