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Japanese government proposes manga-inspired courtship; Suzu Yamanouchi praised for critique

21 Comments
By grape Japan

The "Research Document on Love" sparked a debate online when it was published by the Japanese Cabinet Office in April.

The document, part of a presentation given at a meeting of a study group on marriage and family, suggested that education be provided to support people who are shy about romance, including strategies for professing one's love.

One of the strategies included in the document was 壁ドン kabedon. A situation most famously depicted in shojo manga (girls' manga) but also occasionally in other manga and anime, as well as TV dramas and films based on them, it involves one character, traditionally male, unexpectedly placing their hand on the wall (壁 kabe) next to another character, traditionally female, in an attempt to express their romantic interest (top photo). In the most forceful version, the hand hitting the wall literally makes a slamming (ドン don) sound, thus the name kabedon.

The Cabinet Office's document was met with much criticism online, eliciting comments such as: "I thought it was a belated April Fool's joke," and "What were they thinking?"

Suzu Yamanouchi's critique earns online praise

On the May 7 broadcast of the informational TV program 『今田耕司のネタバレMTG』Imada Kōji no netabare MTG (Yomiuri TV), the Cabinet Office's "Research Document on Love" was one of the topics for discussion.

TV personality, fashion model and actress 山之内すず Suzu Yamanouchi, who appeared as a commentator on the show, voiced her opinion on the document, specifically with regards to the suggestion that kabedon be included in education efforts spearheaded by the Japanese government: "Things like kabedon only show up in shojo manga, and it's the fact that handsome actors do it in film adaptations that makes viewers' hearts race. If someone you don't even like tries to do a kabedon on you in real life, the only thing you'll feel is scared." (Suzu Yamaonuchi on 『今田耕司のネタバレMTG』Imada Koji no netabare MTG (Yomiuri TV), April 7, 2022).

Yamanouchi strongly reminded the audience that kabedon is fiction.

She followed up by voicing her concern that "more and more people will make the mistake of thinking that people enjoy being on the receiving end of a kabedon."

When there's a difference in power between two people, even if it's someone you like, kabedon can easily turn into a scary situation.

Others praised Yamanouchi for her opinion, leaving comments such as:

"She really said it! I think a lot of people would be scared...."

"I like the fact that, even though she's still young, she expresses her opinion clearly. She's right on target."

"I agree with everything she said. The government is really off base with this 'romance support proposal.'"

The declining birthrate and aging population are serious social problems in modern Japan. The number of people getting married and having and raising children is also decreasing.

However, is "romance support" really the best course of action for the government to address these problems?

The reaction online would seem to indicate that the government may wish to think more carefully about this going forward.

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© grape Japan

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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However, is "romance support" really the best course of action for the government to address these problems?

Picture, if you can, the young couple (pictured above) standing in the school hallway, when suddenly interrupted by a frantic looking older person, in uniform, insisting, 'your'e not doing it right! Step aside, and I'll demonstrate to you the proper, recommended method!'

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How many government officials are in a loveless marriage

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Too, too many…

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The answer is simple - people in Japan don’t have time to date because of work commitments. If people didn’t have to work overtime abs on weekends they’d have more time to date and spend time hitting walls next to their crushes heads.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan's marriage/birth rate problem will never be solved until they tackle their overtime/death from overwork problem. When people have free time to mingle, relax, chat, and date then they fall in love and the rest falls into place naturally. There are very very few countries with the work/life balance problem that Japan has. No "Research Document on Love" will help.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Only in Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If someone you don't even like tries to do a kabedon on you in real life, the only thing you'll feel is scared." (Suzu Yamaonuchi)

Exactly.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

kabedon is disgusting! It is a very aggressive invasion of ones private space! There is nothing romantic about it. Anyone who starts a relationship after being impressed by a kabedon, is likely to end-up a victim of Domestic violence. If I was a woman and a man did this to me, I would kick him in the family jewels.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If I was a woman and a man did this to me, I would kick him in the family jewels.

