The “Gaijin Hunter” Exists — But It’s Not What You’re Expecting

Most foreigners reported experiences with a “gaijin hunter”. But the reality of these interactions is more complicated than it seems.

Unseen Japan


By Eric Margolis

In a 2018 Japanese survey, 51.6 % of women and 40.8% of men said that they had some level of interest in an international marriage. Among Japanese men, the most desirable nationalities for a prospective international partner were Thailand, China, and Taiwan. Among women, they were the United States and South Korea. And more than 70% of Japanese people who studied or lived abroad had experience dating a foreigner at some point in their lives.

The “gaijin hunter” in Japan has become a general mythology — albeit one based on truth. The word gaijin means ‘outsider’ or ‘alien’ and is a crude way of referring to a non-Japanese person. Stereotypical gaijin hunters specifically seek out foreigners in their romantic life, sometimes just for a casual fling, other times in pursuit of marriage.

But just how real is the gaijin hunter in 2023?

[Editor’s note: This article largely focuses on heterosexual relationships and does not examine the complexities of dating for LGBTQ people in Japan. If you have experience