TOKYO — There are all kinds of kissing all over the world, but traditionally, in Japan there has only been two kinds and they are the romantic kissing done by couples or kissing babies. Public displays of affection have always been frowned upon, and still generally are: a kiss on the lips is serious business.
The moment for a romantic kiss on any Japanese TV drama looks excruciatingly uncomfortable, especially in comparison to the ”eat each other up” passion of Western dramas. The “jidaigeki,” or Japanese period dramas, feature absolutely no kissing. With this in mind, SK Planet Japan did a survey on 400 20 to 30-year-old men and women to find out young Japanese people’s views on kissing — which is actually pretty interesting considering that kissing has always been an almost taboo subject.
It was found that 60% of the women polled had only kissed up to five people, signifying that experience in this arena is on the low side. By asking the question, “Have all your kisses led to a dating relationship?” it was found that 90% of the women questioned said “no.” In other words, more Japanese women are willing to kiss for no other reason but that they want to. The casual kiss has taken hold in Japan.
The results seem to point to the fact that kissing, for women, is not the big deal it used to be. A kiss used to mean a long-term promise, if not a bond lasting a lifetime. Of course, that notion would be considered out of date anywhere except in the more traditionally conservative circles in today’s Japan. Japanese women are learning to chill out over the kiss, though they still have discerning taste and won’t just kiss anyone.
Men were also found to be in the range of 88.2% when it came to taking part in kissing that didn’t actually lead to a relationship.
But wait. The statistics also go on to show that like the women, about 60% of the men have only kissed up to five people, which seems to imply a kiss is still something reserved for someone special.
This survey seems to say conflicting things. If a kiss is just a kiss, why are the Japanese kissing more people? Maybe the Japanese lack the finely honed instinct of knowing when to kiss, just like in the dramas.
In any case, cheers to SK Planet Japan for attempting this survey. Yes, the idea of kissing is no problem for the younger generation and men and women may not place much importance on a kiss anymore, but perhaps it is OK not to be so enamored by the joining of the lips.