Articles on Japan / Social Issues

“You mean it’s not okay to ask about penis size?”

Earlier I discussed the things I hear when I talk about Japan, but nothing brings out the racism in people quite like international relationships. I read a couple of posts a bit ago that I identified with strongly, and it encouraged me to write about my own experiences in the matter. I interviewed Yuuki to find out what he hears, and then reflected on what I hear when the matter is brought up. It was surprising to me how much Yuuki had to say, even knowing most of it already. Lined up in front of you like this, it certainly makes an impression.

Obviously for the section on what he hears, the Japanese is what they actually said and the English is my rough translation of it (or in a couple cases Yuuki’s suggestion – for instance 気が強い checks out in the dictionary as strong-willed, which has a good connotation in English, but Yuuki said they meant it negatively, more along the lines of aggressive).

Also, since for some reason if you’re dating someone from a different culture people think it’s okay to ask incredibly personal questions, there is a bit of NSFW language (as if the title didn’t give that away).

For science.

For science.


Things Yuuki hears from Japanese people because of dating a white girl:

  • “She sleeps around, doesn’t she?”  「ほかの男と遊ぶでしょう?」
  • “White girls are so aggressive aren’t they?”  「白人は気が強いよね」
  • “Why are you dating a white girl?”  「なんで白人と付き合ってるの?」
  • “You know she’s cheating on you, right?”  「浮気してると分かってるよね」
  • “Can she eat Japanese food? What?! She eats miso soup??”  「彼女は日本の食べ物食べられるの?え、みそ汁も食べる??」
  • “What is sex with a white girl like?”  「白人とのセックスはどう?」
  • “Oh wow, you can date a white girl?”  「え、白人ともつきあえるんだ。」
  • “Do white girls shave down there?”  「白人ってノーアンダーヘア?」
  • “I want to try doing it with a white girl once, but I don’t really want to date one.”  「一回白人とやりたいけど、別に付き合いたくない。」
  • “Your lifestyles aren’t going to fit well together.”  「生活習慣が合わないでしょう」
  • “Nah, in the end, a Japanese girl is what I want.”  「いや、やっぱり俺には日本人がいい」
  •  Yuuki also added, “When a white person likes an Asian no one blinks an eye, but when an Asian likes a white person it’s like, “what, why?” Especially if it’s an Asian guy and a white girl. On the opposite side, if an Asian girl marries a white guy it’s like, success!!”  「白人がアジアの人好きだったら別にいいけど、アジア人が白人好きだったら、「え、なんで?」みたいな。特にアジアの男と白人の女の人の場合。逆にアジア人の女の人は白人の男と結婚したら、成功だ!みたいな。」



It’s always a slippery slope when you’re willfully ignorant.


Things I hear from Americans because of dating an Asian man:

  • “Is it true what they say? Are Asian men really smaller than white guys?” [asked by multiple people. They obviously were asking about penis size.]
  • “Does he eat sushi all the time?”
  • “You don’t actually think their eyes are attractive, though. You do? Seriously?”
  • After saying he’s having interviews: “What kind of jobs do they have in Japan?”
  • “She won’t date me. She has yellow fever.”
  • “I know I’m bigger.” [yes, this person was also talking about penis size. And no, unless he stalked my boyfriend to the bathroom or shower and spied on him or something, he would never have seen him.]
  • “I’ve never really found Asian men attractive.”
  • “Is he shorter than you?”


Racism is fun, ain’t it? I know all feel all fuzzy and warm now.

I agree with the points brought up by the blogs I linked to above – both talked about why Psy and others are ‘allowed’ to be successful in America: because the perpetuate the stereotypes. They don’t threaten the ‘dominance’ of white males and continue to de-sexualize Asian males.

Ladies, do you really need a picture of a hot Asian man to convince- never mind, like I need a reason to post a picture of the sexy Nagase Tomoya.


And as for Ken Jeong, because I’m a die-hard fan of Community



9 thoughts on ““You mean it’s not okay to ask about penis size?”

  1. I’m married to a Japanese man so I can relate, although I’m from Boston, and maybe people are more reserved there, because I’ve only gotten a few of the comments you’ve heard. Interesting post, though!

    PS. Most of all, LOVE the Community clip!

    • Oh really? I’m curious – which ones have you heard in Boston? I’m sure you’re right about Boston being more open than Wisconsin!

      I’m glad you’re a fellow Community fan!

  2. A good interview! (Impeccable translation, too!)
    I laughed at the “food” comment; I always find it funny when eating certain food (umeboshi and natto, especially) somehow proves your authentic Japanese-ness (for a foreigner, their cultural assimilability), when there are a plenty of Japanese who don’t like those. (Come to think of it, though, Minnesotans had similar attitudes toward lutefisk! 🙂 )
    My courtship with my (white American) now-wife took place mostly in the US, so what Yuuki-kun heard about you is interesting. Assumed promiscuity and aggressiveness are not surprising, especially when only American women they have seen are super-sexualized and often (unrealistically) aggressive female heroines in Hollywood rom-coms! I remember my brother-in-law said something like he was surprised that there are “shy and soft-spoken Americans” like my wife. Haha.
    What’s depressing is that both his friends’ comments on you and yours on him show how easy it is to (sexually, especially) objectify those who are not “their own” and casually dehumanize them; they don’t care enough to grant you/him with fully realized personality and emotion.
    If The Good Shufu’s and my experiences are any indication, though, people will become a lot less rude when you and he become older. So there is a hope! 😀

    • Thank you!

      Haha yeah unfortunately I will never like natto. Umeboshi on the other hand, I love!

      I met him in a club when I studied abroad, so it was especially sad to hear that a couple mutual friends from the club said those things too (and even cruder things I didn’t want to post). It made me a little paranoid that other Japanese people thought that way, especially guys.

      It is sad how dehumanizing it is! And it’s sad on the opposite side too, sometimes I feel like people are like, ‘oh you like him because he’s Japanese and you’re studying Japanese.’ I feel like I have to explain to them all of his good qualities, and that I like him for him, not because he’s Japanese. That just happens to be part of who he is.

      I’m glad to hear there’s hope, thank you! 🙂

  3. I know in China an Asian man who likes and dates a white woman is seen as someone who “made it” (made what, I don’t know)
    Is it different for Japanese people?

    • I would say it’s similar in some ways. I think there is sometimes that thought, but more so when it comes to sex. It seems like for many Japanese men it’s an ‘achievement’ to sleep with a white woman, but they don’t want to marry one.

      I’ve heard a few Japanese guys say that they’re Japanese and should therefore marry Japanese women. I’ve heard from a few white women that they thought a Japanese guy liked them…but it turned out to only be for one thing.

      And, also like I said, I’ve heard white women say they don’t want to date Asians, and Yuuki told me he had heard Asian men aren’t popular with white women. So I guess that might be why it’s considered an achievement.

      It’s sad. To quote the wise Depeche Mode, people are people.

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