‘What Do Foreign Women Think About Japan?’, Asks Survey


A recent survey carried out by Expedia reveals what foreign women find most surprising about Japan, while also quizzing them on their opinion about Japanese men.

And top of the poll? Japanese toilets.

What surprised you the most the first time you visited Japan? Or if you have yet to visit, what have you heard about that really surprises you?

From @DIME:

What Is The No.1 Thing That Surprises Foreign Women When They Come To Japan?

The Japanese-language site of the world’s biggest online travel company Expedia Inc., carried out a survey about Japanese culture and Japanese people between 200 foreign women living in Japan, aged between 20 and 60.

The "Oto Hime" box that makes a flushing sound when someone is using the toilet.

The “Oto Hime” box that makes a flushing sound when someone is using the toilet.

The Number One Thing That Surprises Foreign Women When They Come To Japan Is “Oto Hime”

When foreign women were asked what surprised them about Japan that they didn’t have in their own country (compared with their own country), the results showed that no. 1 was “Oto Hime” [Sound Princess], the gadget with sound effects for use in the toilet, no. 2 was “the vast array of vending machines”, no. 3 was “how many convenience stores there are”, no. 4 was “Washlet” [hi-tech toilet], and no. 5 was “kotatsu”. Furthermore, it also appeared that there were a lot of answers that showed surprise at products related to the toilet, for example “self-cleaning toilets” and “the softness of the toilet paper”. It seems that Japanese people’s concern for the toilet, as well as the functionality of Japanese products, felt new to foreigners.


Among Japanese Foods, Japanese Raw Fish Was Popular; “Sushi” is No. 1, And “Sashimi” Was At No. 3, No. 2 Was “White Rice”

The Japanese foods chosen by foreign women were no. 1 with 30% was “sushi”, no. 2 with 15.5% was “white rice”, and no. 3 with 15% was “sashimi”, making sushi overwhelmingly the number one choice. Moreover, if you put sushi and sashimi together, then the result show that around half of foreign women said they liked raw fish. This revealed that for foreigners who come from cultures where people rarely eat raw fish, it is thought of as a special characteristic of Japanese food. On the other hand, only a mere 0.5% of the total respondents said that they liked tsukemono (pickles), which are the obvious choice to accompany white rice, showing that these were not very popular with foreign women.


Their Impression Of Japanese Men, No. 1 “Hard Workers”, No. 2 “Kind”, No. 3 “They Play Around”

As for foreign women’s impressions of Japanese men, the results of the survey showed that no. 1 was that Japanese men are “hard workers”, no. 2 was that they are “kind”, no. 3 was that “they play around”, no. 4 was that “they are earnest”, and no. 5 was that they “don’t express their feelings”. Therefore while their kindness and work ethic were favourable impressions, it was clear then when it comes to love, Japanese men gave a negative impression to foreign women. By the way, things about Japanese men that made no impression on the women were that they were “family-oriented”, “wealthy”, “funny” or “single-minded”, all of which tied at just less than 2.5% of the total responses, followed by “disinterested in sex”.

53% Say That Japanese Men Are Attractive; Their Most Attractive Features Are No. 1 “Kindness” And No. 2 “Hardworking Nature”

53% of women answered that they “find Japanese men attractive”, which is more than half of the respondents. Asked what they specifically found attractive in Japanese men, a lot of women stated that it was their “kindness”, “hard working nature”, and “earnestness”, giving the same results as the women’s impression of Japanese men. On the other hand, what stood out as being unpopular among the women was “otaku”, with not a single woman responding that being an otaku was attractive. Although they had a strong interest in Japanese pop culture, such as anime and manga, the survey demonstrated that this was not perceived as being attractive.

Comments from Facebook:

Ken Yamazki:

I really hate ethnocentrism.
There are earnest people in every country, there are people who can’t survive unless they work in every country, and women from every country value a sense of virtue. It’s not just something that happens in Japan.

Masahiko Kaneko:

53% “found Japanese men attractive”. Well, thank you for your concern.
In fact, the lack of action that Japanese guys get abroad is almost painful.

青島 俊作:

Japanese people are earnest and diligent. A lot of the men are hardworking, and the women have an innate feminine shyness. That’s how the Japanese are!

Michiya Shirai:

15 years ago, when I stopped by a gas station in a rural village in Holland, I used the toilet. It was pretty simple, but it was very clean, and I was surprised. So even though someone might be a foreigner, I don’t really think that a Westerner would be all that surprised at toilets in Japan…

新浜 まいか:

・So the state and facilities of Japanese toilets really do have a reputation. ・ As regards food, what we can assume from the fact that there is a bias toward sashimi-related foods is that the survey methodology was that they had the possibility to just chose from a limited number of options. I think that these results accurately represent the feelings of most women.

村松 俊朗:

If you combine “sushi” and “white rice”, then the results show that around half like Japanese rice. In fact, when I was abroad and boiled rice (short grain rice; either Japanese or Californian) in a Japanese rice-cooker, I was surprised that virtually everyone told me it was “delicious”.

トール エス:

What surprised me when as a Japanese man I went to Holland was the height of the urinals in the men’s toilets. I mean, unless I aimed upwards when I was peeing, I couldn’t reach them!

Yuki San:

They say they’re hardworking, but the thing is Japanese men are only working in order to support their lifestyles.
Because in this country, you can’t survive if you have no income.
If you have to, then there are lots of different jobs, so a lot of people say that it’s pretty strange to not have a job at all.

沼本 高男:

They “earnestly” “work hard” for their families, and because they’re tired and even talking is to much, this sometimes leads to “not expressing their feelings” and being “disinterested in sex”. If they don’t work that hard they can’t survive, and nor can their family. Come to think of it, I feel like I’m wasting away.

Comments from Twitter:


There are way too many of those oto hime things where the sound is too quiet and they just don’t do what they’re supposed to. There’s no need for it to be the sound of flushing water, so I’d prefer it if they’d just play a bit of death metal.

飛田 竜一:

This is deeply interesting data for Japanese men. The kind of thing we might be able to use in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.


So kindness is the number one spot, but Japanese men don’t express their feelings of love, compared with the US. ( ・`ω・´)


Hang on a sec, that last sentence in the article is pretty awful w


Why is number 3 that Japanese guys play around?


Whenever I hear the sound of the Oto Hime coming out of the girls’ toilets, I think to myself: “Ah, someone’s having a shit…”

chelseaO141 :

When I went abroad, I was majorly surprised that you had to pay to use the toilets.

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