Friday, February 22, 2008

Charisma Men

Image pinched from the Charisma Man home page where one can order a comic book of the strips. Click this version to see a more readable size, or, visit the web site.

Back when I first started working in Japan, there was a young Canadian man working at Nova who worked the same morning shifts as I. He was only 20 years old and had come to Japan when he was 19. Somehow, he managed to get a work visa despite only having some junior college under his belt. (For those who don't know, the minimum requirement for a work visa is (usually) a Bachelor's degree.)

On occasion, I interacted with him either when no lessons were scheduled or in the conversation lounge when we were scheduled in there together. Unsurprisingly, he was sometimes pretty immature. Somewhat surprisingly, he was prone to emotional outbursts on the job. The main things I noticed were that he was prone to chatting with young female students in Japanese whenever the least opportunity presented itself, even when he was supposed to be helping them practice English.

As time went by, he developed a crush on a British coworker who I was friends with. He interacted with her like a lovesick puppy until she agreed to go on a trip to Tokyo Disneyland with him a few young Japanese women. Upon returning from this foray, my friend told me that his behavior was extremely childish and overtly attention-seeking and boastful. She said she was both embarrassed to be with him and as a witness to this behavior in front of the Japanese women. She also said that she was told by the Japanese girls that his speaking was very much like that of a Japanese schoolgirl because he'd honed his skills on young girls.

This young man didn't tend to socialize much with the foreign coworkers between classes or at lunch time. He tended to spend most of his time chatting with secretaries or lunching with students. At that time, socializing with students was not prohibited, or, if it was, it wasn't enforced. Eventually, he seemed to develop a superior and contemptuous attitude toward the other foreigners and wanted little to do with them, particularly after my friend was forced to overtly reject his interest in her.

I didn't know it at the time, but I'd just had my first experience with a classic "charisma man" type of foreign male. This is the type of guy who lacks sufficient social skills and emotional maturity in his home culture that he would have a lot of difficulty cultivating a romantic relationship with a woman in his home country, but cross-cultural differences allow him to form relationships in Japan. His "foreignness" explains his awkwardness and lack of grace in a manner which allows Japanese women to forgive him. They can't tell the difference between someone who doesn't conform to their cultural expectations because he doesn't know how to and someone who is an oafish dork. Also, Japanese people value tolerance and "enduring" hardship silently as a part of their culture so the women feel that part of being in a relationship is accepting the rough patches in their mates to a far greater extent than foreign women do. Previously, I talked about how Japanese women also generally have different expectations of a mate and that's part of the situation as well.

Fast forward 12 years and the "charisma man" I worked with at Nova shows up as an employee at the company which bought out my former company. The interesting thing is that his arrogance, disdain for foreigners and tendency to suck up to the Japanese haven't changed. He says he actually hates foreign employees over a decade down the road. I avoided him as much as possible and am relieved that he didn't work in the same office as I, but rather in a branch office.

