If there’s one thing the Japanese like doing, it’s commemorating special events on their calendars. Like the way February 9 is “Meat Day” because 2/9 can be read as niku (meaning meat), or March 12’s official designation as Dagashi Day, because this is the anniversary of the death of Tajima Mamori, known as the originator of traditional sweets back in the 8th century A.D. (His bones were interred in a Shinto shrine as a kami, making him the official God of Dagashi.) Today (May 23) is known as kisu no hi or “kiss day,” because this is the day the first film featuring a kiss scene was shown in Japan, back in 1946.
Related to the topic of kissing is the more general subject of what the Japanese consider “romantic,” some of which might seem odd to you or me. According to the staff of J-List, things like a girl riding on the back of her boyfriend’s bicycle, a couple walking under an umbrella in the rain together or going to a famires (family restaurant) and sitting side-by-side in a booth rather than across from each other, are all very romantic. One common way for a wife to address her husband is with the slightly formal-sounding anata, which just means “you,” and the thought of being addressed this way always makes me tingly inside…though Mrs. J-List refuses to call me this because it’s “too romantic.” Japanese men have a reputation for never expressing love to their wives and girlfriends, but this might be a wise strategy: J-List’s artbook buyer Yasu says he only tells his wife he loves her once every three years or so, “because then when I say it, it really has an impact on her.” Perhaps the most romantic image from Japan is the idea of 心中 shinju, or ritual lovers’ suicide. This is a common story element from Kabuki plays from the Edo period and also shows up in anime such as the excellent Your Lie in April. In the original Macross series, Minmei suggests to Hikaru that they should commit suicide together rather than starve to death while trapped inside the SDF-1, a line which was removed from the English adaption (Robotech).
Remember, J-List is having a huge 15% flash sale on all in-stock anime figures, plush toys, keychains and other toy items, from now through next Thursday. Only in stock items, no preorders or backordered items. Browse and buy now!