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Usually 2006/3/17 04:44
While in Japan my fiancee won't hold hands or kiss me in public only if she is someplace that she thinks she might be seen by someone she knows, ie. near her home. Otherwise she is very affectionate in public and is always looking for my hand to hold. As an American it took a little while to get used to it but since she loves me and I her it has become a non-issue for me. Enjoy your relationship and the cultural idiosyncrasies you both have.
by Erik rate this post as useful

Well... 2006/3/17 06:42
In Tokyo it seems that it can be part generational. My then bf and I would always hold hands and no one cared! He also held my back on escalator to make sure I did not fall! One time he was swept up in the moment and kissed me in Hibiya park at noon when a lot of businessmen were on lunch break there! I told him no with a smile and giggle so he knew I liked it but also acknowledged it was not an appropriate time or place! Later at home when I asked about it he said he could not resist! And he is very traditional man and 30 years old.
The businessmen really only smiled a little (almost like they could understand our feelings!). Most older couples do not touch but one couple on a train, the man was touching all over his wife and kissing her neck! It was quite cute to see he loved her so much but it was also weird to see. That couple was at least 65 years old! I just asked my fiance about the hand holding and he says that hand holding among couples is ok. Nobody cares as long as no blatant display of affection like deep kissing. I also note that same sex people hold hands quite a bit so even friends hold hands, not just lovers.
by Umi rate this post as useful

Update 2006/4/16 09:32
I'm back from Japan, here how it went with the holding hands thing...
She met me at the airport and gave me a small hug and a quick kiss on the cheek, I was surprised.
The first few days she did not touch me, but by the 4th day, she started to hold my hand for brief moments, by my last day with her, she was holding my hand everywhere, all the time, we even stood at the train stations (waiting for our train) with our arms around each other. At the airport, big long hug and and even longer kiss!
So much for the Japanese PDA custom.
by Surfbeat rate this post as useful

.. 2006/4/16 10:04
Honestly speaking I think its a generational issue. I often see couples holding hands at all times of days, walking across busy intersections, in train stations, walking down the street.

I guess it just depends on how one is confortable with someone.
by .. rate this post as useful

... 2006/4/17 11:40
I think its a generational issue

I also think it is generational and geographical. It is nothing unusual, at all, to see young couples holding hands in dating spots of Tokyo, such as Odaiba. But is unusual to see older couples holding hands or seeing anybody holding hands outside the dating spots and bigger cities.
by Uji rate this post as useful

One more question? 2008/10/13 11:15
Sorry to drudge this one up again. But, would most Japanese people associate holding hands with a romantic relationship, or would they consider it normal for even a platonic relationship?
by T.I.P rate this post as useful

Holding hands 2008/10/13 15:43

But, would most Japanese people associate holding hands with a romantic relationship, or would they consider it normal for even a platonic relationship?

If you are talking about a male/female couple, then yes, I think 99.9% of Japanese would assume it was a romantic relationship. Do you often hold hands with members of the opposite sex with whom you don't have romantic feelings? (Of course I'm not talking about family members, children, or the infirm.)
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

. 2008/10/14 01:32
Thanks for the reply!! That is true. Perhaps I should have been more clear. I've been doing stuff with this Japanese girl here in America. She asked me to teach her Japanese, and we've gone on from there. I wasn't entirely sure if maybe she thought that friends could hold hands too, or if she felt that it meant a little more than just being friends. I know personally that I don't hold my friends hands at all. Guy or girl...

I really like her, but don't really want to ruin our relationship. If that makes sense. But, since you seem to think that most Japanese would have the same idea about holding hands as I think that most Americans would, I think I can be fairly certain she is interested in me in the same way. No?
by T.I.P rate this post as useful

same as the US 2008/10/14 07:15
If she is holding your hand, then she most likely thinks you are already well into a romantic relationship.
by Sira rate this post as useful

huh? 2008/10/14 10:25
Dave and Sira, thanks again for your replies. But, I've there's a little wrench here. We were talking tonight and we were talking about holding hands. She asked me if it was normal for friends to hold hands.. I told her if you're just friends not really, and she started giggling about it. I asked why, but she wouldn't say.

Did I just find the .1% of Japanese people that don't think holding hands is a romantic gesture? Or, does anyone see another side to this?
by T.I.P rate this post as useful

the big issue 2009/2/16 06:28
In my experience holding hands was more a personal issue than generational since my boyfriend was around his twenties. He wouldn't hold my hand in public or let me take his. I wanted to respect his feelings and wish, and did it too, but seeing other Japanese couples holding their hands in the public sometimes made me feel very sad and lonely. Even on those cheesy dating spots he'd rather keep his hand to himself. I guess the only time we'd really be close to eachother was when we were at his home and it felt like we were there only to get on to the business.

Like some have already said, reading about similar experiences here are quite relieving. For a long time i felt bad to even think to ask him to take my hand in public. Nowadays it doesn't really matter anymore cause i'm no longer with him. I guess that the cultural difference can be overcome if the relationship's healthy other ways although nobody shouldn't settle for anything less than they need or want. I needed nearness but couldn't have it. Holding hands..who'd have thought it makes so much difference?
by Aegis (guest) rate this post as useful

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