For Osaka native Koji Arano, 35, brushing up on his dating skills led him not just to a girlfriend, but also to an unexpected career as a relationship coach. Through his YouTube channel, Moteki Producer (in Japanese slang, moteki refers to the period of time when your romantic popularity is at its peak), he offers up relationship advice to a love-hungry audience.

1. What is a “moteki producer”? A moteki producer is a sleaze-free relationship coach who will guide you toward your romantic golden age and help you meet the best partner ever.

2. What kinds of things do you do in your work? I give relationship tips to (my audience of) 120,000 on YouTube and problem-solve for people struggling with matchmaking services and dating apps. Recently, I’ve also been working in tandem with local governments to revitalize rural towns through matchmaking events.

3. What led you to this career? I received a record number of likes from women on five of the biggest dating apps in Japan. So many people started asking me for advice on how to become more popular. Before I knew it, it became my full-time job.

4. What kind of clients come to you for advice? The men who come to me tend to be inexperienced in romance, maybe don’t have the best looks, struggle with communicating or get nervous in front of people they like. The women I see are more exhausted with romance altogether, asking things like “What is the meaning of love?”

5. When did you start your YouTube channel? I started in November 2018, so about two years ago. I wish I’d started earlier so I could really stir things up on YouTube.

6. What was your strategy for building an audience? Typically, the golden rule for gaining fans on YouTube is to only touch on themes that resonate with everyone. In my case, I wanted to become the Wikipedia of love with thorough advice, so I focused on maximizing both quality and quantity. That’s why I have catchy videos like “Texts That Will Get You Replies” but also niche ones like “How to Approach Your Crush When They’ve Broken a Bone.”

7. What is your most popular video? “How to See if Your Crush Likes You Back With Just One Phrase.” Everyone wants to know what their crush thinks of them, after all. To summarize the video, you invite your crush to hang out with a simple question like, “Wanna grab some Italian food?” and then judge their reaction. Even if they say no, if they suggest a different date instead then you have a shot.

8. Were you always good at dating? I can turn my “dating switch” on and off depending on how I feel. It can be tiring to constantly be in the dating scene, and I don’t want to come across as a player.

9. How did you build your own confidence? When I went to a hair salon for the first time, I gave them carte blanche to style my hair and walked out with a perm. I was so embarrassed for doing something so bold, but I got a lot of great feedback from the people around me so I took that in and felt a little more confident about myself. I also gained confidence from starting my YouTube channel because it helped me better verbalize my experiences with love.

10. What three things do you always bring on a date? Bandaids, in case you get blisters from your shoes; a portable phone charger; and alcohol wipes — all for the ladies.

11. What is your favorite place to go on a date? Somewhere with a great view, like Tokyo Tower. You get to be on top of the world!

12. Has dating in Japan changed since the popularization of dating apps? There are absolutely more opportunities to meet people now. Of course, it means that sleazy people are getting matches, and people looking for serious relationships are having a harder time.

13. What is the most common problem you see in people struggling to find love? It’s funny for me to say this, but they depend too much on other people’s advice. At the end of the day, you’re the one who falls in love or builds a life with a partner. People who struggle rely too much on what others think. The worst is relying on fortune telling.

14. Do you have any go-to songs for when you’re feeling heartbroken? I like to listen to “Let It Be” by the Beatles when I’m feeling down.

15. Do you have any advice for non-Japanese people who are new to the Japanese dating scene? Japanese people are not the best at making concrete decisions, so things may go smoother if you take the reins and be assertive when planning a date.

16. How about for dating during a pandemic? There are fewer opportunities to meet people, so every encounter is now much more valuable. See this as a positive, and take the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with fewer people. Most importantly, continue to take strides forward!

17. What is the secret to a successful relationship? You have to see your partner in person a lot. No matter how much social media advances, there’s no way to develop a strong bond unless you spend time together.

18. Are you a fan of Valentine’s Day? Not at all! Wondering whether someone is going to give me chocolate or not makes me anxious, and I can’t focus on work.

19. What is the ideal Valentine’s Day date like? My ideal Valentine’s Day date would be one where the woman plans everything, no matter how basic or boring. As a guy, being asked where I want to go all the time only puts the pressure on me.

20. What is the strangest Valentine’s Day gift you ever received? I was gifted a replica of a lightsaber once, and it made my day!

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