Awful Dating Advice (from Japanese Josei Manga): A list

I read Manga (Japanese comics). I don’t read it all the time, but once a week or so, I will waste some time going through the recommendations my friends send me (I have a recommendation folder I turn to on rainy days).

Recently, I’ve gotten into Josei Manga. Josei Manga is Japanese comics aimed at women – typically age 16 to 50. Also known as “Ladies Comics,” these comics tend to have a more “mature” look at romances (mature is in quotations because I don’t actually think any part of it is mature). About a month ago, a friend sent me a list of recommendations. I went through them. And after the fourth volume of Josei comics, I started to notice a trend.

Basically, they were all the same.

And they had some very awkward (and horrible) dating advice. But then again, it’s a comic book supposed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. No one actually takes dating advice from a comic book (right?). That would be like taking dating advice from a Disney Princess movie (recipe for divorce).

Anyways, just for a laugh, I went through the rest of the comics she sent me (totally not bashing on your choice of comics, friend who shall not be named) and wrote out the “common” themes / dating advice from the ones she sent me.

And read through a couple more, just for fun. It was pretty adorable. But it was also surreal.

Dating from the perspective of any Josei Manga

  • After your first kiss is a great time to propose.
  • It is perfectly normal if he suddenly hires you to be a nanny, housekeeper, secretary, or other menial wage job, and then moves all your stuff into his house without asking permission
  • As soon as you are in trouble, he will magically appear (smashing through any windows along the way) and save you
  • He is a playboy – but he secretly longs to settle down with the woman of his dreams, you.
  • He has a pained past, probably because his father was alcoholic and abused him and his mother. He doesn’t want to have a family because he doesn’t want to end up like that.
  • As a result, he doesn’t want children. However, he won’t tell you why. If you accidentally get pregnant with his child, you have two options:

Side note – You probably have an ovary disease or something like that, so you can’t have children (but then you magically do, anyways. It’s a miracle!)

  • If you are sleeping together and you get pregnant, he will probably slap you across the face and blame you for getting pregnant on purpose (not a fan of the physical and emotional abuse in some of these comics). If it was a miracle (because you had that over disease, remember?), he will grudgingly propose – and sometime before the baby is born will confess how he has always secretly wanted a child.
  • If you get pregnant, 90% of the time you won’t tell him, will break off the relationship, and run away with your unborn child. However, you still name the kid after him. He will find you three to five years later, and claim parenthood over this child that looks JUST like him. Then you get married and live happily ever after.
  • If he is widowed, he doesn’t believe in love anymore. You have to “fix” him and teach him how to love again.
  • If he was married before he met you, his ex-wife was secretly evil and cheated on him.
  • If they had children, the child mostly likely isn’t biologically his (remember how his ex-wife used to cheat). If the child IS biologically his, he hates the side of it that looks like the ex-wife.
  • If he has a kid, he is on the hunt for a new wife / mother. You are a perfect fit (remember how the kid formed an unusual attachment to you from the first time you met?)
  • His child doesn’t cry, is strangely mature for their age, and says things like “can she be my new mommy?”
  • His child can tell all his other girlfriends are “evil” and therefore hates them unconditionally. The child only loves you (and the father).
  • The child will love you from the first time you set eyes on him. The child will cry when you go home, start calling you “mom” overnight, and builds an unhealthy attachment to you (never getting mad at you), even though it hated all other women in the father’s life.
  • As soon as the father sees you playing with the child, he will probably be like “dang, she is wife material” and try to put a ring on it. He might try to pressure you into marriage “for the child,” but really because he loves you. You will pretend to say yes “for the child,” but really just because you love the father. You will never ask him if he really loves you.
  • There will be some kind of crisis (needs to be married in order to close on a house, will lose custody of his beloved child, or needs to get his inheritance) that forces the two of you to be married before you even kiss.
  • It’s a fake marriage, but both of you are secretly in love with each other
  • He never runs out of money. Sometimes he even throws it in the air to emphasize how worthless it is to him and how valuable you are.
  • That boyfriend you had before you met him? He’s a bad guy. The (past) love of your life will show up at some point and try to get back with you; don’t be fooled, he’s doing it for money / to get classified information / to steal something from your new lover.
  • If you see the love of your life walking with another women and laughing, it’s totally normal to assume he is cheating. You better pack up all your stuff and run away without telling him, just to be safe. Oh yeah, and don’t tell him why you’re leaving and/or divorcing him, because if you actually talk about it, you would realize the beautiful, laughing women was his sister.
  • If you see the love of your life walking helping a pregnant woman into his car, it’s totally normal to run away, not talk to your husband about it, file for divorce, and nurse your broken heart for three years because he obviously impregnated someone before he impregnated you. And then when it turns out (three years later) the pregnant woman was his married sister and he was only helping her get to the hospital, you both will laugh about it and kiss affectionately, without thinking anything is wrong with your relationship at all.
  • Even though you think you are ugly, this playboy who has slept with all sorts of models and beauties thinks you are the most gorgeous thing in the world. He will totally be willing to give up his playboy life and settle down with you (even though you have severe self-esteem issues and a habit of running away and/or jumping to conclusions when you see him talking to other women).
  • Once you get married, you live happily ever after. The remainder of your life will be shown in flashes and pictures of both of you holding the child, laughing, and running through fields. Unless, of course, you see him talking with another woman – then you should take the child and run away without telling your husband.
  • As soon as you get married, all relationship problems end (except for the supposed cheating).

