A few recent comments from friends have set me wondering about Japanese marriage proposals. (No, I'm not planning on making one sometime soon.) My college professor once pointed out in class that a traditional way to ask a Japanese girl for her hand was with the suave line, "Will you make my miso soup for me every morning?" But it turns out that with a modern audience, that bit gets more mileage in laughs and jokes than in swoons.
So what do Japanese women these days actually want to hear? How should Japanese guys pop the question? Are any of the modern alternatives less gender-stereotyped?
Entertainment statistics giant Oricon proffers answers to all these questions and more with the results of a 2007 survey of single females:
If a Man Proposed to Me With These Words, I'd Be Happy:
From the top:
#1 ... "Let's get married."
#2 ... "Let's be together forever."
#3 ... "Let's be happy together."
#4 ... "I'll protect you for the rest of our lives."
(The submitter, in her 30s and from Osaka, explains, "I'd feel as if I were really important to him if he said that.")
#5 ... "I can't think of anyone but you."
(I want to feel that I'm number one. Kanagawa, 40)
#6 ... "Can we endure hardships?"
(I think more than anything else endurance is crucial to marriage. Saitama, 40)
#7 ... "I want you by my side for the rest of my life."
(It feels like he's giving me permission to be beside him for a long time--for the rest of our lives. Hokkaido, 30)
#8 ... "Will you be my wife?"
(Subtle proposals are romantic, too, but if he asks me clearly I'll be able to take it more straightforward. Okayama, 20)
#9 ... "Let's live our lives together."
(I don't ever want to be thrown away. Chiba, 20)
#10 ... "I need you."
(I would feel how important my presence is to him. Tottori, 40)
#11 ... "Let's make a happy home together."
(I want to be happy forever. Mie, 30)
実感 じっかん actually feel like, realize
苦労 くろう hard work, labor, toil
傍に そばに next to, beside, the same kanji as in かたわら
許容 きょよう allowance, concession
遠まわし とおまわし roundabout
ときめく makes your heart beat fast
#6, 苦労してもいいか and its comment, were the most difficult for me to put into realistic English. If you have any other suggestions for how you'd translate those, please share!