Among the men who fit the category lampooned in the cartoon above (and please don't misunderstand, I am not asserting that all men who pursue relationships with Japanese women fit this category...they don't, not by a long shot), I've noticed they tend to have certain things in common. Before undies get balled up in large, uncomfortable wads, keep in mind, sensitive male readers, that even if you fit every item on this list, I'm not saying you're one of these losers. After all, I don't know you so I can't possibly be talking about you. I can only talk about the men I've actually met.
  • Most of these men came to Japan at a relatively young age and had limited social experience back home. They tend to be here for the vast majority of their young adult socialization and maturation process.
  • Most of them met their wives or girlfriends in Japan, not in their home countries. I've noticed a serious difference between men who meet Japanese women in their home countries and marry them then come to Japan as compared to men who meet their wives here initially. The former tend to be a lot nicer group of guys.
  • All of them (in my experience) are good at speaking Japanese as it is a high priority to become proficient enough to chat up girls, but also they prefer socializing with Japanese people as they can easily impress them simply by being foreign. They also vigorously throw themselves into practicing as it gives them more interaction with women.
  • Few of them have ever had a Western girlfriend.
  • Most of them have extremely stereotypical and derogatory opinions about Western women. They tend to view them as lazy, pushy, controlling, demanding, and opinionated.
  • Most of them have stereotypical and shallow opinions of Japanese women and emphasize the physical assets of Japanese women in opposition to their stereotypical views of the physicality of Western women. That is, they talk about how naturally (and eternally) slim, beautiful, nurturing (as in willing to do all the cooking and cleaning without complaint), and feminine (quiet, demure) Japanese women are whereas Western women are all going to end up fat and ugly.
  • Most of them base their relationship from an emotional viewpoint on trivialities such as Japanese pop culture and light social activities like karaoke, pub crawling, travel, and sports. Few of them value deep or meaningful dialog with their significant other as an important part of a relationship.
  • Most are very arrogant and have difficulties when their ideas, opinions or knowledge are challenged. Personally, I believe that is because debate where ones assertions are disagreed with is not common in Japan and since most of these men came here at a young age, they have never developed the ability to handle disagreement well, particularly if women have been a large focus in their socialization here.
  • Most of them dislike other foreigners and tend to regard most of them with contempt. In some cases, part of this contempt involves constantly measuring other foreigners' language ability, work type and status and cultural knowledge against theirs and smugly concluding they are better.
Personally, when I run across one of these guys, I try to give them a wide berth. I know they don't have any use for me except as a stepping stone to boosting their egos when they size me up and find me lacking. I also consider that these guys from a social viewpoint have succeeded wildly in Japan and therefore aren't likely to develop the type of social skills that would make them function well in a setting which includes other foreigners, not that they'd want to anyway.

In many ways, there's nothing wrong with these guys as they are succeeding in a manner which harms no one and often makes the Japanese women they couple with (seemingly) happy enough. In fact, they have essentially traded in social failure in one country for social success in another. The only problem comes when you're a fellow foreigner and are forced to work or interact with one of these sorts and put up with the attitude. It's a real test of your better nature to be around one of them for any length of time and to not start returning the contempt they exude at you in kind.


Cutetwirler said...

I stumpled across your blog somehow and this post was really very interesting.

I'm in Japan (Nagoya) studying at university for a year. I had a boyfriend back in England, a classmate. He was to study in Fukuoka so we promised to see each other often and to stay faithful. Whilst I was in England, I had worriess about my boy as, when we first got together, he had thousands (literally) of pornographic photos of JUST Japanese girls on his computer. He deleted them and we got on well and had a very nice relationship.
Fast forward, and when we got to Japan, it only took him a week to cheat on me and get a Japanese girlfriend.

Because of this, and other examples of Charisma Men in Japan, I've chosen to write my university dissertation on dating in Japan, concentrating on this very area. These men are so shallow, especially my ex. I wonder what the future holds for all these men in seemingly perfect relationships with Japanese women...

Shari said...

cutetwirler: Hi there, and many thanks for reading and commenting. I'm bookmarking your blog as I think it'll be interesting to hear your thoughts on dating in Japan as you work on your dissertation. I'll be checking it for new posts in my regular daily reading!

Your boyfriend sounds like a classic guy with an Asian fetish though his willingness to delete the pictures once you and he grew close was promising, though his final actions were telling. His "devotion" to you was paper thin and I doubt he'll do much better for a Japanese girl, though some of them tell their significant others it's okay if they cheat as long as they don't fall in love. :-p

I can't say what the future holds for all such men, though I do know from reading some stories on Stippy and other resources that some of them end up rather disconnected or end in divorce. Mind you, that happens in almost half of marriages between Western folks as well, so I'm not sure that it says anything overall.

hiro neno said...

Hi, I think you could be a professional writer, I mean someday you will publish your own books based on your experience that's going to be very fun.

PS. It's very hard for me to write more than 5 sentences, even in Japanese(my native language), am I just lazy or moron?

Shari said...

Hiro Neno: Thanks for your very kind words! Sometimes I've considered whether or not I could write a book, but I'm not sure if I have enough material yet. Maybe when I "finish" this blog. ;-)

I think different people have different talents. Writing comes easily for me and it has since I was rather young, but other skills do not. I'm sure you have some talents (like drawing, sports, etc.) which allow you to do things easily. Writing just may not be your thing.

