“He works all weekend long.” “He’s too physical.” “They don’t have any money.” Those sound like common complaints that anyone on the dating scene might make, but in Japan — you may be surprised to find out — these are in fact referring to specific careers. Yes, that’s right. Having a certain career can kill your love life. Or, at the very least, that’s what Japanese men’s and women’s tabloid magazines (and certain blogs) will have you believe.
The “don’t date careers” trend has been around for a couple of decades now, but hearing it brought up again on a morning TV show this October really got me thinking. I talked to a few friends about it over drinks, and their answers made me think even more about it — so much so that I ended up informally interviewing/surveying about 30 Japanese men and women from the ages of 23-55 about these career biases.
The original “non-dateable careers”
Beginning in the late-90s-early 2000s, women’s magazines like Ageha, AnAn, Can-Can, Non-No and the like surveyed women from all ages and discovered that there were three jobs, referred to as the 3B’s, that were ranked as the least desired professionals to date.
The 3B’s are band members, bartenders, and biyoshi (美容師) or beauticians/hairdressers. These men are often considered as handsome and best-dressed men about town, but they aren’t seen as the ideal partners thanks to their irregular work schedules, less than steady incomes and flirty, womanizing reputations.
Recent changes: From 3Bs to 5Bs
Nowadays, there are anywhere from three to ten B’s, although from 2016 to present most magazines and blogs agree on the 5B’s: bartenders, biyoshi, bassists (the alleged worst offenders of the band member bunch), bloggers and binbo (貧乏) or “broke boys.” These broke boys aren’t poor because of bad planning so much as a refusal to work and/or reliance on mum and dad for their financial needs. Bloggers give the impression of an unstable income, which many women fear may affect their own lifestyle and finances.
Then there are also the 3S to consider. The 3S come across as serious, down to earth men, but underneath that majime (mature) exterior lie womanizing, unfaithful louts — according to recent women’s magazines like GJewel, Pinky Life Magazine, or Lovely, at least.
Seitaishi (massage therapists), shoboshi (firefighters), and sports instructors suffer from irregular schedules as well as reputations for their “animal magnetism.” These jobs all require a degree of