While many would argue that Tinder is more of a hook-up app than a dating one, Tinder Japan appears to serve users for a completely different purpose. Earlier this month, Tinder released a video ad for its Japanese market, which shows a young woman wearily studying English over a pile of books late at night. Tired of her notebooks, she nonchalantly opens the Tinder app on her phone and swipes right on a friendly looking female westerner called Emma. Our protagonist doesn’t open with a cheesy pick up line, or shoot a generic ‘How are you?’, like so many of us are painfully accustomed to. Instead, she wistfully writes, ‘I really want to learn English’, to which Emma quickly replies, ‘Shall we study together?’. The subsequent scene reveals the two singing karaoke together, presumably picking up some language skills as they sing a variety of different songs.
Typically, it’s almost impossible not to have the time of your life when you’re singing your heart out in a Tokyo karaoke room. The party seemed like an ideal night out, but some community members were less than pleased by the video’s message. ‘We’re not your free English teachers,’ piped one community member, with the video receiving a number of angry emoji reactions from disgruntled app users. It seems some locals have long used the app in the hopes of picking up other languages, through more exciting ways than simply pouring over a textbook, and the company enthusiastically jumped on this to appeal to a wider market.
The video's tagline, loosely translates to ‘I want to know the world more’, might be a closer representation of the app's marketing message in other countries – though a language lesson might not be what most international Tinder users have in mind when it comes to swiping in Japan. Whether you're earnestly looking for love, or seeking someone to practice your language skills with, it seems Tinder is there to assist users in all their endeavors, though it might take more time to find exactly what you're looking for...