Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Is this normal for Japanese teenagers? 2006/6/22 16:59
I have often heard stories that, though much more behaved, Japanese teenagers are less mature then American teenagers (Boys hold hands, sit on each others lap...etc.) I was wondering if this is true. I once read the book Beyond Sushi by Ken (last name forgotten) and he said that he would often see boys hold hands and such. Also, are boys (girls too) not to discreet on what they say? Like pronouncing to the world their name is "Sex" or something (especially to gaijin female teenagers). Is this true? Or are too many stories being passd around?

Thank you.

Holding hands? 2006/6/22 18:19

I can't recall ever having seen male teenagers holding hands in Japan. It is not that uncommon to see schoolgirls holding hands, but not males. Men holding hands is not uncommon in some countries, but Japan is not one of them.
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

Mature 2006/6/22 18:26
Note that differences in culture don't necessarily have an impact on the maturity of the people. You might see thing that are different, things you would never imagine seeing in your country, but that is not a matter of being more or less mature, it is just a difference.
by Kappa rate this post as useful

teens 2006/6/23 06:49
Ive never seen guys holding hands but I have seen two guys kiss each other they were drunk young salarymen. I have also seen an older drunk acting salaryman grab his fellow older drunk acting salaryman's ass as they were walking along on a train platform.

If teenage boys are holdin each others hands or saying silly things like their first name is sex then it is my opinion that they are just being silly.

One more thing to keep in mind is that in the US for teens there is the idea of wanting to become an adult quickly and be able to do all the things adults do like drive, legally drink, ahvea boyfriend or girlfriend, have a job, and so on all before they are out of highschool. In Japan highschool is a pressure filled time focused on trying to pass the university entrance exams. Students therefor have to study so much, often going to juku or cram schools in the evenings, so they dont have time for dating, jobs or that kind of thing. Also The minimum age for driving here is 20. Also being more child like for as long as possible is still a fairly common way of thinking here, and so you will have 18 year old girls hand in their assingments on winnie the pooh stationery. Also a very common word is kawaii meaning cute and is a prized characteristic for someone or soemthign to have.

Anyway thats long enough but you get the idea I hope.
by zztop rate this post as useful

Nothing wrong with that 2008/1/27 17:03
Japanese teenagers are too intimate with each other. It's not unusual, even men in their twenties act like that. I have no idea why that is, but I'm guessing it has something to do with Japanese teen girls' beliefs. They dress to be noticed, same with the boys. Maybe they see sowing their appreciation for someone as a way to ease themselves from stress. Japan is way too crowded, and most of the youth are depressed from lack of attention. It's perfectly normal. Japanese people don't easily get the wrong idea unlike in other parts of the world. They don't see this as anything harmful. They're just too intimate for Westerners. Or it could just be part of their customs too, but I haven't the slightest idea.
by Kai rate this post as useful

... 2008/1/27 18:03
I remember an exchange student posting on this Forum saying he was surprised to see male Japanese schoolmates sitting on each others laps in the classroom during recess etc., and I remember responding that Japanese teenagers are quite bubbly then you'd think.

Actually, I find that a lot of teenagers around me here in Japan still like to fool around affectionately (how do you say "jareru"?). Just like little children, some teenage boys would touch others casually while male Japanese adults would never do that (unless they're drunk).

But it's not that holding hands are the norm. It's just that the "way" they fool around is by touching, and it's not that they fool around all the time and it's hardly ever that they fool around in public.

Also, it's not that the majority are childish. It's just that more kids than _you'd expect_ behave like little children, and I've never compared the percentage to foreign teenagers so I don't know if this is unique to Japan or not.

On a related note, I noticed that it's the norm for girls in Vietnam to hold hands with each other, and this has nothing to do with their maturity. It's just the way people behave, just like French men hug their friends instead of bowing as we would in Japan.

