How to tell if a Japanese woman likes you (without losing your sanity)

By Doug •  8 min read

Knowing how to tell if a Japanese woman likes you or not is complicated. I know this because I am married to a Japanese woman. I also dated a handful of Japanese women before that, and I’ve got a significant amount of first-hand experience with this. 

The most obvious sign that a Japanese woman likes you is that she will seem extremely interested in everything that you have to say. She might also be very proactive in setting up dates – to the point where you’ll hardly have to do anything. She’ll probably even buy you clothes.

That being said, it’s extremely difficult to read Japanese women sometimes. Let me explain…

How to tell if a Japanese woman likes you

Trying to figure out if it Vietnamese woman likes you is easy. It’s also easy to read the signs that Korean woman likes you. However, you may get mixed signals from a Japanese woman. I’ll get to those in a moment, but let’s first look at all of the things that she might do that’ll give you clues as to whether or not she really likes you:

She’ll be extremely interested in everything you have to say

I’m sure this has a lot to do with Japanese culture, but my wife (and all the Japanese woman that I dated before her) got a very cute / funny / excited expression on their face when they become interested in something. 

Their eyes get big, they look as if they are concentrating deeply, and they’ll move in very close to your face. It’s almost uncomfortable how close they can get when they’re listening so deeply and trying to understand what you’re saying. 

Every Japanese woman that I’ve been in a relationship with has done this. If you’re talking to a Japanese woman and she looks extremely interested, that’s a pretty good way to tell that she likes you. 

frustrated white guy on computer
This is what you’re likely to look like if the Japanese woman you’re talking to doesn’t seem interested

She’ll look for every opportunity to serve you

As an American, this is one part of Japanese culture that is still uncomfortable to me. Japan is still a bit behind the times in terms of equal rights for women, and it is a perfectly normal for men to expect their wives to cook and clean. 

Not only that, Japan has one of the best service cultures in the entire world. You’ll understand us the moment you fly on a Japanese airline or walk into a Japanese store. 

A Japanese woman that likes you will stop at nothing to make sure you’re comfortable. She’ll cook for you, she’ll clean for you, and if there’s nothing to do, she might sit and wait until you ask her to do something. This is one of the things you’ll have to expect when dating a Japanese girl.

FYI, my Japanese wife has become very Americanized over the past five or six years, and she doesn’t do this as much as she used to. However, she’s still very good to me and I appreciate it immensely. 

She will completely change her life to be with you

If you didn’t know, I’m a white guy born and raised in the United States. When I first started dating Japanese women online back in 2005 or so, it was a fun and new experience. I wasn’t looking for a wife. 

However, nearly every single woman that I met started making very aggressive plans to quit her job and come to the US after just a few short months of email conversation. 

It was kind of a turn off at first. Especially considering that I wasn’t looking for a long-term relationship at that point. 

And for what it’s worth, the woman who eventually became my wife came to the US to visit me after just one month of online conversation. A month after that, she immediately quit her job after I suggested that she should come and live with me for a while. She was being extremely proactive to say the least. 

For the record, Taiwanese girls are like this as well (which, as you would probably expect, makes it easy to figure out how to tell if a Taiwanese girl likes you).

She will buy you clothes

Fashion and style is huge in Japan. This will become abundantly clear once you start dating a Japanese woman.  Not only will she dress nice for nearly every occasion, she will make an effort to get you to dress nicely as well. 

In my experience, Japanese women do like American men – but they aren’t a big fan of the way they dress.

Every Japanese woman that I’ve ever dated has given me the gift of clothing at some point or another. Most of it consisted of typical fashion items that are popular with Japanese men (scarves, handbags, sweaters, etc.). 

As a matter of fact, I haven’t had to buy clothes for myself in the past 10 years. My wife still does that for me. It’s one of the things that makes her happy.

man with Japanese girlfriend
I’ll bet anything that she’s smiling (because she’s really happy about having a well-dressed boyfriend).

Why it’s difficult to tell if a Japanese woman likes you

Of all the Asian women that I’ve dated in my younger years, it was the Japanese women that were the hardest to read. As a matter fact, it’s one of the primary reasons why I wrote an entire guide explaining how to date a Japanese woman without feeling like a fool.

I’m not even ashamed to admit that my Japanese wife still confuses the heck out of me to this day. Here’s why:

Japanese women are too polite

Japanese people will stop at nothing to be polite. They hate confrontation, and they will pretend to be nice long enough to make a bad situation go away.

I know this because my wife does this all the time. She tells me that all Japanese people do it.

For example, if a complete stranger walked up to her and said something mean, she would just smile, shake her head, bow slightly, and do her best to de-escalate the situation. 

To the person being mean to her, it would seem like she accepted the insult, succumbed to the fact that she deserved it, and then thanked that person for being brave enough to insult her.  

However, on the inside, I can assure you that she would be fuming (and likely plotting ninja-style revenge). Japanese women are truly masters at making any emotion seem like ultimate kindness.

A Japanese woman won’t tell you what she’s really thinking

When somebody asks me what Japanese girls are like, my first answer is usually: “confusing”. I don’t mean this in a bad way though.

For example, my wife and I have an overhead fan in our bedroom that is on nearly all summer long. We generally agree on the ideal sleeping temperature, but sometimes there’s friction. Neither one of us is looking for a fight though, and we’re willing to compromise to keep the other as comfortable as possible. 

This sounds great in theory, but the problem is that she won’t tell me if the fan setting that I chose made her too warm or too cold. 

Even if she is buried under a mountain of blankets, she won’t tell me that she’s too cold. She’ll simply smile, tell me it’s fine, and then change the subject. 

This is one of the biggest differences when it comes to comparing Japanese vs Chinese women. A Chinese woman won’t be afraid to tell you what she is really thinking.

The differences between Japanese and Korean woman are more subtle IMHO. A Korean woman won’t usually be as honest as a Chinese woman, but she will be more careful about what she says (generally).

One final thing to note about Japanese women and how they show interest in men

In my experience, there are pros and cons of dating a Japanese woman. Not only that, dating a Japanese woman is a lot different than marrying one. 

It takes a while for Japanese women to open up and be comfortable with a guy. Just because she’s being extremely polite and nice to you doesn’t mean that she likes you. 

However, it’s easy to figure out if you notice any of the signs that I listed above. It’s not easy dating Japanese women, but if you can figure it out, it’s totally worth it!


My name is Doug, and I'm an ordinary white guy living in the US. 10 years ago I married a Japanese woman that I met online, and it's been an adventure to say the least! I started as a way to share all the lessons I've learned about dating (and ultimately marrying) an Asian woman.

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