I don't think you're lazy or a moron! LOL

badmoodmike said...

Was the comic specifically about the person you worked with at Nova? LOL! That's funny.

I can't stand when young to middle-aged people have no social skills here at home. It must be doubly annoying to see this abroad.

It really doesn't make us westerners look very good.

ThePenguin said...

Oh dear! I met Mrs. Penguin in Japan, though in my defence I'd like to point out we've spent most of the intervening period in what passes for my home country.

Seriously, it's crossed my mind over the past couple weeks that it's a good thing I didn't come to Japan permanently or semi-permanently back then, as I can see how I might well have evolved into a Charisma Man-like creature.

Where can I find these "quiet, demure Japanese women" you write of, by the way? I keep hearing of such beings, but have yet to meet one personally.

gaijinalways said...

Hi again,

Funny that you would choose to post on this topic. After quickly skimmming part of a past Metropolis viewpoint on the same problem with some foreign men in Japan, I could relate to a lot of the same points you focused on; i.e. young Japanese not recognizing oddball personalities or people who would be viewed as borderline social misfits back home.

What's surprising is that I hear the opinions of some men who may not be so young (their ages are not always stated), but still seem to hold many of the same characteristics (disdain of non-Japanese women, a blanket approach of rejecting most if not all criticisms of Japanese culture, and a fetish for Japanese women). They do 'relate' with other foreigners though, of course others with the same opinions as them! Check it out on 'Young Dudes Guide to Japan'.

And yes, arrogance is one thing that they definately share, as this site is 'unusual' in that they meet ofline, though many of the original posters on the site were doing that prior to starting the website. I personally don't see anything 'unique' about that.

Shari said...

Mike: Heh, though he seriously could have been the template for the character, I don't think it was about him. I think it was just a character based on this very common type of foreign male in Japan.

One thing I've always pondered is whether or not such guys are born as a result of their experiences in Japan or if they are bred that way back home. I suspect it's a combination of the insecurity from the latter coupled with the opportunity for the former. The sometimes unbelievable arrogance and competitiveness they can display shows there's some deep-seated insecurity there.

I don't mind guys with poor skills as long as they're basically nice fellows. I just hate the attitude and the bad energy. They're like "nerd-zillas" who have mutated from being a normal inoffensive geek into some fire breathing, city-stomping version.

Penguin: LOL. I think if you can joke about being one of these guys, you probably aren't one of them.

Keep in mind that it's these men who carry on about these perfect, quiet, demure, nurturing, perpetually beautiful Japanese women, not me. These women are works of fiction created as a model to hold up and compare "inferior" western women to.

I've never met these paragons of femininity either. ;-)

Thanks to both of you for the comments and reading!

Shari said...

gaijinalways: I think a lot of the young men who start out this way don't outgrow their hostility and resentment of Western women (who they feel have rejected them and who they deride as a defense mechanism).

I hadn't seen the Metropolis article you mentioned. I "boycotted" Metropolis (it had a different name at the time) quite awhile back when they wrote a very unfunny (but meant to be humorous), uneducated, and offensive article on sumo. However, I will certainly check out the article you mentioned as it sounds interesting.

Thanks for your comments!

saltie said...


I am a female teaching in Japan and I have noticed the same thing. In fact my non-Japanese superiors (all men) are all Charisma Man. Oh the schadenfreude we all felt when my Charisma Man boss was sent to be a recruiter in L.A.!!! We all knew that his arrogance and ignorance would not be put up with any no longer. And we all wondered how long it would take his Japanese wife to realize what type of man her husband really was.

I really would love to print out copies of this and hand them at my next area meeting!!! I also would like to forward a link of this entry in a few bloggers I know...Heheheh!

And I implore you to become a writer!!! Please! Really you just need to publish a collection of your blog entries! They all read like essays!

Anonymous said...

