Dating Culture in East Asia

In the dating world, East Asia tends to be one of the more interesting spaces.

In general, traditional gender roles and expectations can still be quite prevalent in East Asian dating culture. Men are often expected to initiate and lead the relationship, while women are expected to be more passive and demure. Public displays of affection are far less common than Europe or Latin America and may even frowned upon in some areas, especially in more conservative or traditional communities.

That being said, younger generations in East Asia are increasingly breaking away from these traditional gender roles and dating norms. The rise of social media and dating apps has also made it easier for people to connect and meet new partners outside of their immediate social circles.

In China, dating culture can be heavily influenced by Confucian values and expectations. Men are often expected to be providers and protectors, while women are expected to be nurturing and supportive. Dating apps like Tantan and Momo are widely used in China, but matchmaking services and parental involvement in relationships are still quite common. Marriage is seen as an important milestone in life, and many people are under pressure to find a partner and settle down at a relatively young age. However, dating culture in China is also evolving rapidly, with the rise of dating apps and online dating leading to new ways of meeting people.

Japan, for example, has a unique dating culture that is heavily influenced by anime, manga, and other popular media. Younger generations are more likely to use dating apps like Pairs or Omiai, while older generations may still rely on more traditional methods of matchmaking. It has a unique dating culture that places a strong emphasis on politeness and respect. Many Japanese people prefer to take things slow when it comes to dating, and may spend a long time getting to know someone before officially becoming a couple or lovers. Traditional gender roles also play a significant role in dating culture, with many men expected to be chivalrous and pay for dates.

In South Korea, the dating scene can be highly competitive and focused on status and wealth. Couples may often participate in “couple culture,” such as wearing matching outfits or celebrating monthly anniversaries. K-dramas and K-pop also play a significant role in shaping dating culture and expectations. Dating can be similarly slow-paced, with an emphasis on getting to know someone on a deeper level before committing to a relationship. Korean dating culture is also heavily influenced by Confucianism, which emphasizes social harmony and respect for elders.

Hong Kong has a diverse and cosmopolitan dating scene, with many people using dating apps and social media to connect with others. However, traditional Chinese values still play a significant role in dating culture, with many people prioritizing stability, financial security, and family values when looking for a partner.

Taiwan, on the other hand, has a more laid-back dating culture. People tend to approach dating with a more casual and relaxed attitude, and public displays of affection are more accepted. Dating apps like Paktor and Badoo are popular in Taiwan, but many people still prefer to meet potential partners through mutual friends or social events. Like in Japan and South Korea, relationships tend to develop slowly, with an emphasis on emotional intimacy and communication.

Overall, dating culture in East Asia is complex and diverse, with many factors influencing how people approach relationships. However, a strong emphasis on tradition, respect, and family values is common throughout the region.

Is East Asia gay friendly?

The level of acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community varies in East Asia. In some countries, such as Japan and Taiwan, there are legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and there are growing movements for LGBTQ+ rights. However, societal attitudes towards homosexuality may still be conservative, particularly among older generations. In other countries, such as China and South Korea, there are few legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals and discrimination is common. It is important to note that attitudes towards homosexuality and LGBTQ+ rights are complex and can vary widely depending on factors such as age, education, and region.

If you are planning to use gay dating apps in East Asia, we’d recommend checking the latest regulation and news from an organization like the ILGA.

Top dating apps in East Asia

The dating app scene in East Asia mirrors the complexity of dating culture. Though many international apps such as Tinder or Bumble have some level of brand recognition, there are many local apps which are quite popular. Here we will list some of the most recognized local dating apps. For a country breakdown, we recommend checking out a specific country’s page.

  • TanTan
  • Amanda
  • Noondate
  • Pairs
  • Omiai
  • Momo
  • Paktor

Top East Asian destinations for singles

  1. Tokyo, Japan – With its bustling streets, vibrant nightlife, and unique cultural experiences, Tokyo is a top destination for singles. From karaoke bars to izakayas, there are plenty of places to meet new people and have fun.
  2. Seoul, South Korea – The South Korean capital is known for its trendy fashion and beauty scene, making it a great place for singles to explore and meet new people. The city’s nightlife and food scene are also major draws.
  3. Taipei, Taiwan – Taipei offers a unique blend of traditional and modern culture, making it an intriguing destination for singles. The city’s night markets, street food, and trendy cafes are great places to socialize and meet new people.
  4. Hong Kong, China – As a major international hub, Hong Kong is a melting pot of cultures and offers a vibrant nightlife scene. The city’s famous skyline and stunning harbor views also make it a romantic destination for couples.
  5. Shanghai, China – Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city that offers a unique blend of traditional Chinese culture and modern Western influences. Its nightlife, food scene, and trendy shopping districts are popular attractions for singles.

Dating culture by country in East Asia

ChinaHong Kong*Japan
Macau*MongoliaNorth Korea**
South KoreaTaiwan

*Hong Kong and Macau are both parts of China but we feel they are distinct in some ways when it comes to dating.

**We are aware that little is known about dating life in North Korea. We’ve done our research. Check out the North Korea page for more information.