? It’s a truth universally acknowledged that dating apps are the absolute worst. Although to be fair, the onus is not so much on the design of the apps themselves, but the general experience of online dating.
I’ve had the opportunity and great misfortune to try out more than a couple of the more popular dating apps in the US. I’ve shuffled the order of photos on Tinder, dusted off my reading lists for OKCupid and grappled with the gravity of soul-baring questions such as what’s my favorite Disney movie on Hinge.
Before my initiation into Japanese dating apps, online dating for me was a world full of men showing off abs and baseball caps. It was also a world where phrases like “I like someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously” and Myers-Briggs personality types were commonplace and the words “chill” and “adventure” reigned supreme.
Japanese dating apps are markedly different. On a purely visual level, the men on Japanese dating apps are more fully-clothed and don’t seem to claim permanent residency on beaches. But it’s not merely about pictures; the design of Japanese dating apps also differs from their American counterparts. From ranking profiles by their popularity to including one’s blood type and birth order as profile information, there are many features of Japanese dating apps that set them apart from Tinder and Bumble.
Are Japanese dating apps doing something that American ones aren’t? Have they managed to make meeting people online not a veritable war of attrition?