I've noticed though that many Charisma Men have such a strong Love/Hate relationship with Japan. Japanese women, porn, some foods are fine.
But Japanese social values & mores, certain aspects of Japanese culture, Japanese men (rarely are they friends with any), Japanese work ethic, Japanese politics, etc etc...all are completely ass-backwards to them and despite the fact that they do not wish to live in their home country, they will forever compare Japan and their country of origin.


Anonymous said...

Haha, I love this article. I first developed my interest in Japan when I was around the age of 4 living in Japan with my parents, as far as I was concerned transformers where the coolest thing since the bees knees, or something. Any way I spent the rest of my little life growing up in Canada Egh! Speaking English and Chinese with my revolutionarily interracial parents. Any way on entering high school its mandatory to at least attempt to learn another language (French), after a few arguments with my French teach, I quickly dropped out and being on the West Coast, and having gone threw a wabi sabi zen granola munching faze I took up my only other option Japanese, any way a bunch of exciting adventures later. My Japanese still sucks, so looking to pick up some credits in Uni I thought why not take a quick language course? Now I’m stuck 10 hrs a week with a bunch of want to be “charisma men,” I get drafted into these meet and greet dinners and Japanese clubs filled with socially inept want to be otaku and on one hand I realize these brainy fellow have craved them selves out a unique and exclusive niche in the dating game. Where they can utilize the cultural barrier to sleaze after girls. Haha I have made a few and interesting friends but I have also made the mistake of dragging my Japanese but very local girlfriend to one of these events. Haha, was she mad at me. Any way I am currently living in the breeding ground for this new species. And I will continue my ethnographical work on this sly yet ambitious creature.

Haha it took a long time to get to the point but thanks for being and unlikely psychiatrist

Cutetwirler said...

I think the idea of the quiet, demure and obedient Japanese woman comes from anime and other forms on Japanese media. I think you'll find that a lot of these Charisma men moonlight as "otaku" and are very knowledgeable about cartoons full of cute women wanting to serve their "master".

I think the sex industry in Japan doesn't help either. The open attitude to sex, porn etc makes Japan look like a sex country. Through my research, I got a fantastic quote from a young American boy who said "Japanese woman are so easy and will do anything in bed. I can't wait to get a Japanese girlfriend!" (He was in America and yet to set foot in Japan).

Chris ( said...

I thought this post was interesting in the context of the one you wrote the other day ("Showing Off"). I'm pretty sure Charisma Man is the prime offender. Is it too cruel to call out Arudo Debito on this charge:

Emsk said...

I remember going to a terrible nightclub in Osaka and striking up a conversation with two American guys, simply cos we had a shared language. But as soon as a Japanese gil came a long they were off fawning. Without wanting to insult myself when a couple of leery Finns tried manhandling me, I guessed that they'd been rejected all evening. Not this Brit!

But where are the western women who come looking for Japanese boyfriends? There are precious few. It took me a long while to even consider dating a J-guy, not because I don't like them or think that they're unattractive. I simply didn't come here for that reason.

Shari said...

saltie: Thanks for your kind words and taking the time to read and comment. I imagine handing out print-outs would probably bring a rain of animosity down on you. ;-) I must say, I don't think I could cope with your situation (being around many of them at once). I think the max I've been exposed to at once is two, though I've experienced far more than that in a sequential manner.

(first)anonymous: You raise some very interesting points that I hadn't considered and they are excellent food for thought. I hope that people who read my post read your comment as well as I think your points deserve to be on the list, too. Thanks for commenting.

(second)anonymous: You've got quite the cultural background! I must say that it'd be hard to beat the variety you've got behind you. I love the "wabi sabi zen granola munching" and the "ethnographical research" comments. You can turn a phrase quite entertainingly. I rather feel bad for you though being stuck in a spawning ground like that though. It makes me shudder to ponder it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Chris: Heh, I went to the link and read the information there. Sometimes when I read Debito's stuff, I get the feeling he's got some sort of adult hyperactivity disorder going on. Everything sort of comes out in one huge, rant-like gush and the reader feels as if a marathon of sorts has just been completed when reaching the end.