I'm not sure what you mean by saying "their name is Sex". But the Japanese are less familiar with foreign people, so often they tend to behave foolishly toward them. In places where you see foreign people all the time, you either ignore them or treat them like one of the locals. But in places where all you see are locals, foreign people tend to be treated as someone very distant, and you see responses that are quite outrageous. Similar things can be seen in other countries where foreign people are rare.
by Uco, mom of a J teenage boy rate this post as useful

Normal 2008/1/27 19:36
have you ever watched US professional sports like baseball and football? the players always hug and slap one another after a good score etc. soccer, volleyball players etc. do it too. Yet US/North Americans males, both students and adults, even within their family, seldom hug and kiss. I grew up in Western Europe and it was/is normal for guys of all ages to hug and touch, even kiss one another on the cheeks. I am talking about between friends and relatives of course, not with total strangers, thought this is done too, for example to celebrate a joyful event or to show support in a tragic one. I don't find the Japanese teens to be unusual at all in that aspect. I have read many times that many people, and not just elderly ones who live alone, would be in much better physical and emotional health if they were hugged on a regular basis.
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

. 2008/1/28 10:19
I have read many times that many people, and not just elderly ones who live alone, would be in much better physical and emotional health if they were hugged on a regular basis.

They should go to Shibuya station then. I often see a bunch of people standing there and holding 'Free Hugs' signs... never hugged them though, although some of the girls ver quite cute. ;)
by Haf rate this post as useful

Innocence is complicated 2009/6/17 02:40
Well japanese teens are more immature in the sense that they don't get much love and support from their family, since in their culture it's normal to be distant. So they need to look for this in other places, like school. This can lead to a stunt in their growth because some kids make bad choices when it comes to who to depend on, and who to go to for support. In my experience, japanese teenagers would seem immature, since they're more into popularity and boyfriends/girlfriends (i have both japanese and american/chinese/korean/filipino/etc. friends, and we are all teenagers), but they're actually exposed to many gruesome things. Some have seen their fathers beat their mothers, and this would be considered fairly average in their culture. Perhaps they just feel like they need to act like that because it's the only way they know how. When there are so many roadblocks in their growth, and when so much is hard in their lives, with very little dependable and genuine support from their family, it's hard to grow.
by Rache (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/6/17 03:04
I don't know about the men, but I believe the culture makes the girls more immature. Where else will you see a 30 year old woman with a "Hello Kitty" purse or dressed in a cat suit pretending to be a cat? Also, "kawaii"(cute) is important even when they are adults.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/6/17 04:19
I agree with Kappa. I have seen both mature and imature tennagers in Japan and the USA. It boiles down to the fact that each person and each culture is different.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/6/17 07:51
Well japanese teens are more immature in the sense that they don't get much love and support from their family, since in their culture it's normal to be distant. So they need to look for this in other places, like school.

Very interesting. This is the first time I've read something like this in my 40 odd years of being Japanese, and 17 years of being a Japanese parent in Japan. And rumor has it that it's so much the contrary.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

To Rache 2009/6/17 08:15
"Well japanese teens are more immature in the sense that they don't get much love and support from their family, since in their culture it's normal to be distant."

Rache, can I ask what you are basing this claim on? How much time have you spent in Japan and how many Japanese families have you spent time with to come to this conclusion? It is actually quite wrong, and potentially very offensive to people like Uco san, who is a Japanese mother.

Of course there are families here that are not so close, as there are in every country, but it is certainly not the norm.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Japanese parents are people 2009/6/17 08:59
I have hosted High School Students for many years from Japan for a 1 year home stay. I have met the parents and seen them interact with their teenagers. I am sure there are parents who don't love their children. I haven't met any yet. The parents I met cared deeply about their children and gave them a lot of attention. The children seemed to respect their parents and care for them. Did the teenagers ever do stupid things that teenagers do? Of course, these are people not robots. I stayed with these students when I visited Japan and the interaction between parent and child (young adult) was generally positive. So my limited experience is much different than yours.
by scubajim rate this post as useful

reply to this thread