Why French men make Japanese women go weak at the knees

french men - www.MyFrenchLife.org If one is asked to describe a French man, one is usually met with a dreamy sigh followed by a wistful description of un Français typique: tall, handsome, well-groomed, and enveloped in a cloud of Jean Paul Gaultier’s latest fragrance. And of course there is that old tale that French men make spectacular lovers

This glorious stereotype has done little to hinder their global reputation as a nation of Casanovas. One country particularly enamoured by the thought of finding their own French beau is Japan.

Si une femme rêve d’aller en France, tout devient possible

Ask any young Japanese woman which country she wants to visit and you will instantly be regaled with reveries of romantic walks along the Seine and thrilling encounters with bohemian artists in Montmartre.

When I mentioned that I can speak French to the students whom I teach (who, heartbreakingly, have little interest in visiting rainy old England), they seemed to wake up, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. I was then bombarded with requests to say something French – anything would do. After class I was surrounded by a gaggle of teenage girls wanting to hear all about Paris, whether I’d ever eaten escargot, and if I’d met any cute French men.

french men - www.MyFrenchLife.org

Japanese manga and anime is filled with beautiful and cheeky French heroes such as Tamaki from ‘Ouran High School Host Club’ and Francis Bonnefoy from ‘Hetalia’ who effortlessly sweep young maidens off their feet with little else but a single red rose. When images of such characters are seen on a daily basis, perhaps it is unsurprising that France has become the fifth most popular travel destination.

When in doubt, idolise la vie française

To some extent, we are all fascinated by cultures that are different to our own. We find certain elements of the foreign civilisation that thrill and excite us, and which also tend to be lacking in our own culture. After all, if our own culture were perfect we certainly wouldn’t be discussing this theme from a Francophile perspective.

French men - www.MyFrenchLife.org

Japan does the same thing by idolising aspects of French society that go against the social norms in the East. French men are viewed as not only being charismatic, but also as knowing how to properly wine and dine the object of their affections; a character trait immensely appealing to Japanese girls.

Welcome to France: your handsome prince is just around the corner

Montmartre passion, par Franck VervialWhilst it isn’t quite fair to call the Japanese unromantic, cultural standards dictate that public affection between couples is kept to a minimum. You wouldn’t see a Japanese couple French kissing over coffee and crepes, nor would you see them holding hands in the street or cuddling on the subway (although times are indeed changing!). If you see a male and female in public together they are probably dating, and Valentine’s Day is where men receive cards and chocolates exclusively – not the other way around.

With such dramatic cultural differences to the West and yet at the same time such a strong French presence in Japan, it is completely understandable why a smouldering Frenchman – who will spoil you with affection and proudly show you off to the world – is the pinnacle of every woman’s romantic fantasy.

Japanese women continually flock to Paris dreaming of meeting their Prince Charmant just outside of Charles de Gaulle Airport. The question is, can we blame them?

Do French men get your heart racing? Let us know why in the comment box below!

Image Credits
1. Japanese Tourists by Julien, via Flickr.
2. 3163 – fabulous ouran_high_school_host_club rose suoh_tamaki by Dreama102, via Flickr.
3. Tactile or cerebral? by Martin Long, via Flickr.
4. Montmartre passion par Franck Vervial by Franck Vervial, via Flickr.

About the Contributor

Chelsey Ibbotson

Bonjour à tous! I am a French language student who can't seem to stay still for very long! At the moment you can find me drinking une tasse de thé in one of Japan's many French cafés. As an intern for My French Life, I'm delighted to share my passion for food, fashion, and all those little things that make France...well, French! En voici un peu plus sur moi- Google+ et LinkedIn

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  1. Jill Craig Jun 23, 2014 at 7:22 PM - Reply

    Chelsy, I loved this article! I had no idea that there was such a strongly projected image of the French prince charming in Japan- such an interesting mix of this sultry foreigner in comparison to how couples are expected to act when out in public. Merci!

  2. Elise Mellor Jun 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM - Reply

    How interesting! I wonder what French men think of Japanese girls… whether any comparable stereotype exists there.

  3. Chelsey Ibbotson Jun 29, 2014 at 11:48 PM - Reply

    Hi Elise, I’d be very curious to find out the answer to that question myself! The general attitude of Japanese men to western women is that whilst we all look like Hollywood film stars, we tend to be a bit too much hassle. Timid and demure are desirable traits in a woman, and unfortunately those adjectives aren’t typically synonymous with western girls. Whilst Japan is a first-world country, women still play a supporting role and are usually expected to wait hand and foot on men both at home and in a business environment. I suppose most men would enjoy being treated like royalty, and with western women these days busy carving out their careers and dividing household chores down the middle, it’s not surprising that a beautiful Japanese girl who’ll look after them impeccably is a very attractive prospect! As far as French men go though,I’ll have to find out!

  4. Chelsey Ibbotson Jun 29, 2014 at 11:50 PM - Reply

    Thanks Jill! Yes there are even French maid cafes where boys (and girls I suppose) of all ages, can have their wildest French fantasies come true!

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