The last time a guy tried this on me, he also tried to forcibly kiss me. It took a lot of strength to push him away. That was when I was much younger and less confident. Nowadays I'd just kick without a second thought.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@ girl_in_tokyo:

I was honored to have received aikido instruction from a knowledgable sensei, who had apprenticed as a young man to Ōsensei Master Ueshiba. Even though it was a short time and only a mere introduction to the essence of the ways of ki, I've never regretted the physical and mindful teachings, and would highly recommend it to almost anyone seeking more confidence and mindful resources for the body.

Perhaps an introduction course of instruction, if time permits? More information? https://aikidojournal.com/2018/09/25/why-aikido-is-great-for-women/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let's increase the population by slamming our hands on walls.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Girl,you go girl

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is government sponsored sexual harassment

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A followup to my earlier post. I found the following around Tokyo for anyone wishing to know more about Aikido as a means of defense. This is a suggestion, and should not be considered an endorsement; your own search engine results should be able to locate an Aikido dojo (school) or an interest group in your own area .

http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/information/index.html

https://aikidoryu.or.jp/en/

Thank you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A followup to my earlier post. I found the following around Tokyo for anyone wishing to know more about Aikido as a means of defense.

I'm skeptical about Aikido as a means of defense. Why has there never been a single Aikido specialist in MMA? Literally I don't ever remember a single one, and I have been watching for over 15 years.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ Strangerland.

With respect, you really shouldn't. In Aikido, it is about a person's harmony that aims to resolve conflict and redirect aggression against attack; "there are no fights and no competitions in Aikido.  Rather, students work together in pairs or groups, helping each other to learn and improve.  Students set their own goals and the pace for their own training."

Aikido can be translated as the “Way of Harmonious Spirit”. It is a relatively new martial art created by Morihei Ueshiba and based on ancient Japanese fighting techniques. Although a dynamic and very effective form of self-defense, taught to the Tokyo Riot Police, Aikido strives for non-aggression and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

https://aikidoryu.or.jp/en/for-beginners/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

That’s the problem here, it is considered right from the start as an offense, violation of private space, a prerequisite to later DV, reason to kick jewels, use kickboxing and so on. No one has the romantic feelings anymore and has only one sided bad thoughts all the time. By that reaction, the other fifty percent who maybe really like that person and in return the girls (or boys, why shouldn’t equally try girls an erotic kabedon too?) who would like to be considered worth of such advances, in other words any of the potential couples, they have no real chance, because it is already considered as bad by public opinion and will therefore only remain a phantasy in mangas, at least in the very most cases.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Given that governments fail at the simple stuff, they really need to avoid more complicated stuff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Skeptical May 14 01:24 pm JST

@ girl_in_tokyo:

I was honored to have received aikido instruction from a knowledgable sensei, who had apprenticed as a young man to Ōsensei Master Ueshiba. Even though it was a short time and only a mere introduction to the essence of the ways of ki, I've never regretted the physical and mindful teachings, and would highly recommend it to almost anyone seeking more confidence and mindful resources for the body.

Perhaps an introduction course of instruction, if time permits? More information? https://aikidojournal.com/2018/09/25/why-aikido-is-great-for-women/

Kabedon is a manifestation of mens' (i.e., the men who do it) insecurity around women and their need to dominate so as to feel manly. Beating the guy up might sound like a solution, and I would absolutely encourage women to defend themselves, but what we really need to do is address the root of the issue. We need to ask why these men can't relate to women, feel they must dominate them, and teach boys respect for women from a young age.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sven Asai Today 12:59 am JST

That’s the problem here, it is considered right from the start as an offense, violation of private space, a prerequisite to later DV, reason to kick jewels, use kickboxing and so on. No one has the romantic feelings anymore and has only one sided bad thoughts all the time. By that reaction, the other fifty percent who maybe really like that person and in return the girls (or boys, why shouldn’t equally try girls an erotic kabedon too?) who would like to be considered worth of such advances, in other words any of the potential couples, they have no real chance, because it is already considered as bad by public opinion and will therefore only remain a phantasy in mangas, at least in the very most cases.

Dear heart, "erotic kabedon" already has a name: BDSM.

And BDSM requires a long drawn out process of discussing limits, desires, safe words, and, above all, seeking consent for each individual action preformed. Most importantly, one does not just walk up to someone they are interested in and act on the assumption that person is a willing bottom - male OR female.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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