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Dating in Japan: Manga Vs Real Life

Much like American comics, the happenings in Japanese manga aren’t always accurate descriptions of what actually occurs in real-life, especially when it comes to romance.

As dating heads further away from real-world interactions and more into online ones, so our expectations for our romances are constantly changing. Of course, just because dating happens primarily online now doesn’t mean you need to lower your standards; rather, the same things still happen, just in a different way! There are many different types of people with many different types of relationships, but for the average person, at least one of these manga love stories might be similar to your own. And if in America it’s true the search for love shifted from asking out your coworkers and family friends to searching for a mate through online dating sites that fit into the fast life of our modern world with their great selection of partners for casual relationships, Japan is different. Manga lovers prefer services like Loveaholics because they value the serious relationships the site promotes. Since at some point their goal is to meet and start dating, they narrow down their search to their city or prefecture, and thanks to its location-based matchmaking algorithms, the site allows them to do just that.

That’s all because traditions are still strong there, and Japanese media, especially manga, dare to show how they perceive “perfect” relationships and dating. A declining birthrate and an aging population are in the real world. Modern online dating services connecting people through various means help with that by introducing the intelligent matchmaking that recommends you partners who’ll understand your hobbies and interests, but to understand why it’s hard for Japanese, you can look at their medium. Fantasy, drawn and written, gives way to tell some great (and timeless) stories about true love to be told, about the struggle for understanding and overcoming your fears – it motivates readers to fight for perfection, yet also sets standards high enough so that only traditional and serious dating sites can succeed in Japan. Remember to separate reality from fantasy, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying these heartfelt stories as you continue on the quest to find the perfect partner.

Sword Art Online

 In this beloved manga and anime, often shortened to SAO, the main character (Kirito) is trapped in a video game where the cost of leaving is instantaneous death. With completing the game being his only way to escape, Kirito begins to grind his way through the game, avoiding forming personal bonds until he encounters a girl named Asuna. Throughout the series, they two eventually get married in-game, then (upon completion of the first game) continue dating each other in real life. Although the two met under dire circumstances, the story is somewhat similar to how online dating works! You meet someone in a neutral forum, chat while getting to know each other, then eventually take the relationship to the real world. 

Boarding School Juliet

In this manga by Yousuke Kaneda, the main character Romio falls desperately in love with a girl named Juliet Persa, a girl who’s in the “White Cats” house. Following the classic story, Romio himself is in a different house (Black Dogs) but falls head over heels for her anyway despite the two houses being rivals. After revealing his romantic intentions to her, Juliet returns the feelings of passion for Romio, and the story follows the two as they attempt to conceal their forbidden romance.

“Romeo and Juliet” is a classic for a reason. Many people often find themselves in relationships that they choose to keep from others, either for socioeconomic reasons, family disapproval, or simply the fear of judgment. While online dating can’t provide a 100% foolproof way to date someone, without fear of being seen, it does allow for a lot more privacy when it comes to your love life, which is always a good thing.


His And Her Circumstances 

Written by Masami Tsuda, “His And Her Circumstances” follows Yukino Miyazawa, a girl who appears to be perfect on paper but leads a very different life outside of school. Naturally, being attractive, a boy (Soichiro Arima) soon falls for her, and despite her personality being different when she’s not in school, he finds himself enamored with her anyway.

Although “bait and switch” may not be the best description, it is an accurate one. Most people had met someone they liked initially, only to find out they acted completely different when their surroundings changed. In the case of “His And Her Circumstances,” the two found that they accepted each other anyway, but often real-life situations are more of a hit-or-miss than a sure thing. This is especially true when it comes to online dating, where an outspoken person online can easily be a soft-spoken individual in person. However, it’s important to look beyond initial impressions because even a quiet person can quickly become that outspoken person you love once they become comfortable being around you.

There is a common topic in these three stories, but as well as in all other romantic manga. Acceptance, valuing your partner above all else, solving problems through communication. This may very well be a fantasy, yet those are ideals we should all strive to share, and great media helps us to continue down that path.

All images and videos here are property of their respective owners and used for reference purpose only. We claim no rights to it unless otherwise stated.
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