Love & Romance in Japan @ RomanceClass

Different cultures have their different ways of showing love and affection. Learn more about love and romance in the Japanese Culture!

Japan is a society of arranged marriages. As recently as the 1970s, up to 40% of all marriages were arranged! Even today, over 10% of marriages continue to be arranged. Busy women and men simply feel they don't have time to "find" a mate, and leave it to someone else.

Christianity and Western Culture has taken over a lot of the more traditional, Shinto religious aspects of dating, courtship and marriage. Many brides wear white Western-style wedding dresses instead of the traditional kimono. Still, some couples aim towards the old style weddings, with a Shinto priest and just a few family and friends. The couple wear kimono and drink sake (rice wine) and are purified for their entrance into marriage.

Because so many marriages were arranged, many love traditions are based on the playful, non-serious love that was expected of all young Japanese. For example, in feudal days men and women were free to have sexual relationships with each other while not married. Their flirtations and poetry are the basis for many stories. Once a match was arranged and sealed, though, a wife's infidelity could be punished with death.

One tradition of the Japanese culture is origami, or paper folding. There is a special origami which creates the loverīs knot. This origami seals the message tightly within, and by writing or making a brushmark on the outside, it can always be told if anyone else tried to read it because the origami could never be folded to exactly match afterwards.

Lover's Knot Instructions

Japanese love is also deeply entwined with Haiku. Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that is 5-7-5 syllables. Tanka is another that is 5-7-5-7-5. Both are used for notes to each other, and for 'morning after' poetry. Here are a few examples. Note that they do not end up with the right syllables when translated into English :)

Will he always love me?
I cannot read his heart.
This morning my thoughts
Are as disordered
As my black hair.
--Lady Horikawa

We were together
Only a little while,
And we believed our love
Would last a thousand years.

Money is an extremely taboo subject in the Japanese culture. In feudal Japan the merchant class was looked down as the lowest of the low because they dealt with money. Often money would be wrapped in fabric before it was exchanged to minimize contact with it. Gifts often impose a burden of return of favor and also need to be considered before being gifen. At weddings, for example, gifts are given before or after the actual day, but never on that day. You give the couple a cash gift at the wedding to fund their honeymoon, but again because of the negative aspect of money it needs to be 'concealed' in an envelope. Traditional wedding gifts are functional ones - kitchen implements, pots and pans, etc.

Kimi o ai shiteru is "I love you" in Japanese

Love Around the Word Master Page

Japanese Love Kanji
Express your love with these gorgeous tote bags, tshirts and other items! The Japanese character for "love" is on a red background.