Over the years, I've had a number of male Japanese friends express interest in interracial dating. While most weren't ashamed to say they had their hearts set on white women, there have been some who were interested in dating women of color. However, generally they were either hesitant to make the first move or harbored some preconception about the aggressiveness of black women. Others were even concerned about black women's supposed predisposition not to date outside their race.

Though the opposite (black men paired with Japanese women) can be seen on a regular basis in some places, I could count on one hand how many times I've seen black women with Japanese men out and about in Yokohama and Tokyo. Sometimes I'd ask my black female friends their thoughts on why that was.

These mostly American, Canadian and Jamaican women would explain that while they were certainly looking to date in Japan, it seemed that foreign guys were focused fully on Japanese women. And regarding Japanese men, some sisters would tell me they simply weren't being approached by them at all unless it was part of a drunken dare in a bar, or on a lark, or with some other agenda (English practice, accessorizing, fetishism, etc.). Others held on to suspicions about Japanese male chauvinism or their reputed passivity as prohibitive factors. I've even heard some sisters — one quite recently, even — invoke anatomical issues. And, not surprisingly, both parties have expressed skepticism about their ability to manage the challenges implicit in the cultural and language differences.