Debito is an odd fish to me. I'm sort of scared to "go there" at all in terms of looking at his life via his web site, though I did read his challenge of the airport authorities for requesting his passport (a challenge that went nowhere) and felt he is doing a very good Don Quixote impression.

I can't slog through all of his content as it's disorganized and hard to read, but does he have contempt for other foreigners? Last I heard, he was considering some sort of gaijin rights group. Certainly he's got all the early experience earmarks of someone who could have been a Charisma Man at one point or another, but it's hard to say. ;-) Many thanks for commenting!

Shari said...

Emsk: Hi there and thanks for your comment. I know you have limited time on-line these days and very much appreciate that you take some of your time to read and comment on my blog.

You ask an interesting question about Western women looking for Japanese boyfriends. I don't think I've ever known a Western female to "prowl" for Japanese guys, though the British woman mentioned in this particular post (who rejected the Canadian guy) was crazy for Japanese guys. She thought they were gorgeous, but she wasn't looking to use them up and spit them out necessarily (though honestly, she did have a few flings here and there...though she'd have preferred they had been serial experiences than one-offs).

I've never met a woman who said, "I can't wait to go to Japan to meet all the hot guys." No, women tend to say that about going to Italy. ;-)

Sherry said...

I agree with everything you have written. I have been here about 15years and while I have met a number of mature men in relationships with Japanese women (usually older men who are married) who have decent social skills in their home countries and with other foreigners here, I have met far more of the ones you write about. What I always find amusing is to sit back and watch two of those types compete against each other. It is both hysterically funny and pathetic at the same time.

As a foreign woman (American) married to a Japanese man, I find them particularly offensive because for some reason they always seem to look down on us the most. We are even lower in their esteem than just a single foreign woman or one married to another foreigner. I can only guess as to the cause of their hostility, but I suspect that it is due to the fact that most foreign women married to Japanese men are able to function socially in both cultures. Also, perhaps this is a big generalization, but most foreign women married to Japanese men have to function on an independent level that is equal to a Japanese woman because their husbands/boyfriends are always at work so they have to take care of everything by themselves. Charisma Men get babied and coddled and taken care of a lot. I am sure they enjoy it, but also I think they resent the fact that foreign women are more capable in this regard and it is a reflection on the fact that they aren't as great as they think they are because they have to have baby sitters. Perhaps I didn't explain that well, but maybe you understand what I mean.

I personally have never met a foreign woman on the prowl for Japanese men, at least not the way Charisma Men prowl for Japanese women. I imagine there are some out there, but I bet there aren't many.

Shari said...

Hi Sherry, and many thanks for your interesting comment!

There are definitely nice foreign guys married to Japanese women as well as "Charisma Man" types who are off the market (but still full of attitude). I think part of the key has to becoming a Charisma Man has to be coming over early and staying a long time, though I can't be sure. Most of the guys who came over here a bit older and more mature aren't like that in my experience.

It's interesting to hear that they may look down more on foreign women married to Japanese men more than other foreign women. I hadn't considered that possibility. I have to wonder if they're doing some projecting. That is, they feel deep down that they are "losers" for having to resort to going to another country to find a mate and may project their insecurities and self-loathing onto your situation. All competitive and superior people, after all, are very insecure deep down.

It could also be some sort of deep-seated resentment that a Japanese man bagged himself a foreign babe when the "Charisma Man" couldn't. ;-)

However, this is just a random thought. It could also be a variety of other reasons, and your speculation is certainly more informed than mine!

Marie said...

Hi Shari!
I've sent a link to your article to another female foreign friend of mine! We are going to laugh about this tomorrow, since we are both fans of the Charisma Man comic.
We have been classifying men at work as either: Charisma Man or Decent Guy who may be a Charisma Man in Disguise. Of course, there are a few exceptions, guys who do not fit in either category and they are the only co-workers we like.
Loser... geek... (Western Woman's line) Just too funny!

Anonymous said...

I noticed more of the charisma man types when I lived in smaller cities here in Japan. They seemed quite protective of their Japanese friends and wanted very little to do with other foreigners, even though at least one of them ended up at the the local gaijin dive/bar wanting to cry on some fellow foreigners' shoulders after having been dumped by his Japanese girlfriend for another charisma man.

