Oh, those wacky Japanese! Now, no less a source than the Huffington Post is repeating reports of a Japanese-language Livedoor News poll alleging that a "majority" of Japanese women feel they can't compete with the girls in video games. “There’s no way I can beat that level of cuteness,” claims one of the women surveyed. Oh, the humanity.
The only problem? It's all based on a mistranslation. A very subtle one, but still one that leads to a misinterpretation.
When you read the original article, it becomes obvious that a majority of the respondents are actively repulsed by the idea of men who are obsessed with virtual characters. In fact, the very first survey question, which all of the foreign sites seem to leave out of their reports, is "How do you feel about men obsessed with dating simulators?"
They're nuts: 15%.
They're kind of gross: 48%.
I'd prefer they play other games: 15%
I don't really have a problem with it: 22%
"I don't really have a problem with it" = 別にいい, which hardly equates to strong support. But let's treat those women as supporters for the moment. That gives us 78% of Japanese female respondents who have a serious-to-minor problem with dating simulators. Seventy-eight. And more than half of those think men into dating sims are either nuts or gross!
Now check out the results to the second question, which is "But what if the man in question is your boyfriend?"
I want him to stop: 45%
I don't want him playing them around me: 28%
I'd dump him: 7%
I don't really have a problem with it: 20%
The number of "I don't really have a problem with it" responses actually DROPS to 20%, giving us the information that eighty percent of Japanese women polled pretty much avoid men who play dating simulators.
So keeping that in mind, let's look at the final question, the one that the foreign sites are laser-focusing on, which is being translated as "could [you] win against a 2D game character [your] boyfriend was besotted with?" It sounds pretty straightforward, but the actual translation of the line is below, with emphasis added:
"If your boyfriend were the sort to be obsessed with dating simulators, would you feel confident in being able to appeal to him more than the girls in the game?" In response to this totally loaded question, we get:
Now just think about the question for a second. It isn't asking Japanese women if they feel inadequate compared to virtual dating-sim girls. It's asking them if they think they can compete with virtual dating-sim girls in the mind of a person obsessed with dating sims. This is like asking a heterosexual woman what she thinks her chances are of being seduced in a gay bar. Does this speak to the "inadequacy" of Japanese women, or simply having the savvy to know when to choose their battles? You make the call.