Musings about Japan and life as a human, a cosplayer, a minority, a music lover, an English teacher.

Category Archives: AMBW

Done with AMBW.

When I first told my best friend that there are Facebook groups dedicated to fostering relationships between Asian Men and Black Women (hence the acronym AMBW), she thought it was nuts.

I tried to clarify for her WHY groups like this existed the main reason being that there are many negative stereotypes going against both Black women and Asian men; when you see certain rich, Black athletes and especially rappers, you see them with non-Black women. (Wasn’t there even a rapper who went on a tirade against Black women?)

Asian men get stereotyped as being scrawny compared to strong men of other races, and are assumed to be lacking physically in certain areas, if you know what I mean.

So, wouldn’t it make sense for two groups who get a bad rep to come together and be able to relate to each other’s struggles?

…is how I explained it to my friend.

I understand the difficulty in being thought of as “undesirable.” And that’s why I like that there are groups encouraging this type of interracial, intercultural exchange.

But…recently I suddenly left an AMBW Facebook group that I was part of for a pretty long time. I saw one post, by a Korean guy taking a selfie, pretty much saying “What’s up?” and not much else.

It’s become so lame. Instead of having meaningful discussion, that particular group seems to have become a shallow place where people post pics of hot Asian models and celebrities, and where the Black women seem to flock to every post from a guy with an Asian last name, even if all he’s saying is “Yo.”

I can’t say that EVERY group is like that, because I wasn’t part of EVERY group; just that one and maybe another that I’ve forgotten about. But I didn’t sign up for “yellow fever,” nor would I want a guy specifically looking for an “exotic” woman.

So, I’m all for fostering relationships that would otherwise be unlikely to happen, but don’t make “getting a Japanese boyfriend” or “scoring a black girlfriend” a goal. There’s quite a few interracial relationships within my own family, and none of them had anything to do with one person TRYING to score a partner of a particular race. Successful interracial relationships come to be because both people decided to look PAST race, not because they looked FOR a certain race.


…when I use Japanese online community sites.

The screenshot from my last blog post was from a dating/friendship community known as JapanZone Friends.

I revived my profile on JapanZone Friends after what seems like years. All the discussions and topics about AMBW that I’ve been reading about lately drew me back to using the site. One of the reasons I quit before was because I wasn’t meeting many Japanese guys (or Japanese people in general), but rather people from other countries. The other reason was because the options I had as a “free” member were VERY limited, and I wasn’t going to pay money to become a VIP member.

But I’ve returned to the site, to do a bit of an experiment on whether I can easily find an “Ideal Match” (18 to 25-year old Japanese male open to dating or even becoming friends with a non-white, non-Japanese girl). So I restored my profile, uploaded a new picture, and edited my information (it still said that I was “hoping to go to Japan,” lol). I added a Japanese translation of my English introduction message in hopes of encouraging more Japanese speakers to contact me.

How can any guy resist this pretty face?!

After my profile got approved, I looked at “My Matches” (few of which looked interesting to me) and waited for some visitors and Smiles (which are kind of like Facebook Pokes). I got what I usually get when I use online dating/community sites: Middle-aged, non-Japanese men. I can’t say there’s anything wrong with these men, but I’m 22, and I would much prefer to have a guy in the same age range, and not closer to my dad’s age (won’t lie though, if Fukuyama Masaharu proposed to me I’d say yes :P)

Of the 55 visits to my profile that I’ve gotten so far (some of these are repeats), about 10% of them were from Japanese men in their 20s. Even fewer were in my 18 to 25 age range–about two or three. The rest were from men from other countries (I’m listed as being in Japan so they may have thought I was Japanese) and about half of them were ranged from 30 to 51.

But since visits don’t necessarily mean anything other than the curiosity of seeing the rest of a person’s profile, let’s look at the smiles:

I have 22 smiles total. 3 of them are repeats, which makes 18 different individuals. 5 of those 18 smiles are from Japanese men. Of the 5 Japanese men, one of them is within my 18-25 range, but he didn’t look very interesting; there was absolutely no spark from looking at his profile. Another guy, who is 30, looked pretty interesting and seemed like the type I could hang out with, so I sent a smile back to him. (He has yet to respond again.) Another smile was from a 32-year old who was only listed as being interested in language exchange-related activities and not dating, which was fine by me. I replied to him saying thank you, and he replied back introducing himself and saying he wanted to practice English.

I won’t even go into chats–none of them were from Japanese men.

Am I trying to prove anything with these statistics? No, nothing other than the fact that these are the typical results that I get from sites like these. But I’m pretty sure it’s a common case; I imagine that the population of men over 30 on these sites is fairly large. I also expect that a site focused on uniting Japanese and non-Japanese people will probably have less Japanese people and more people from other countries…there’s a lot of different countries, whereas there’s only one Japan. Not to mention that the online presence (not the mobile online presence) of Japanese people, aside from mixi and 2chan, is known to be pretty low. Finally, I may just be doing one single thing wrong: listing my country as “Japan.” Even though that’s where I live, it may be possible that the Japanese guys I’m looking for are looking for women who DON’T live in Japan, and the middle-aged men from other countries might think that I’m Japanese. I don’t think the former is likely, but the latter might be.

Some of the "Smiles" I got. Only three on this page are from Japanese guys.

What this proves is that even the Internet isn’t an easy place to meet certain types of people. The best way to meet anyone is in person, but unfortunately it’s not always easy. There’s a lot of luck or fate involved, whichever you believe in. There’s also money involved if you intend on traveling or paying to get full service from dating sites. It’s probably easier if you’re the “go-getter” type, but I’m not one of those because I’d rather wait for people to come to me, and then I get to decide whether I’m interested in that person or not. It’s easier than for me to continue going after guys who are likely not interested in me because they didn’t give me any special attention from the get-go, or guys whose kindness I’ve misinterpreted as interest. (See my YouTube video titled “I still don’t understand Japanese guys.” as well as the follow up from White Day.)

