You’ve heard of the kabe-don “wall-pound”, but what are some less palatable romantic tropes you’ll encounter in Japanese media like manga and anime?

In Japan, some people think that Americans kiss each other on the mouth as a friendly hello. This misinterpretation of interpersonal relations probably stems from exposure to Western movies, but the reality is very different. In a similar way, while the romantic wall-pound (Kabe-don) is now a staple of Japanese media, you’re not so likely to see it happen in real life, and we advise against randomly pounding walls to impress potential love-interests when you come to Japan.

But what are some other things that Japanese characters in media like anime and manga do to express affection and romantic intent that you don’t normally see in Western media? Well, we’ve put together a little list of some of the common romantic tropes that pop up in Japanese anime, manga and TV with regularity, and it’s got us wondering whether any of it would actually work in real life, because some of this stuff is kinda gross!

1. Kansetsu Kiss

間接キス(Kansetsu Kisu) translated directly as “indirect kiss” is probably the most common yucky on our list. It involves an indirect “contact” between two people’s mouths, most often as a result of drinking from the same cup or bottle. In the West, this would probably be described as “drinking someone’s backwash” which is also quite disgusting when you think about it. Anime fans will definitely have seen this one, but it’s also so ingrained in Japanese society that you’ll also see it in regular TV dramas as well as ads for bottled soft drinks.

“‘Practicing for school sports, but no drink! …Well, you’ll just have to share mine!’ ‘Oh, but…’ ‘Don’t say no! You need to stay hydrated or you’ll collapse!’ ‘Oh… but if I do that…’ …It’s a Kansetsu Kiss! *sweats*”

2. Let Me Get That For You

Another cute little “romantic” moment that often pops up while two characters are eating together (usually school bentos feature heavily) is where one character picks a grain of rice off the other character’s cheek. This combines adorable-ness (when character A can’t even eat like an adult without getting food on their face, how cute!) with “skinship” (when character B touches character A’s face in a delicate manner) with the cherry on top of the entire scene, which occures when character B then EATS said grain of face-rice! As with Kansetsu Kiss, it’s the intimacy implied between characters, combined with, again, close proximity to saliva that makes this one such a hit. It can also happen with other foodstuffs too, like ice cream, but rice seems to be the favourite.

3. Mouth to Mouth

Here’s where things get really serious – the passing of liquids or foodstuffs from mouth to mouth. You’re likely to see this one described in visual novels, but it also pops up in film, like this scene in the 2012 live-action Moteki movie where actress Masami Nagasawa spits water into her co-star’s mouth.

▼ “The water passing scene in Moteki is toooo erotic lol!”

It’s also immortalized to an even more explicit degree in the classic 1985 movie Tampopo, which involves a lengthy “love scene” where two lovers pass a raw egg back and forth between each other’s mouths. If you can get through the egg-passing scene (YouTube it, because it’s NSFW!) without swearing off eggs forever, we salute you.

4. I Vant to Suck Your Blood

And here’s another one that will have you dry-heaving (unless you’re into vampire stuff.) And it’s pretty straightforward – one character clumsily cuts themselves (usually a finger), only for the second romantic character to, um, suck up the blood. What is it with the body fluids?  Again, the romantic angle here is the implied intimacy of the act – you’ve got to really like someone to be willing to slurp up some of their salty, metallic-tasting blood – together with the display of concern shown for another character’s well-being.

5. Let Me Snack on Your Hands

And finally, here’s a popular one in Boys’ Love manga, involving… hand snacking! During love scenes, you’re likely to see the more dominant partner stick their fingers onto, or into the mouth of their beloved. But you’ll also see this in straight visual novels and manga as well, where it’s the girl either biting the guy’s finger or him sticking his thumb in her mouth. Or even the other way round. Just think of the bacteria! Let’s hope there’s some hand sanitiser handy!

So, that’s five kinds of icky (or possibly adorable?!) romantic tropes in Japanese media. What do you think of the list? Do you find them gross or cute? And have we missed any you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!

Also check out: Ten Anime Scenes that Puzzle Non-Japanese Fans

Featured Image: Twitter/Kir1gayaKazut0