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Can you hug in public in Japan?

1. Introduction

Hugging is a common form of physical affection expressed between two people, usually as a sign of love or friendship. In some cultures, hugging is considered an acceptable form of public display of affection (PDA). But what about Japan? Can you hug in public in Japan?

To answer this question, it’s important to understand the cultural norms and expectations in Japan. In this article, we will explore the accepted level of PDA in Japan, the impact of Japanese culture on hugging in public, how Japanese people feel about hugging in public, and whether it’s appropriate to ask someone if they would like a hug.

Japanese Snack Box

2. Cultural Norms and Expectations in Japan

Japanese culture places a strong emphasis on politeness and respect for others. This means that physical contact between strangers is generally frowned upon and considered inappropriate. Public displays of affection are also seen as rude and intrusive by many Japanese people. As such, most forms of PDA are not socially accepted or encouraged.

In addition to this cultural norm, there are also legal restrictions on PDA in certain areas of Japan. For example, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has declared that any “unreasonable” PDA is prohibited in parks and other public spaces within its jurisdiction.

3. What is the Accepted Level of Public Display of Affection?

The accepted level of PDA varies from person to person and from situation to situation. Generally speaking, hand-holding or linking arms with your partner is considered acceptable among couples who know each other well enough to do so without causing offense or embarrassment to anyone else around them. However, anything more than this (such as kissing or hugging) is usually seen as too intimate for most contexts outside the home or private settings such as restaurants or hotels with private rooms available for rent.

4. The Impact of Japanese Culture on Hugging in Public

The impact of traditional Japanese culture on hugging in public can be seen throughout society today. For example, even when couples who are married or dating go out together they rarely show any signs of physical affection towards one another while out in public spaces such as parks or shopping malls – even if no one else is around them at the time! This demonstrates how strongly ingrained the idea that physical contact should be kept private is within Japanese society today – even among those who are close enough to each other that they could otherwise be comfortable showing some sort of affection towards each other while out in public spaces together!

5 How Do Japanese People Feel About Hugging in Public?

Most Japanese people feel uncomfortable when seeing two strangers engaging in any kind of physical contact – especially if it’s something more intimate than hand-holding or linking arms – such as hugging! They may view it as disrespectful towards others who may be present at the time (even if those others aren’t paying attention) and may even consider it inappropriate behavior which should only take place behind closed doors! This discomfort can often lead to awkwardness which can then manifest itself into negative reactions from those around you if you do decide to hug someone publicly!

6 Is it Appropriate to Ask Someone if They Would Like a Hug?

In general, it’s best not to ask someone if they would like a hug unless you already know them well enough that you know they wouldn’t mind being hugged by you (and would actually welcome it). Even then though, it’s best practice not to ask but rather just go ahead with whatever level of physical contact you both feel comfortable with without having asked permission first! Asking permission first can come across as awkward or overly presumptuous depending on the situation so unless you have an established relationship with someone where hugging has been previously discussed (or demonstrated) then it’s best not to risk asking permission first before initiating any kind of physical contact!

7 Are There Any Exceptions To The Rule?

Yes – there are some exceptions where hugs are generally accepted within Japanese culture despite being done publicly! These include: between family members (especially parents & children), between close friends (especially male friends), during special occasions such as weddings/birthdays/graduations etc.,and between members/employees/students at certain businesses/schools/organizations etc.. It’s important however to remember that these exceptions still require caution – even though hugs may be permitted amongst these groups – depending on context & situation – so always err on the side caution when considering whether or not a hug might be appropriate for a particular situation!

8 Conclusion: Can You Hug In Public In Japan?

In conclusion, while there are some exceptions where hugs may be accepted within certain contexts & situations – generally speaking – hugs should only take place behind closed doors & away from prying eyes due to cultural norms & expectations within Japan which frown upon any kind of physical contact between strangers which could potentially cause offense or embarrassment for anyone present at the time! Therefore – although there may be times when hugging someone publicly might seem like an appropriate thing to do – caution should always be taken before doing so just incase your actions could potentially offend those around you who might not appreciate such behavior taking place right under their noses!

9 References & Further Reading


Tokoyama C., “Can You Hug In Public In Japan?” Japan Insiders [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 04 June 2021]

Is hugging ok in Japan?

Never hug or kiss In Japan touching another persons body is considered rude even with friends or family. Hugs and kisses are mostly for couples.

Is public affection allowed in Japan?

The arms are thin. In small towns if you walk around with one arm around your partner youre looked down upon. Avoid sitting on public benches in front of booths or restaurants. Also dont look affectionately into the eyes of those around you.

What is considered disrespectful in Japan?

Pointing at people or things is considered rude in Japan. Instead of pointing at something with their fingers Japanese people use their hands to gently move what they want to point to. People touch their nose with their index finger instead of pointing at themselves when they talk about themselves.

Is skinship normal in Japan?

Its no secret that Japanese culture is far from accommodating to people with a sense of touch. The concept of physical contact is known to most but few practice it. Its absence can hurt foreigners who come from cultures where physical contact is common every day.

What is not accepted in Japan?

Opium Cocaine Heroin MDMA Narcotics such as stimulant magic mushrooms (inhalants containing stimulants or stimulants) opium cannabis smoking machines and psychotropic drugs are not allowed in Japan.

Can you flirt in Japan?

Japanese people are very shy so when they become couples they flirt intelligently in public. For example you may see many couples walking hand in hand but not kissing much. Most Japanese are shy to even give a light kiss on the cheek in public.

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