The basic thing I learned from Josei Manga is that all of these relationships are perfectly normal. If you continue to trust your instincts, a fabulously wealthy, attractive man with a pained past and possibly a small child will come along, sweep you off your feet, and propose without knowing anything about you. Just wait, your ridiculously attractive and rich prince charming is on his way.

[Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele]

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

12 Comments on Awful Dating Advice (from Japanese Josei Manga): A list

  1. This is sooo true! :D I love reading all kinds of manga, good ones and also those weird and unnatural ones. The last one I read and found really weird, was Haou Airen (Idk if the english/japanese Name is the same…and also it is a Little older). I just read the first few chapters and already though ‘wtf is that Girl doing? Why?’ and although it was Kind of fun to read, the relationship of the main characters is really…not normal. (I dont even have a word for that… ^^°)
    And every time I read a manga like the ones you described here, I begin to wonder if japanese People would really act that way… I mean, not talking at all about such important matters… Oo

    • Also, sorry for my (probably broken) english. ^^’
      I’m not a native english Speaker… (and my autocorrect always changes everything into caps… -.-)

  2. Hi, Grace

    Enjoyed this article, the last half of your list got me laughing as you kept bring up (sisters, pregnancy, “Leave him..”) haha.

    I have 2 graphic novels to suggest for your folder.

    Marry Me by Bobby Crosby

    the 1st issue is free on Comixology.

    It may be Manga that was brought over for the American audience, as it kinda follows the formula. But it’s fun & sweet too. ;)

    The 2nd is DREAMLESS also by Bobby Crosby (I just realized that!)

    It’s about an American girl & Japanese boy who have been in each others dreams all their lives. Kinda paranormal-romance. Interesting ending.

    So I found you Youtube channel last week, really enjoying it.

    Mishawaka, Indiana USA

  3. I think that most shoujo and josei mangas have awful dating advice. It’s difficult to find good mangas (And I’m happy when I find them :) )
    My favourite josei manga is: Ashita no ousama. I liked a lot the heroine and the mangaka didn’t focus on the romance. And when she did, it was in a more natural and credible way than most josei mangas.
    Other josei mangas I liked are Sekine-kun no koi, Heptagon and Paradise Kiss.

    I’ve found your article hilarious. xD I have read a lot of josei mangas and most of them are like you describe them.
    “Just wait, your ridiculously attractive and rich prince charming is on his way.” <- This is just hilarious. xD

  4. Ana Padilla // 18 November, 2014 at 1:47 pm //

    OMG <— I hate to use this expression but I could not help it… I have been telling myself pretty much everything you wrote for years…. And I am so happy I’m not the only to notice (I’m sure there is tons of us haha) I was laughing the entire time while reading your post. I do read josei but only the ones that are more of a comedy. I think the worst ones are the ones based on harlequin novels…. I can’t even hahaha I have one more thing to add to your list . The guy is a prince …even better a Sheikh Prince that gives up everything for the girl even the kingdom haha …. I been reading your blog for a couple of hours and I absolutely love it.
    I’ll be a follower from now on.
    I wish you the best of luck and thank you for this incredible blog.

    Greetings from Mexico :)


  5. haha. everything you wrote is true. I don’t read an awful lot of manga but when I do, I read shounen. I enjoy shoujo once in a while but I love the little bit of romance in shounen even more (if there is even any romance at all). I love your blog. I’ve read at least 3 of your blog entries and uh, congratulations on getting married! lol this probably sounds creepy coming from a complete stranger! xD but yeah.

    • Thank you :)

      [considering all the stuff on the internet, that isn’t creepy whatsoever]

      I’m totally with you, though. I prefer shounen. I like the arcs and overlying messages in the series. Every once and a while I go on a chick flick kick and drown myself in sappy romance movies, books, and josei manga. It’s wonderful :)

  6. Yes to everything. I always thought of josei manga to be the root of “Fifty Shades of Grey” (Gray? Whatever). Dude’s almost always loaded and the chick is always insecure and they magically fall in love. Still, josei is my guilty pleasure when I want mountains of fluff! XD

    • I (still) haven’t read that book – but I feel like I really ought to. It would explain so much. I’m pretty sure they are VERY similar…

  7. Hahahahahahahaha….. Sorry Grace I can’t stop laughing XD which manga (or mangas) you’ve been reading lately?

    • Hahahaha. Mostly the one chapter (one-shot) or single volume ones (like 4-5 chapters).
      I think they are pretty entertaining.

      I tried doing a longer one (like 100 chapters), but I got really annoyed at the main female. So… (the same reason I can’t watch Japanese dramas without punching the computer screen).

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