Japanese women categorize male friends by levels of intimacy, from hugging to bathing

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Over the years, women in Japan have used a lot of terms to categorize their male friends. Back in the ’90s, for example, if a woman wanted to go on a driving date, she’d contact her asshii-kun, so called because he’d have the “automative” to help her get around, and for those times when she wanted to go out for a meal, she’d call up her messhi-kun (“meal guy”) to wine and dine her.

Like dating and relationships, though, language evolves, and now there’s a new set of terms for characterizing the men in women’s lives. Even for Japanese people it can be hard to keep up with the new terminology, and that’s exactly what happened recently, following a segment that appeared on a Japanese TV program.

Screen Shot 2019-10-16 at 8.41.46.png

The tweet above shows terms used for five different types of “friends” — in situations where you’re more than friends but not seriously dating — characterized by the level of intimacy you’re able to have with them. Let’s take a look at the five categories below.

Hafure (“Hug Friend”)

This term is used for people you can hug, which may sound a little odd to the rest of the world, but here in Japan, it’s not customary to hug family and friends, so a hug can be quite an intimate act.

Kisufure (“Kiss Friend”)

This term is for people you can kiss, which is another level-up on the scale of intimacy in a world where friends and family generally don’t even peck one another on the cheek.

Sofure (”Soine Friend”)

This refers to people you can soine, or sleep next to (without engaging in sexual activity). According to pundits, this act is something you can enjoy on special occasions like birthdays, as it gives people a similar level of intimacy as a post-coital lie-down, but without the feelings of guilt that may come after doing the deed, potentially ruining the friendship for good.

Kamofure (“Camouflage Friend”)

This describes those you can pretend to date, under the guise of friendship as a camouflage. The merits for this type of relationship include the fact that you can go out on dates that aren’t officially discussed as being dates, and even hold hands, hug, or kiss, without having to deal with the pressure of officially dating. However, this can lead to confusion for a lot of men.

Sanfure (“Sandbag Friend”)

“Sandbag” is the Japanese word for punching bag, and as such, this term is reserved for people you can use as a punching bag — mentally, not physically. This is great for women who want someone to listen as they unload all their stresses on them, but many say this is the worst category for men to be in, as they do all the giving and get nothing in return.

There are a number of other “friends” that don’t appear on the televised list above, including “Birifure” (“Rehabilitation Friend“), who helps you rehabilitate after a breakup, and “Sefure” (“Sex Friend“), a friend with all-the-way benefits. And though some people will be more familiar with these terms than others, there was one term discussed on the TV Program that puzzled a number of people online.

▼ That term is “Ofure“

Screen Shot 2019-10-16 at 8.43.47.png

Ofure stands for “Ofuro Friend”, meaning a friend you take baths with. And that’s not necessarily referring to mixed-gender public bathing, but private bathing, like the type you take at home.

As soon as people online heard about “Ofure”, they were quick to express their exhaustion at having to keep up with all these confusing terms, while others pointed out that if you’re getting naked with your “ofure“, chances are it’s a term that’s simply a euphemism for “sefure“.

Despite “Ofure” being a term that those in the know have been using for a while, people online were surprised to hear about it, and even more surprised to see that one in five women surveyed have a male friend that they take baths with.

While 49 percent of respondents said they didn’t have an “ofure”, another 31 percent had no idea what an “ofure” was, and this was echoed in a separate Twitter user’s survey on the topic, which showed that even more people – 75 percent at time of writing – didn’t know what a “bath friend” was.

The journey from friends to lovers can be a tricky road to navigate, and while terms like these can be hard to keep up with, at least they act like a marker by the side of the road to clarify where you’re at in the dating game.

If you prefer to ride in the fast lane, though, you can always try marriage without dating, where Japanese women who can’t be bothered with the hassle of dating simply tie the knot with a friend or acquaintance.

Source: My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Young Japanese women sound off on what does and doesn’t constitute cheating on their boyfriend

-- 31 percent of Japanese women admit to cheating on lover, six percent say they got caught【Survey】

-- Soup not soap: Japanese public bathhouses surviving by converting into retro-chic cafés

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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These are just names for techniques that women use to string men along as options unless someone better comes along. For men, these are the names of stages some men have to endure to becoming a "sefure".

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I like 'KAMOFURE' - at first Ithought, '鴨フレ', especially as it all leads to the bath.

Then manzai humor, like

'あなたは鴨フレじゃないけどカモフレ鴨 - ちがう、カも知らない。'

'やっぱ知らないね。「あひる」だろう。’ said the duck.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Ofure - a friend that you bathe with before or after having sex.

Casual encounters(hookups) + one-night stands + Ofure + Sefure = total number of sex partners and sexual activities.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A new student of mine has invited me to lunch. We're going to a resort by the beach to have lunch in a private room. It comes with a private bath overlooking the ocean. Not only is she drop dead gorgeous, she's rather generous as well! I'm looking forward to getting to know her, and to enjoying her yoga-toned body up close as we become "ofure". I hope it becomes a regular thing!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

More cintilating content from Japan's variety shows. Who seriously buys this?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Truthfully, none of this is surprising. Times change, terms change, but the idea that young Japanese women categorize their male acquaintances and "use" them accordingly has been around for decades.

If not longer.

4 ( +4 / -0 )


Totally agree. Actually this is not even new news; I have known this for years. Women just use men for their needs at the time. For some women, every male "friendship" is a business deal.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

this all sounds so exhausting, no wonder no one wants to date anyone here

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Who seriously buys this?

Not me! Sounds like made-up nonsense for X list celebs to talk about on tv for fifteen minutes.

(there are plenty of calculating women out there, just don't assume they are pigeonholing men in a particularly witty or entertaining way)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A bath friend is a rubber ducky, and not a real person. Please just refuse to participate in this nonsense.

Yes, but WHO is the rubber ducky!?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't know who the girl in the Hot Tub is BUT I'll get in there with her ~(U)~ and turn up the Heat ....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Bugle Boy of Company B

A new student of mine has invited me to lunch. We're going to a resort by the beach to have lunch in a private room. It comes with a private bath overlooking the ocean. Not only is she drop dead gorgeous, she's rather generous as well! I'm looking forward to getting to know her, and to enjoying her yoga-toned body up close as we become "ofure". I hope it becomes a regular thing!

My man! You go do your thang

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sofure (”Soine Friend”)

This refers to people you can soine, or sleep next to (without engaging in sexual activity).

Perfect example -

Lost In Translation - Does it get easier?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And a man says 'i'm a womanizer, Not a playboy!'

Btw, try to watch 1967 Love for an Idiot by Yasuzo Masumura (it's got high quality), this movie shows the definition of above..all in one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is vital to recognize the variety of women and the fact that while some might be just like this and what others have said, most are different in a ton of ways from each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ages ago I published a short story that incorporated the topic under discussion. Some years later, I began to wonder if I had exaggerated this business. I see now that I had understated it!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So now friends have to be compartmentalized.

You can't just have friends on different levels of intimacy and depth that you yourself can simply appreciate.

In dare I say, reflective of the at times overly officious culture in which we inhabit, it all needs to be graded, ranked and stamped - you know so we can all understand.

Breathe a little easier, Live a little with a wink and a smile.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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