? It’s a truth universally acknowledged that dating apps are the absolute worst. Although to be fair, the onus is not so much on the design of the apps themselves, but the general experience of online dating.
I’ve had the opportunity and great misfortune to try out more than a couple of the more popular dating apps in the US. I’ve shuffled the order of photos on Tinder, dusted off my reading lists for OKCupid and grappled with the gravity of soul-baring questions such as what’s my favorite Disney movie on Hinge.
Before my initiation into Japanese dating apps, online dating for me was a world full of men showing off abs and baseball caps. It was also a world where phrases like “I like someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously” and Myers-Briggs personality types were commonplace and the words “chill” and “adventure” reigned supreme.
Japanese dating apps are markedly different. On a purely visual level, the men on Japanese dating apps are more fully-clothed and don’t seem to claim permanent residency on beaches. But it’s not merely about pictures; the design of Japanese dating apps also differs from their American counterparts. From ranking profiles by their popularity to including one’s blood type and birth order as profile information, there are many features of Japanese dating apps that set them apart from Tinder and Bumble.
Are Japanese dating apps doing something that American ones aren’t? Have they managed to make meeting people online not a veritable war of attrition? Or is it just a different brand of recognizing that you might just spend the rest of your life alone? Naturally, there is only one way to find out.
Get Your IDs Ready
A fear of online scams seems to permeate most of the Japanese dating apps I saw. Although it’s relatively easy for a person to register for an account – like American dating apps, you can link to most of the Japanese apps directly through your Facebook account – if you want to access certain essential functions, such as messaging another person, you have to provide photo identification. For Japanese people, that would likely entail uploading images of their driver’s licenses or health insurance cards. For one of my Taiwanese friends who speaks Japanese fluently, that meant uploading a picture of her passport. And even if you do have a Facebook account, apps like Pairs require that you have at least 10 Facebook friends. Any best free dating sites number less than that invites suspicion that your Facebook account may be fraudulent.
This scrupulous procedure of verification speaks to the wariness with which dating apps are still regarded in Japan. Online dating has long had a shady history in Japan because of the rampancy of scams as well as the prevalence of “baishun,” the practice of young girls selling sex to older men online. Safeguard systems such as registration via Facebook accounts may have helped alleviate the likelihood of being catfished, but all of the Japanese dating apps I’ve looked into still prefer to be more cautious with their requests for photo identification. Even PCMax, an app which encourages more of a sense of anonymity compared to the other apps – a large majority of PCMax users use avatars or obscured photos for their profiles – asks it users to upload identification so it can check the veracity of the user’s alleged age.
The Questions Are Culturally Specific And Boy, Do They Go Into Detail
In the writing of one’s profile, questions routine on American dating apps, questions that ask you to identify your ethnicity and religion, are far less common on Japanese dating apps. When it comes to religion, Japan’s religious affiliations are comparatively less diverse than the US’s, with the two religions, Shintoism and Buddhism, being most dominant in the country. And despite the heterogeneity of its ethnic makeup, there is a lack of dialogue regarding race in Japan. A unifying vision of racial harmony and homogeneity is often promulgated while racial discrimination within society is ignored.