Category Archives: SOCIETY

The Economics Of Dating In Japan: Who Pays the Bill?

The Economics of Dating in Japan Who Pays for the Bill?

The guy goes first. He gets a nice Moleskine notebook and a fancy ballpoint pen. He thanks her. The girl goes next. She opens a small box to find a Swarovski earring and necklace set. She thanks him. They finish lunch, they get the bill at the table, and… he only has ¥2,000 in his wallet. The girl opens her wallet and pulls out ¥10,000 which more than covers the bill, and they leave together, both smiling and holding hands. The end.

This actual date happened right next to me when I was writing another article. I made a note of what happened for two reasons: one, they were both being very vocal about their gifts and their discussion of the bill, and two, because it got me thinking about the economics of dating in Japan.

The lingering debate

Traditionally speaking, “men are supposed to pay for everything” on a date, but in my opinion that’s so far out of touch, it doesn’t even bear thinking about. Things are a lot more expensive nowadays (thanks to the ever-increasing consumption tax!), women can work and earn their own living, and frankly speaking, putting the full financial burden of a relationship only on one partner is just plain wrong.

And it’s not just me who thinks that way. According to a 2015 survey conducted in the US and cited in a Sage Journal research paper on “Who Pays for Dates?”, 64% of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, while 40% of women felt annoyed if men refused to accept their contribution to the bill.

In Japan, however, there are still some remnants of this old-fashioned train of thought.

For example, a Japanese male friend of mine, while being a very forward thinker and feminist, thinks it’s …continue reading


Fashion magazine Vivi t-shirt tie-up with Liberal Democratic Party attracts criticism

jiminto vivi liberal democratic party ldp japan tshirt-campaign tieup new generation diversity promo politics fashion magazine controversy

Many Japanese fashion magazines are suffering from declining sales. To boost their economic prospects and keep creditors at bay, publishers may attempt new directions and types of content, or approach different kinds of advertisers. The fashion magazine Vivi tried both by launching a recent online tie-up with the Liberal Democratic Party, the biggest political party in Japan and which has been in power with only a couple of relatively short intervals since the 1950s.

The “New Generation” tie-up features a series of young female models — the magazine’s nine “Vivigirl” official models — wearing t-shirts with messages about the kind of future they would like to live in. Examples include colorful messages in English about happiness, being a nation more welcoming to foreigners, and expressing oneself. “Happy & Smile.” “Face Your Fears.” “Open Heart.”

The t-shirts, which also feature the logo of the LDP on the shoulder, were then offered to people who posted on Twitter or Instagram their own aspirations for future society with the promotional hashtag #LDP2019.

jiminto vivi liberal democratic party ldp japan tshirt-campaign tieup new generation diversity promo politics fashion magazine controversy

jiminto vivi liberal democratic party ldp japan tshirt-campaign tieup new generation diversity promo politics fashion magazine controversy

jiminto vivi liberal democratic party ldp japan tshirt-campaign tieup new generation diversity promo politics fashion magazine controversy

The tie-up is promoting a vision of diversity and hope, in line with recent buzzwords and campaigns by local governments (particularly Shibuya in Tokyo) and the 2020 Olympics, and an intriguing counter-narrative to the standard conservative stance by the LDP, which usually emphasizes “restoring” values and protecting the interests of business and older voters. On the other hand, it is the LDP that has lower voter age in Japan from 20 to …continue reading


Dragon Quest Walk: Square Enix Challenges Pokémon Go with New AR Mobile Game

Source: Gaijin Pot
Dragon Quest Walk New AR Mobile Game by Square Enix to Rival Pokemon Go

No mobile game has garnered an international player base as large as Niantic’s smash-hit Pokémon Go which allows players to walk around the real world and catch pokémon with the swipe of a finger.

But what franchise has been alive and kicking even longer than Pokémon? You guessed it: Dragon Quest.

Renamed as Dragon Warrior for the North American release, Dragon Quest debuted on the original Famicom in Japan in 1986. One of the longest-running JRPG series of all time, new Dragon Quest titles have steadily been released every four to five years resulting in a total of 11 main titles in the franchise.

So if there’s any title capable of challenging Pokémon Go in the augmented reality game market, it’s the new Dragon Quest Walk. Feast your eyes on this.

Built by leading Japanese game developer and publisher Square Enix, Dragon Quest Walk will be released on both Android and iOS this year. Beta testing began Tuesday this week, with 10,000 iOS and 10,000 Android users being lucky enough to try it out. However, there’s still no word of an official release date in Japan or overseas.

What to expect from the Dragon Quest Walk gameplay

Essentially: Battles. These can be initiated by walking around in the real world and tapping on monsters once you get close enough to their location on the in-game map. Players have the option of simply walking around to battle monsters that pop up on the map or accepting quests to advance the story.

A preview of what Dragon Quest Walk will look like.

Like in most Dragon Quest games and JRPGs in general, players have the option to attack, use skills/magic, use items, or defend, …continue reading


Incident in Tokyo’s Gay District Reignites Debate About Trans Rights in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot
The bar Gold Finger in Shinjuku Ni-chome.

Japan’s largest gay community in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ni-chome was forced to continue the debate over trans rights after a trans woman was refused entry to a bar.

A few days ago, we saw the finale to this incident that involved Ni-chome’s most popular lesbian bar, Gold Finger. And by the end of May, international media had covered the story after Tokyo’s LGBTQ+ community, Japanese and foreign alike, began questioning trans inclusivity in Ni-chome’s long-standing system of gender-exclusive bars and events.

In Japan, trans individuals may legally change their gender, but must be unmarried and without children, and also must undergo full sexual reassignment — which made international news this year because many view it as forced sterilization. While trans people can lead legally recognized heterosexual lives, things become far more complicated for trans gay men and lesbians, as the Gold Finger incident reveals.

What happened at Gold Finger

While not the only incident of trans exclusion in Ni-chome, this is the first to gain such a high level of publicity. The bar’s owner eventually issued an apology after many spoke out about the incident. Yet, it took almost two months to get there. Here’s what went down.

American transgender lesbian woman Elin McCready was denied entry to one of Tokyo’s most popular lesbian bars, Gold Finger, on April 20, according to a tweet she posted the next day.

Wow drama! My friend was djing in the ordinarily transphobic lesbian party and I was on the list and went, then they wouldn’t let me in (bc gross old school transphobia) and my friend refused to dj and gotnin a screaming match with the organizer ..

— H3AV3N❤ (@elinmccready) April 20, 2019

McCready, a university professor who lives in Tokyo with her wife of nearly 20 years, was not initially …continue reading