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The interface might have been one of any number of popular dating apps. I tapped on handsome faces and sent flirtatious messages and, for a few minutes, felt as though she and I could have been any other girlfriends taking a coffee break on a Monday afternoon, analyzing the faces and biographies of men, who just happened to appear Asian.I had been interested in dating more Asian-American men, in fact—?
JDate, the matchmaking site for Jewish singles, has been around since 1997.Reading through the thread feels like opening a Pandora's Box, the air suddenly alive with questions that are impossible to meaningfully answer."It's like this bag of jackfruit chips I got in a Thai grocery store that read ' Ecoli = 0' on the nutritional information," one user wrote."Absolutely," I nodded in agreement—Asian women are —before catching myself.How the hell are your critics supposed to find your rebuttal when it exists solely offline, in a single location, amid the gridlock of L. My bafflement only increased: the app was clearly attempting to reach , but whom?Last year, a billboard advertising a dating app for Asian-Americans called East Meet East went up in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.
"Asian4Asian," the billboard read, in an oversized font: "That's not Racist."One user on Reddit posted a photo of the sign with the single-word rejoinder, "Kinda," and the sixty-something comments that followed teased apart the the moral subtleties of dating within or outside of one's own ethnicity or race.
In April, they closed four million dollars in Series A funding.
Tokioka, a serial entrepreneur in her late thirties, started the company after she found that major dating sites like E-Harmony and Match were limited when it came to Asian candidates.
From their tidy desks, the team, almost all of whom identify as Asian-American, had long been deploying social media memes that riff off of a range of Asian-American stereotypes. When I showed that last image to an informal range of non-Asian-American friends, many of them mirrored my shock and bemusement. Yamazaki added that the feedback was especially aggressive when Asian women were featured in their advertisements.
An attractive East Asian woman in a bikini poses in front of a palm tree: "When you meet an attractive Asian girl, no ' Sorry I only date white guys.' " A selfie of another smiling East Asian woman in front of a lake is splashed with the words "Just like Dim Sum...choose what you like." A dapper Asian man leans into a wall, with the words "Asian Dating app? When I showed my Asian-American pals, a brief pause of incredulousness was sometimes followed by a kind of ebullient recognition of the absurdity. "Like we have to share Asian women as if they are property," Yamazaki said, rolling his eyes.
If you are ethnically Chinese and looking for other ethnic Chinese, there's Two Red Beans.