Short Japanese Culture Questions

This thread is for Japanese culture questions that are too short to create a new topic!

(totally ripped this off Short Grammar Questions where you should post your short grammar questions and The quick or short Language Questions Thread (not grammar) where you can post your general Japanese language questions. :slight_smile: )

I’ve felt for a while now that discussions about Japanese culture could use a space for general inquiries that are not too deep in scope.

Not all questions pertaining to Japan is worthy of a thread of its own, unless you suspect big discussions about it. :eyes: (do use caution in this instance - don’t bring inflamatory questions in here. Make your own thread for debates, onegaishimasu! :bowing_woman: )

To sum it up, this thread is an easy way to post questions about Japanese culture that confuse you and other users might enlighten you about!* ^>^*

Let’s help each other out in our search for knowledge! :high_touch:


(this is now a Wiki, plz add questions and link to the post where they were first asked)

(as the list gets longer, we might wanna create headings. But for now, they’re in the order of appearance in the thread)


My immediate reason for making this thread was watching an anime bringing up the idea about not showing yourself as being involved with someone at work.

Basically, the characters are avoiding being recognized as being romantically involved. And it’s pretty recent from other times I’ve seen this theme (Fune o Amu).

My question:
Is it still taboo to have a romantic partner at the same company you work for in Japan?

Edit: And why are people discouraged from romantic connections?

(meanwhile, my parents were at the same company (which is a bit unusual, but yeah, and worked together until their pension)


Am I missing something or is this essentially a duplicate of this thread?


I’ve done a baddie?! O_O Because, I’ve never really seen any thread active pertaining to cultural themes like this!

Checking thread. no they are not alike at all. That was just @Nemuitanuki having several short questions it seems

I wanna make a general thread for all questions from everyone like the Short Grammar questions thread. ^^


I stumbled across it in one of my “read the top stuff in Latest so I can make Regular status” moments and it ended up watched, so that’s why I knew of it :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: Maybe you missed it because it’s in a different section of the forum than the other two short questions threads?


I missed it, but it’s also not general. See comment above. It might evolve to that, but I wanna make a official place to put those questions in for everyone, not just me when I read manga.


Ah - yeah, seems like I misinterpreted the intent of the thread I linked indeed.



Lol. My feeling also. I think the thread would have gotten big if so and I’d know about it! ^^; But, great for checking! :+1:


Like the initiative of the thread! :+1:

Unfortunately, I don’t work at a company in Japan (yet :stuck_out_tongue: ), but based on the shows I’ve watched so far (Wotakoi comes to mind) and my very poor knowledge of how things are out there I wouldn’t really say it’s taboo per se, but perhaps something people don’t openly talk about, despite knowing well who’s dating whom. There are also company mixers where people are supposed to mingle, right? That being said, I think it might be weird if you and your romantic partner work directly together and have a more formal relationship aside from the personal one. One could consider this a conflict of interest of some sort.

I’m actually more cautious of things like that in companies outside of Japan where things like that are a big no-no.

(things like that - そんなこと, well done grammar. I’m forgetting how to English. :man_facepalming: )


So, like an open secret kind of social framework. There historical precedent for that for sure, also in Europe. But I still find it strange - when even heterosexual relationships are alienated like this. :sweat: Just why??

(I guess it explains the birth rate in Japan, but I still don’t get the social climate around the issue…) …what is the purpose of keeping people apart?

Edit: I’d love to hear any work-climate discussions if you do work in Japan and can enlighten us - if just a bit? :slight_smile:


Is it maybe related to the general aversion to public displays of affection of any kind? Considering those are generally frowned upon from what I understand even in casual settings, it’s a fairly logical consequence that they’d be even more frowned upon in a workplace setting, and in the spirit of professionalism you’d be expected to not show your closeness.

Which doesn’t make it more sensible in my opinion, but it feels somewhat logical considering what I’ve picked up on in terms of Japanese societal norms.


They are indeed portrayed like that in all media I’ve encountered (unless intentionally breaking realism). :thinking:


I guess the answer is cultural. Japanese. Like, how to ask for a date. How to write love-letters :grimacing: if you’re serious etc. But is it all just stuff anime feeds us vs what is really going on in Japan when you are in LOVE! :sparkling_heart: :smirk_cat:

I forget that I should try to make this thread serious like it’s 2 cousin-threads. ^^;


There was a YouTuber who tried hugging Japanese people in public and she was very European about it:

That’s from the times long gone when touching people in public was still a thing.

EDIT: Okay, I just realized this is specifically about approaching foreigners hmmm :thinking:


I learnt a new word for sure: ドン引き - どんびき- being put off (by someone’s words, behaviour, etc.); being taken aback; recoiling (in shock, disgust, etc.); being left speechless​

~basically a reaction to being kissed out of the blue.
I would as well sure about this one…


I don’t know about Japan, but there are other possible explanations for keeping something like that to yourself. Here, dating within your work group isn’t so much taboo, as, a well-known terrible idea and people might be embarrased for people to find out they did a dumb thing.

Also here, while being romantically involved with a co-worker is not discipline-level prohibited, it is, again, a terrible idea and one of the two WILL be moved to AVOID a conflict of interest. Not fired, just put in as unrelated a position as possible. And sometimes people try to keep it on the down-low because neither wants to be moved.


I’m just gonna cut off your next argument, because falling in love with people you work with is only natural if you do so for a long time

(not that was the case for my parents that me at university, not work, but still ended up at the same place), but basically, there IS romance in the workplace and it’s only about how you handle that I feel. :thinking:


Interesting, it’s a bit different in companies I’ve worked for (in the Netherlands) - it’s usually been technically prohibited (as in, listed in either contracts or the employee handbook as being prohibited), but never really enforced, it’s just a clause put in so action can be taken if a romantic involvement leads to issues.

In one particular workplace it was in the contract but there were quite a few couples who were very open about it - two of them were even having a child together :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: So much for “prohibited”


That’s only relevant for certain jobs and especially boss-employee relationships. not the rest so it’s bs to be honest, sounds more true to corrupt countries around the world…:eyes:

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I don’t know about Japan, but what I can say is that I’ve always had the impression, growing up in Asia and watching East Asian dramas (mainly dramas from Korea and Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China) that it tends to be something you don’t let the other people at work find out about, at least not until, perhaps, the relationship is really steady (and maybe you’re about to be engaged/get married). Perhaps conflicts of interest are the issue? I mean, it’s a TV drama staple for gossip to involve the beloved of someone high up in the hierarchy being promoted rapidly because of favouritism. That aside, perhaps some people feel it might cause jealousy or disrupt the ambience at work (e.g. team spirit vs private interests)?

However, I believe a survey showed that most Japanese people meet their romantic partners at work or in university, so perhaps it’s not so much taboo as it is something that’s often kept private, which should therefore not be brought into the professional sphere.