As I am finishing up this blog, I just received another smile…from a 42-year old in Germany. And I’ve also received a chat request from a 41-year old…who, needless to say, is not Japanese. Even if he was, it wouldn’t matter…he’d still be 10 years younger than my dad. But if he was Fukuyama Masaharu…

Yeah I know he's 42.

So here are some questions:

  • Do you use JapanZone Friends or similar sites focused on international communication?
  • If you do, what kind of people do you tend to get contact from?
  • Why in the world do I get so many contacts from [much] older men, despite the fact that my “Ideal Match” obviously states that I’m looking for guys 18-25?

This is only the beginning, so should some additional activity come about, I’ll write a follow-up.

Asian Guys and Black Women

Over the weekend I was doing a borderline obsessive search on the Internet for anything related to Asian men and Black women in interracial relationships (otherwise known as AMBW). The biggest question I had in my mind was, “Why is it that I’ve met so few Asian men willing to date a woman of color?”

I had answers to that question going through my head, but I didn’t want to believe them. One explanation is that perhaps some Asian men, either consciously or subconsciously, find Black women (and women who are otherwise darker than they are) to be not good enough. They see the beauty in an Asian woman, and they’ll definitely see it in a White woman, but Black women are simply “not for them.”

I had an experience in high school in which I had a crush on a Korean guy in my history class for almost a year. He was very kind to me despite how persistent I was, and he seemed to generally care about me as a friend. My Korean half felt some sort of connection with him, and I seriously thought I wanted this guy. But one day, I finally asked him, “Why is it that you’re not interested in me?”

His answer was that I wasn’t a “pure Korean.” I took this as meaning that I was tainted, and thus undesirable to someone–a 100% Korean–like him. (I should also mention that he wasn’t even born IN Korea, so that makes him Korean American :P)

I got over him very quickly after that. On top of that, he was a bit of a Korean nationalist and horribly racist against Japan (he kept it to himself unless the topic of Japan came up, which was often brought up by me since I was studying Japanese). He had friends of different races throughout high school, but he would only ever think of dating a Korean. And I don’t count.

That incident really messed me up. From that point, my interest in Korean guys slowly faded, and my interest in everything else Korean started to fade as well. I heard about racism in Korea against halfs, including with Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. I remember seeing his story a few years ago after the Super Bowl about how he was picked on in South Korea simply for being mixed, and then suddenly when the Steelers win the Super Bowl, Korea suddenly have pride in him as if he was theirs. This attitude absolutely disgusted me. Don’t take this the wrong way though–in no way am I ashamed of being Korean. I love that my mom is not like that Korean guy back in high
school; she doesn’t feel any resentment towards my choice of studying Japanese, or the fact that I’m living here. And I know there are other Koreans who would think the same way. I want to believe that the alleged negativity and racism in Korea is only the minority, and that the rest of the country is okay. I guess I have to go and see for myself. My interest in going has waned, and at this point I feel I would only want to go if my mom came with me.

Anyway, it was because of this Korean guy that I started to become aware that interactions between Asian guys and Black girls was rarer than it should be, and I feared that it was because Asians (and pretty much everyone else in the world) generally looked down on Blacks.

I’ve been told that being half-Korean gives me more of a chance, but I don’t believe that’s true at all. A lot of people will probably “one-drop rule” me in their minds: I’m half-Black, so therefore I should be counted as just Black, even if it’s a total giveaway that I’m not 100% Black.

And this is why I was searching for information on AMBW, even though I’m half. I can much better relate to Black women that are struggling to find Asian guys open to dating other races (other than White). I know they are out there, but I wish it was easier for me to find them.

In the AMBW Facebook communities, the Black women pretty much always outnumber the Asian men. Whenever an Asian guy posts something in the group, they are welcomed by quite a few women. But when a Black woman posts in the group, where are all the Asian men?

Just look at this 2009 blog from OKCupid. Black women get shunned not only by Asian men, but by men of every race. It’s sad. You can say it’s the fault of the Black girls (not mature enough to be called ‘women’) who reinforce the stereotype of being loud and obnoxious, but it’s also the fault of people who believe in those stereotypes. And it’s the fault of the media (I blame the media for everything, really) for portraying Black women in such a way.

We need to stop eating up stereotypes on TV and actually interact with people. Ignorant people will just sit back and believe that all people of a certain race are more or less the same. Slightly less ignorant people will try to talk to one or two people of a certain race, and if they fit the stereotype that person will sit back and say, “See? I was right.” Open-minded people will treat others on an individual basis, and will still believe that there are people who go against the stereotype.

I’m working on blocking out my experience with that one Korean guy, because I know there are Koreans that do not share his racist views. I’m also hoping to meet more guys in Japan that are open-minded.

I’ll end this lengthy blog post with a quote from a Japanese girl I found in Japan Zone:

“I like a guy who can play some music instruments and never say ‘I love all Japanese girls.’

I only hope that people will keep an open mind, and to try and look beyond race. Congratulations if you got that dream girl or guy of the race you so desired, but remember that it’s their character that is more important, not their skin color. I’m not interested in the hip-hop loving Asian dude with a “Black woman fetish”. I’m not interested in the Black guy with a fetish for “exotic mixed girls.” And I hope that like me, there are open-minded women of darker complexion who will love their guy (or future guy) for who he is, not because he’s a “hot Asian guy.”

I wanted to make a YouTube video about this, but I haven’t yet figured out how to express my thoughts properly.