REVIEW: ‘Love is Blind: Japan’ is Unexpectedly Deep

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Love is Blind Japan - But Why Tho

Love is Blind: Japan Season One started airing exclusively on Netflix on February, 8th, 2022. With 24 people, this show is what the hosts, Takashi Fujii and Yuka Itaya, call a social experiment to see whether or not love can transcend physical boundaries such as appearance and touch and asks the question: is love blind? Just like its American predecessor, the setup of the show is that the women and men are separated into their own housing quarters.  They are able to date by going into the “pods” which are two connected rooms where the cast can talk and exchange gifts through the wall but they cannot see each other. The show allows for the people to have ample free time to meet with whoever they want.

What struck me at first was how the reality show was really fleshed out from the start. Despite having 24 people (13 men and 11 women), each hour-long episode was not only equally dedicated to all of the budding romances but narratively pointed viewers in the right direction. I feel like a lot of my hopeful romantic pairings occurred because the camera work, the interview spotlights, and scene placements made it very clear what was going on. Instantly, I felt affection for Ryotaro (hairstylist), Shuntaro (Consultant), Wataru (Executive), Midori (Business Planner), Motomi (Advertising Salesperson), and Priya (Entrepreneur) as people. In the pods, they explore a lot of themselves and what they want out of a relationship. I loved how they all didn’t just want to get married to be married but to find someone who would make their life better and also help them change and grow.

Midori, one of my favorite people in the cast, came in quite skeptical about being able to love someone without meeting someone physically.  As each episode passed by, we see her push herself as she starts to realize that she is catching feelings for a cast member. Wataru. As with many reality shows, she is not the only person interested in him and there’s a lot of support amongst her and others as they start to realize the emotional toll of not being able to meet the people they’re interested in. I found it a really great medium for being able to learn and grow alongside Midori and others. The pods enabled them to speed-date and really dive into topics a lot heavier than when people are first dating.

I love the conversation Priya had when she was on a date with Mizuki. He talks about how he would want a woman who would be a stay-at-home wife and he would take care of all her needs. Priya immediately let him know that she was very focused on her work and her own success and that a meaningful relationship with her means that they could both support and love each other (even though their work). I am a sucker for emotional honesty and I found it so fascinating that without being able to see another person, many cast members were able to really be true to themselves and their values.

After a few weeks of dating in the pods, some pairings got engaged and were able to meet and physically date their fiancees. I was watching the show weekly and found myself frequently wondering how these eight engaged couples were going to change once they were together. The couples were sent to beautiful locations in Okinawa, Nasu, and Niigata on retreats before they left back for their homes.

There are many moments that make this show worth the watch as they get to know each other better.  Roytaro and Motomi had instant attraction both in and out of the pods and seeing them go to the beach really made my heart so warm. They goofed off, talked about how there is a different air to their relationship now. They supported each other as they traversed through the rocky terrain of the beach and discussed how they felt pretty serious about each other already. I’m sure they’re to be fan favorites. Not all couples had it super well, I felt really sad about one couple realizing that their chemistry inside of the pods could not save the troubles they were experiencing in person. This particular couple was not cliquing and both partners felt like they were completely different now that they were dating in person. It was heartbreaking to see them realize that they could not work out and that, for them, they could not move past the barriers of not meshing well, arguing, and not being real with one another.

I think the best aspect of Love is Blind: Japan, regardless of whether or not your favorite couples make it, is that the cast is very serious about their wants and desires. Despite some people performing for their partner, the reality of their feelings seeps through in a very genuine and connecting way. I cried with Midori as she felt fear of what marriage really means. She doubted whether or not she was someone who was not only accepting of love and affection but also whether she was capable of returning it, even if she really did love her partner. Ryotaro felt deep insecurity overlooking more alternative compared to the socially perceived look of a “successful” man. I really felt for him as someone who has been called unprofessional for having tattoos, piercings, and colored hair throughout my life. Priya had a moment where she felt emotionally disconnected because she realized that she was not having fun in a social gathering and it was easy to empathize with her. Love is Blind: Japan feels universal and welcoming to all kinds of people and there was never a moment where anyone shamed anyone for their confusion, shyness, or insecurities. I think that alone makes it feel real and authentic.

Love is Blind: Japan completely took me by surprise with how much it moved me. This is a show that had contestants really look into themselves to see whether or not they can find true love and most contestants really tried too. I am in awe of the emotional depth and resiliency most cast members have. Whether or not your favorite couples got married, Love is Blind: Japan is for every romantic at heart who hopes everyone, everywhere can find true happiness in love.

Love is Blind: Japan’s 13 episodes are now streaming exclusively on Netflix.  


Love is Blind: Japan

TL;DR

Love is Blind: Japan completely took me by surprise with how much it moved me. This is a show that had contestants really look into themselves to see whether or not they can find true love and most contestants really tried too. I am in awe of the emotional depth and resiliency most cast members have. Whether or not your favorite couples got married, Love is Blind: Japan is for every romantic at heart who hopes everyone, everywhere can find true happiness in love.