If you’re a white male in Tokyo, you can do what you want. I’m just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head, pfft on the dick, head on the dick, yelling, ‘Pikachu,’ with a Pikachu shirt (on). — Julien Blanc, dating expert at Real Social Dynamics
One of the most reviled misogynist “pick-up artists” is coming to Japan this month. He may find he is not very welcome. It’s one thing to teach dubious techniques to socially inadequate men on how to bed women; it’s another thing to grab Japanese women and force their face into your crotch.
In Japan, that’s not “aggressive dating” — that’s forcible indecency (kyōsei waisetsu), a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. I wonder if our visiting dating adviser is aware of this. He certainly wasn’t the last time he was in Japan.
Who is this charming fellow? He is, according to his Facebook page, “an executive coach for Real Social Dynamics, the international leader in dating advice.” According to a puff piece in The Daily Mail, “Pick-up artist Julien Blanc charges men $3,000 to learn his secret tricks.”
These secret tricks he brags about include grabbing women by the neck and choking them, psychological manipulation, lying and, in Japan, apparently sexually assaulting women while “cutely” saying “Pikachu, Pikachu” again and again to lighten the mood. I don’t think Nintendo would approve.
As extensively detailed in the 2005 book “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists,” there is a booming industry in teaching men how to “pick up women” — or, to drop the euphemisms, how to get women to have sex with you. Though the jury may be out on which is more pathetic — the men giving the courses or the men taking the courses — the latter continue to produce enough revenue to keep men like Blanc employed.
Blanc is coming to Japan sometime this month, according to his Twitter feed. Many are not happy about his return.
On Sept. 8, Mr. Blanc released an instructional video on YouTube titled “White male f-cks Asian women in Tokyo (and the beautiful methods to it),” which went viral. It not only included the charming instructions at the top of this article, but also showed him forcing women to put their faces between his legs and sexually harassing a convenience store clerk.
The video caught the attention of Jennifer Li, an Asian-American woman who was so horrified that she began a campaign to contain him, because his toxic message puts the literal “viral” back in “viral.”
“I started the campaign at around 1 a.m. on a Saturday, after I saw the video on Tumblr,” Li writes in an email. “Each second was more horrifying than the next. I’ve had no experience taking anyone down, so I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I had so much anger in me that I needed to channel it somewhere. I started #takedownjulienblanc [on Twitter] without knowing if it would ever pick up.
“When I watched the video, there were a million things going through my mind: how he was abusing his white privilege, how he was abusing his male privilege, how he is dehumanizing Japanese women, how he is committing sexual assault, how he is teaching this to other men, and how this will affect Asian women everywhere.”
Meanwhile, a YouTube blogger who covers comparative culture issues named msdoom99 posted a Japanese-subtitled video of Blanc’s instructional film, which (s)he labeled “White man on rampage in Japan: ‘You can have all the sex you want.’ ”
Ms. Doom added in Japanese and English: “It makes me sad. This white guy overflowing with confidence. It makes me feel icky. Somehow it depresses me.” It depresses almost all of us, Ms. Doom, I assure you.
The Japanese-subtitled video has been viewed nearly 400,000 times. But not all the comments condemn Blanc. Some praise him: “You guys know about ‘herbivores’ (sōshoku dansei)? A massive movement of guys who gave up on sexuality in Japan. Japan is going to end because people can’t get laid. This guy teaches men NOT to become like that. All the hatred and shaming of male sexuality has brought an end to Japan.”
I can think of other things that have brought much more damage to Japan — like sexism, racism, labor exploitation, the nuclear industry, corruption — but hey, I’m just a permanent resident. What do I know?
However, gradually, the efforts of a few activists have had an effect. In Melbourne, his planned seminar at Hotel Como Melbourne was canceled due to public pressure, and his Australian tour may be in jeopardy. Japan is next on his list of places to visit, with seminars reportedly scheduled for Nov. 15-17.
Blanc did not respond to a request for comment. Jason Gatewood, at animated news site TomoNews, also recently reported that the listed address for the firm that employs him in the U.S. is now a vacant lot. Our dating guru is hard to reach. His controversial video is now “private” and only the Russian version is still online. (Hey, Russia is the homeland of toxic masculinity — are you surprised?).
One hopes he gets his just rewards in Japan, where forcible indecency is clearly a crime. The catch is that the victim has to make a criminal complaint for the police to move. Let’s hope Japanese women here are as vocal as troll-battling Ms. Li and the people Down Under.
Julien, I’d like to say “Welcome back to Japan,” but really, what many of us want to say is, “Don’t ever come back.”
What’s the opposite of yōkoso?
Jake Adelstein writes the monthly Dark Side of the Rising Sun column in The Japan Times on Sunday. Foreign Agenda is a forum for opinion on issues related to life in Japan. Your comments and ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org