Gabriel said...

Heya, Stumbled across this blog, and you're for the most part correct. Most of the "Charisma Men" that I saw were working for NOVA or JET, and were definitely more socially inept people with a pre-defined view of Japan and Japanese girls (Usually the anime otaku types).

There were always exceptions to the rule as I met some awesome guys and gals that were not really there to build up their self-esteem, but to actually experience a different way of life. That being said however, the bulk of the people there were absolute freaks, guys and girls.

One thing I did find was when you confronted these people head on, they'd revert to the passive people that they were back home and slink back into their shells. I remember at a JET conference that I just happened to be at because a few friends were there for their 1st assignment and another friend was ending his JET term, that one of the new JET guys was telling lies about one of my friends that declined a JET offer to become an intelligence officer in the military. I ended up finding him in the lobby of the Keio plaza and telling him off and lo and behold he put his tail between his legs acted like a bumbling child caught in a lie.

Most of these people seemed to be running away from their lives and themselves to somewhere they can receive a boost in their self confidence and self-image because they were too different, too weak, or too scared to be who they were back home. It's a pretty sad state to have these people as foreign representatives.

NINPO said...

Hello Shari,

I enjoyed reading your blog.
I am a Japanese male living in Japan who had some experiences overseas.
I'd like to state that its the social dating expectation that guys react to. When I was in canada I would usually say the jokes that girls wanted to hear and be gentle and all that. Its because the dating scene expects that from guys.
When Im in Japan, I do not have to worry about pampering girls etc (although, Japanese girls love being pampered) and can relax more.
I am not sure if thats because I am Japanese.
I find that if I am with a western girl I always would have to give her attention and satisfy her and it kinda tires me. I have an Italian friend who married a japanese and he says that Italian girls always asks for attention and its too much.
Why are guys in the west expected as a norm to pamper their woman and give her attention all the time? or am I being too general? What do you think.
Would love to hear your opinion

Anonymous said...

While I do agree.

I've seen similar Charisma-magnifying things happen when German exchange students came to US Midwest. The males were quite popular (and the females were also). Though none of these folks exhibited the negative traits your discuss.

During our two week vacation (with nearly no language ability) in/near Tokyo, we did get used to the extra notice (both positive and suspicious) we were given as foreigners. Especially when we were hiking west of Tokyo and a school field trip for little tikes had stopped to rest. Positive (young kids west of Tokyo/suspicious salarymen at train in Ginza)

Shari said...

I just wanted to note that there's a very good related article/response by Turner here:

Please give it a read.

Kevin said...

Your article is dead on and hilarious at the same time. I have seen time and time again the biggest social outcasts in Canada (my home country) become studs once they head into Japan. They never seem to want to leave once they get there, as it is easy to surround themselves with only Japanese fan-girls and live in their own little reality where they are a big deal. When I actually met those couples however, I saw how hollow a relationship without proper communication could be. A women who is dating you out of fascination rather than love is not that fulfilling, and can often fizzle out. However, to each his own, I'm sure a lot of these people don't care about deep relationships as long as they as popular and dating is so easy.

(The commenters that are defending these charisma-men are likely charisma men themselves.)

Thanks for you insightful blog.

Anonymous said...

That was absolutely hilarious!!!!! You are so right about that. I lived in Japan over 10 years ago and noticed that also. I would look at them and say to myself “these guys would never make it in the states”. What is interesting about those charisma men is when they return home, they have a very hard time. They tend to hang around Japanese exchange students hot spots in search of what they had in Japan. They look very misplaced, but sometimes they will land a Japanese girlfriend and become king of her social network, but still have a hard time fitting in with their own society. They kind of look like the old man in the night club. They have extreme complexes to dating westerners and they just do not have the maturity socially to fit in. The problem is, they have always been the center of attention. This has empowered them, but they are empowered by trying to be something they are really not. Thus they approach all social networks by trying to win approval from everyone. They do not realize that being yourself and accepting yourself for who you are is all you need to fit in. Unfortunately the charisma man has spent his life in Disneyland and moved his way up by trying to impress people. They reason they don’t hang around other westerns is not only arrogance, it is a complex. They do not feel secure in that environment, because deep down inside the only way they know how to get people to approve of them is through the same way they got laid. You know that ain’t going to work in every aspect in life.

