As hugely popular instant messaging app LINE supplants most other forms of communication in Japan, a poll asks young Japanese people: Is it okay to break up with someone by IM?

Due to the popularity of Facebook, which pretty much holds a monopoly on any and all forms of digital communication in much of the west, LINE hasn’t made much of a splash in the U.S. and other western countries. In much of Asia, though, the program, supposedly born of a necessity to facilitate communication between relatives and loved ones during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, is the primary method for communicating via text, voice, and adorable panda stamps.

The chat and free calling app is especially popular and widely used in Japan, where the average person will shoot off dozens and dozens of LINE messages a day to communicate both the trivial and the deadly important. People use the app to contact coworkers, parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends and kids. LINE has become such a necessary part of daily life in Japan that the app has spawned its own rules of etiquette and decorum, but some of those rules of etiquette are still being hashed out. For example: Is it okay to break up with someone with a LINE message?

Polling company Fast Ask set out to answer that very question in a recent survey of Japanese 20 and 30-somethings. Here’s what they found:

Overall, the majority of those polled said it’s A-OK to break up via LINE message, at 60.3 percent expressing that sentiment, while 39.7 percent disagreed.

20-somethings in particular, perhaps more tech-savvy and more used to digital communication being the norm, were the most okay with such a breakup method, with 68.3 percent fine with a LINE message breakup.

Those in their 30s were split almost fifty-fifty, with 55.6 percent surveyed saying a LINE-based breakup discussion is acceptable.


Fast Ask also requested some of those polled to get into specific reasoning for their response. Many of those who said a LINE breakup is acceptable cited pragmatic and logistical reasons, such as:

“It’s easier to talk more calmly via LINE than in person.”
“The person you’re breaking up with might do something crazy if you do it face-to-face.”

“It’s perfect if you don’t want to meet your former partner in person anymore.”

“Depending on the situation, talking in person might just further complicate things.”

On the other hand, those who disagreed with the LINE message breakup method cited more emotional reasons:

“Breaking up via text message lacks empathy.”

“Handling it in such a business-like fashion might cause the other person emotional trauma.”

“It’s rude.”

“Breaking up in person is the least you can do.”

Further, some of those surveyed who had actually experienced a LINE breakup gave their reasons:

“It was a long distance relationship, so a LINE breakup made the most sense.”

“I was scared he’d get really mad.”

“I didn’t want to see her in person.”

“I thought it would allow us to breakup without a lot of drama.”

“I was so pissed at the guy I couldn’t bear to look at his face, so I broke up with him through LINE.”

LINE, like pretty much all communication technology before it, is, as you can see, proving divisive in the interactions it facilitates. There are both pragmatic and emotional arguments to be made for both camps in the LINE breakup debate. Suffice to say, LINE’s abundance of adorable stamps might at least help to sooth your partner’s heartache in the event you find yourself on the giving end of a text message breakup.

Source: R25
Images: LINE (edited by RocketNews24)