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Order to meeting parents? 2022/7/3 13:48
My boyfriend, who is Japanese, and I have been dating for over a year now. We are planning on getting married in the near future. However, he hasn't told his family that I exist. I know that this is common in Japan, but what has me confused is that he said that there is an order to the introductions.

He said that following Japanese tradition, he needs to meet my parents first, then I meet his parents. The problem is, I can't find any information in English explaining this custom. Is this true? Is there a proper order to meeting parents? And is the correct order, woman's parents, then man's parents?
by Jas Lin (guest)  

Re: Order to meeting parents? 2022/7/3 18:00
I have never heard of it (I am a Japanese woman in my mid 50s, married to a non-Japanese).

I looked it up in Japanese, and what he said seemed to be the old custom. In the olden times, the woman would “marry into the man’s family,” so it would be courteous for the guy to go to the woman’s parents first to “ask for her” (note the traditional take on marriages, rather than a union between two individuals). But the webpage I read said not to get hung up on the tradition and to be flexible as it suits your circumstances.

Maybe he is a traditional guy, or maybe he is simply trying to “do it right.”
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Order to meeting parents? 2022/7/3 21:57
I am not Japanese but have been living in Japan nearly 20years and what I have heard is that boyfriend and his parents visit girlfriend and her parents before engagement ceremony for greeting. In old times boy friends used to say 'ojosan wo kudasai' something like that but nowadays they simply say ' I would like to marry your daughter x-san'.
by Emilio (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Order to meeting parents? 2022/7/3 22:45
Just to add - he might think his parents are of the traditional type, so that they would appreciate it if he followed the “traditional” custom.

But IMHO, (if his parents don’t know that you exist) the first thing to do is for him to let his parents know that there is someone he is seeing :) and then think about the in-person introductions. He knows his parents, so he’d know how best to approach them, but it would make sense to discuss the process (and his reasons - not just that “it is the way it’s done here”) before you jump into the introductions and other rather formal processes. Best wishes.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Order to meeting parents? 2022/7/4 00:05
It's a normal order and we did it in that order before I got married.
If you do that in the opposite order, it may cause trouble if both sides are Japanese families.

It's based on the traditional idea of marriage in Japan, which is that the bride goes out of her original family and becomes a new member of the bridegroom's family. So, the bridegroom needs to "get permission" from the bride's parents. It's impossible to move into a new family without getting out of the old one.

If you don't have a practical reason to refuse it, you should respect the tradition of his culture.

I don't think there is a Japanese person who doesn't know this.
by Tai (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Order to meeting parents? 2022/7/4 17:08
I believe something is lost in translation. I think what he was trying to say was, "There's a process to everything, and I need to talk to my parents in person first before I introduce you to them. That's how things work here."

I'm not actually saying that that's how things work here. I'm just saying that that was probably what he was trying to say. Or more precisely, that's something that a person would say in that situation.

I'm guessing that he feels the need to make his parents feel at ease first, as opposed to surprising them. Because when people are surprised, they tend to become unnecessarily upset.

Like you assumed, it's not common to introduce to parents in Japan every person you date. Japanese people can go on dating forever without their parents knowing who the dates look like. The parents may have guessed, but, like parents all over the world, it's one thing to assume that your kid is dating and it's another to have that date presented in your face as your future family. So, sometimes parents AND children feel the need to do that step by step. I don't think it's particularly unique to Japan. It's just that, maybe in Japan, it tends to happen later in your life than it would in some other countries.

If I were you, the next thing I'd want to say to him is, "Go see your parents, then." But men are often intimidated then you'd think..... Obon would be a good opportunity, regardless.

I'm a Japanese woman who married a Japanese man, if that helps.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Order to meeting parents? 2022/7/4 22:15
by Tai (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Order to meeting parents? 2022/7/5 06:46

To the OP,

I apologize that I had misunderstood your question. I thought that he was saying he needs to talk to his own parents alone before introducing you to them.

So, yes, it's the norm for males to see the female's parents before introducing the female to the male's parents. But this is more about an official introduction. It's also common for the female to "casually" meet the male's parent(s) before the male meeting the female's. For example, one might happen to meet at a party and be introduced as "a friend" or "girlfriend". And then later on, the male would visit the female's home (preferably in a suit) and properly ask for approval of marriage.

In any case, I don't think it's common for a modern woman to decide marriage before ever knowing what his parents are like (moreover if she's going to join his family). It's natural to say hi to each other's parents before moving a step forward for a more proper greeting. That said, it may go down better if the guy gets to see her parents first to avoid the case of "My precious daughter is not only seeing this guy but also his parents already?! Am I being missed out?"

Regardless, I don't quite understand what the problem is. Could he not meet your parents? If the pandemic or the outrageous flight fares is the problem, could you not have him video chat with your parent(s)? Tell me if I'm missing something.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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