Saturday, September 24, 2011

Japanese Couples

So I think so far my biggest culture shock has been Japanese couples.

The fact that couples don't show affection in public isn't really that weird, in fact I think that's great, but the thing is that it goes BEYOND not showing affection in front of strangers. It goes as far as not showing affection in front of family, friends, or even in front of your own kids.

I didn't know about this whole "passive love" thing until we talked about it yesterday in my Japanese Culture class (so freaking interesting so far). Our teacher said that she's never seen her parents do anything remotely romantic/coupley, ever. They've never held hands, have never said anything to each other that implied being married, never gave each other compliments, and they "certainly didn't kiss in front of me, ever."

Up until this point, I thought my host mother hated my host father, seriously. When it's just the two of us, we'll do nothing but joke and have fun, and then the minute he comes home she'll kind of put on a "mom" face because there's a kid in the room (allegedly). She's even gone as far as to talk about going on a 3-month trip to America without him, because he's too busy.

BUT HERE'S THE THING, that kind of behavior is perfectly normal in Japan for Japanese couples. There's absolutely no expression of love between husband and wife in front of other people. And by acting this way towards one another, they're proving their love even more.

A wife and husband can lead two separate lives. The husband might work all day, get drinks after work with his coworkers and then come home to a late dinner. The wife might be taking classes, working a job, meeting with her friends, going golfing, etc etc. Their lives are completely separate, but it's not because they hate each other. They love each other, they just don't define themselves by their marriage.

But really, I've decided Japan has given up on the idea of love decades years ago and now forces their citizens into relationships they don't desire just to keep the population growing.

But that's just a theory.


  1. the love connection only happens in the young people world. When you get old, one does not show any affection unless it is behind closed doors!

  2. I finally figured out how to post a comment! yeah for me!

  3. Do they show affection when they first start dating? Or as teenagers or anything? I like the idea of not defining yourself by a relationship/marriage but the only thing that sets apart couples from friends is the whole affection thing!!! Hahah weird.

  4. Well it's not all just Japan the whole passive love thing is like the norm for a "old fashioned" asian marriage, I used to think that my parents hated each other when I was little too :D