Good job on the blog. Loved it to death.


Snoopidoops said...

As a western 'chick' into lots of things Japanese I can't say that I have ever been into Japanese men. Your post and comments have made me ponder why...or why not. In the times I have been to Japan it has never been with the intention to 'score' some Japanese bloke. Neither has it been the intention of any of the females I've travelled with or met along the way.
Pondering has illuded to generalisations I have about Japanese guys and are of course all unfounded. Maybe it comes from anime or manga, not that I read much, but I do have the illusion that if I was in a relationship with Japanese guy, I'd have to be tied to the kitchen, serving up the best, looking after the every need of master. Independence would be a thing of the past. My pre-established generalisaton tells me that I'd be in a subservient relationship not one that is equal.
Is this why few Western woman seek Japanese guys? or is this my pre-concieved unfounded notion of Japanese relationships. Having said that, I've met a great deal of Japanese men of all whom seem perfectly ideal if one was to explore that line. cousin has married a Japanese woman and I'm pleased to say he isn't a Charisma man. I have had the unfortunate misfortune of meeting a few in my time though. I feel for those who have to put up with them.

Anonymous said...

I read the entire article and comments. I am at odds with myself, as I fall under a few of the groupings listed here....

On Language, making friends:

This is a very difficult issue for me personally. My wife is Japanese and speaks NO English at all. We plan to stay in Japan permanently [i am even applying for citizenship] and we both understand a key to my area of work [computer engineering] is to get native level Japanese. She has only expressed a passing interest in English. I go by the line of thinking that this countries language is Japanese, so there is no reason to use English unless necessary. I have TBH found myself in more situations of making friends with Japanese over making friends who speak English. Not only non-Japanese, but Japanese who speak English on a fairly good level. It may be a subconscious choice I am making when starting a relation with someone new, or some other factors I haven’t really thought about too indepth. Another aspect is that I appear to be able to make friends with females sooner than males, regardless of nationality. I have recently come to the understanding that in my current pattern of social interaction it is probably making it difficult for myself to actually make non-female friends, and I have made a personal mission to attempt to make more male friends. Redeeming? I hope so. One area I am definitely not in is the otaku type area. I consider my knowledge of the “ways” of Japan to be sufficient to function in Japan’s tolerance zone, while still maintaining my individuality and freedom of speech/thought that I learned for so long in Canada. Which brings me to the next part of my comment…

Pride in our Japan[ese] skillz:

Language, culture, how to use chopsticks… The list goes on and on. I am somewhat of a self-study of Japanese culture. I cant say for sure if what I’ve learned is the “right” way or not, but that “way” varies from person to person so I generally consider myself to be different, just like everyone else. I have found myself measuring others speaking ability against my own. I have also found myself, in situations where my Japanese is at a lower level, to feel envious of that person. This has never posed a problem with interacting with that person however. Is this the Charisma syndrome? Or perhaps just my character, to exceed in what I am interested in? This is a difficult distinction for me. Frankly, after reading this article I got a bit concerned. It’s been 4 years since we arrived in Japan, and I have finally passed the first 2 phases of living in japan syndrome… or at least I hope I have. I can see the subtle changes in my personality taking hold day by day. Perhaps it is just enough that I am “trying” to understand. I am by no means an expert in culture.

