Singaporean men make good husbands, say Japanese women. Here's why

Never mind their shortcomings.

Singaporean men are kind, gentle, and treat women equally, and that makes them husband material, according to some Japanese ladies here.

AsiaOne spoke to several women at the launch event last Friday (Feb 15) of Destini IS - an agency which specialises in pairing Singapore men with Japanese women.

The agency was started by Japanese friends Hitomi Endo, 49, and Hiromi Kiuchi, 42, who have been in Singapore for more than a decade.

Eligible bachelorette Aya Oshima, 36, is one such lady who sees the value in our 'Lion Men'.

Entrepreneur Aya Oshima, 36.Photo: AsiaOne

The entrepreneur from Fukuoka, who owns a bar and a cosmetics business in Japan, has been in several relationships but none ended up in marriage because of her busy schedule.

So why does she want to find a husband here?

Besides the positive traits mentioned, she's heartened by her impression that men here are more independent, and don't mind their wives having a career of their own.

In contrast, she says Japanese men are known to be more traditional in their mindset (especially in Kyushu province, where she's from) - where women are still expected to play the role of homemaker and prioritise the needs of her husband and kids. 

She's not fazed by Singaporeans' infamous kiasu (scared to lose) attitude either, which can make us seem ungracious. "I consider myself kiasu as well, so we can support each other."

Aya is not alone in her affection for local men.

Other women like sales executive Ai Okada, 27, who has lived in Singapore for 10 years, says she likes Singaporean men because they're not shy in expressing their love for their girlfriends and wives - for example holding hands in public, which "even aunties and uncles" do.

Singaporean men are also "more affectionate", addressing their partners with terms like "my love, dear, or honey" - which are not in the vocabulary of conservative Japanese men. Another plus point according to Ai? Singaporean guys don't seem to care too much about how women are dressed (Ed's note: perhaps it's because Singaporean men are not known to be snazzy dressers themselves?)

"They are very, very gentle, and they treat women very well and see them as equals," says another Japanese lady, who only wished to be known as Aya. The 37-year-old works in IT sales and has been in Singapore for six years. "Actually, Singaporean women may be even stronger (than the men)," she cheekily added.

Japanese men are also known to be workaholics, a trait that puts off Miho Sakamoto, a 34-year-old cooking instructor.

Even when told Singaporean men have a reputation for being money-minded and, consequently, stingy, Miho has a model answer: "Being stingy usually is ok, as long as they know how to spend when it is time to spend."

So are Singaporean men equally enamoured by Japanese women? For "Mark" (not his real name), 28 and unemployed, he's attracted by the way they present themselves, and their attention to personal grooming.

Whereas "Justin", 27, who works in IT and has had three past relationships with Singaporean women, feels Japanese women have a certain charm and femininity that women here lack. Furthermore, he says Singaporean women can be a little demanding.

"They tend to be a bit fiercer and strong-minded, but it's not a bad thing." Perhaps wary of ramifications, he is quick to clarify that he doesn't want to generalise and understands that not all Singaporean women are that way. "I'm not disappointed in Singaporean girls, I just haven't met the right one yet."

Both "Mark" and "Justin" say they were at Destini IS' launch event simply out of curiosity.

The cost of the agency's basic package currently includes a sign-up fee of $288, with a monthly membership fee of $158.

Unlike what earlier media reports seem to suggest, the agency is actually open to men and women of all nationalities and age ranges. But their main focus is still in matching ladies from Japan with the men here.

So why did the founders set up an agency with such a specific goal in mind?

The agency's founders Hiromi Kiuchi (left), 42, and Hitomi Endo, 49.Photo: The Straits Times

Hitomi feels Singaporean men may have an edge over their Japanese counterparts, in terms of their more open attitude and less "strict" expectations about women.

The agency also happens to be a partner of the Japan Marriage Agency Federation, which has a database of 60,000 singles (more than half of them women) to tap on.

Hitomi herself is still on the lookout for Mr Right. The owner of Destini IS, as well as a language school here, moved to Singapore with her two kids for a ''fresh start" more than 10 years ago after divorcing her Japanese husband.

One advice Hiromi has for Singaporean men is that Japanese women are more reserved and do not usually speak their minds. So it is best to ask them for their real thoughts directly, says the general manager for Destini IS, who's married to a Singaporean.

Lest they be judged too harshly, both sides we spoke to were quick to add that they have nothing against Singaporean women nor Japanese men, and they are just looking to expand their dating options.

But despite the glowing reviews for our men, there's still room for improvement.

Said Ai: "Singaporeans like to check their phones all the time, take pictures of food and post them online. When I eat with my friends here, their phones are always on the table. But when I eat with my Japanese friends, their phones are always in their bag, so they focus on the conversation and food. That's one aspect that I feel Japanese guys are better."

But if you ask us, we think the same rules apply whether you're Japanese or Singaporean, man or woman - it's simply good manners.

So a PSA here for guys and gals: just remember to put your phones away when you're on your dates and treat people equally and with respect. Then maybe, just maybe, regardless of nationality or culture, love can blossom naturally.

candicecai@asiaone.com

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