I only date Japanese:

Yeah, just another yellow fecchi right? Maybe. I have dated white, Chinese, and French girls up to the age of 17. Not enough time to really know the “ways” of females, as my first sexual girlfriend was at age 13. From that time on was purely Japanese girls. Why? I was/am certainly influenced by the stereotype of gentle, caring and obedient women. I consider myself very lucky to have experienced these kinds of women. In fact, I have never dipped into the culture-vulture whiteman-fashion-boyfriend-accessory pool of jgirls, and do not plan to. To this day I do find women in Japan to be GENERALLY more caring and gentle. But on the flip side, I now understand clearly that the “real face” of Japanese women is no different than any other country. It’s just the social side that prompts me to see the “kawaii” face first. TBH, of all the jgirls I have dated, only 1 was really PURE in the stereotype sense… 24 years old, virgin, didn’t even know how to kiss properly, completely attentive, and incredibly cute to boot. But I digress. If someone has a fettish for a certain type, who is to say that is wrong? “I only like Japanese girls”. “AHH! Yellow fever! CHARISMA MAN!!! DAMENZ!!!!” yeah… right. I guess it’s the way we go about pursuing our desires that makes us fall into one category or another. I take time to REALLY talk to the girls I am interested in. Yes, I have been in situations where sex followed within 1 day, or even same day – but that was a decision between the two of us. The conversation didn’t end after “I got mine”. For the most part I view females as people, and not as sex objects or toys. This leads into my final section, the player.

Players: I have often viewed myself as a romantic type. I have been told by the opposite sex I have a higher than average skill in communication in this area. Maybe that explains my “success” in the area of getting Japanese girlfriends. I don’t know for sure. It is difficult to objectively critique ones self after all. I have however seen distinct differences between guys who go after the Jgirl for the same reason roppongi girls will go after the white guy because he is a social-enhancing accessory compared to married women with children and husbands that only sleep with other women, or someone who dates a man without even thinking about his nationality. A “player” is defined as someone who can easily get a woman in bed, and one who does this frequently. The funny thing is, it’s often the playettes that the player will pick up – those girls looking for nearly the same thing, or based solely on selfish gain. I have been in relationships with married women before. I also have done my fair share of nanpa. Does this make me a player? I suppose in a sense it does, but my “targets” are not the type to easily jump in bed, so I have been told. One of the most common things I’ve heard is that non-Japanese with some Japanese speaking ability to express themselves emotionally in words and with an open mind [ie: not like the stereotypical Japanese] to many things, plus the genuine desire to hear the feelings of the female in question makes the Jgirl “open up”, emotionally and physicially. I believe most girls are not so na├»ve to fall for someone who clearly doesn’t have anything on his mind other than when he can get her in bed.

In closing, I am curious what the OP has to say about this comment, or anyone else reading this. This is not meant to be self-promoting, I am actually trying to get input about what others think to see what areas of myself I can change or improve.

Shari said...

Anonymous: I appreciate your long, thoughtful and introspective comment. One thing you must keep in mind is what I said about not everyone who fits the categories is a charisma man, nor is every man who mainly or only dates Japanese women one of these types. I didn't make that "disclaimer" to cover my ass. I made it because I believe it.

The main thing that differentiates a CM type from other types is that there is an attitude which reflects seeing other people as something they can use to boost their ego. There is a difference between not associating with other foreigners because they naturally do not cross your path in your line of work or social circle and avoiding them because you have contempt for them.

There is also a difference between judging your Japanese ability against someone else's as a personal barometer of your proficiency as compared to trying to make yourself feel like you're better than the other person.

There's also a difference between dating a Japanese girl for her character as compared to the mere fact that she is Japanese. "Yellow fever" is something which "afflicts" those who are indifferent to personality and focus only on the superficial and irrelevant tag of "born in Japan". Such people are not an insult to women of other nationalities. They are an insult to Japanese women who they are valuing for all the wrong reasons.

To me, at the heart of being a CM is the fact that they are insecure because of a lack of success in their native culture and have ego issues which they are still acting to resolve in Japan. They dislike other foreigners because they are reminders of their former failure. They embrace Japan because it gives them the success their egos require. They don't love Japan because the culture charms them or the characters of the people enchant them. They love them because they make them feel special, important, and successful. At heart, they are users.

Based on what you've said, you don't appear to be such a person, but only you know that for sure.

Honest Latin said...

Anonymous white guy number#2......

If the shoe fits, wear it!

If the blogger's column bothered to such a point that you put such a long detailed post as if to defend yourself?

Strange is it not?

The bloger is right!