I explained in the last Anime In-Jokes that Christmas is a time for couples to celebrate in Japan. Lovers trade gifts and gather around the traditional bucket of KFC to enjoy this romantic holiday.
But what type of lovers are we talking about here?
Though Japanese is riddled with homonyms, word-puns and one-word-seven-meanings, the language is very clear about the three types of romantic love.
- “Daisuki da yo” = “I love you” in a rather juvenile way. Eg: “I so love you!”
- “Aishiteru” = “I love you,” possibly used by people in a serious relationship or entering into one.
- “Koishiteru” = “I love you,” the type where you want to spend the rest of your life with this person.
Can you be a little more specific?
If English were more like this, it would’ve saved a lot of grief in my past relationships.
When watching the anime of your choice, you can become more aware of the quality of the characters you’re viewing.
If the genki girl says “Daisuki da yo” throughout a serious relationship, she has a juvenile mindset or isn’t taking her romance very seriously.
Perhaps your favorite male protagonist is ready to go the next step and says “Aishiteru.” He fears that his lover will respond with “Daisuki.” Instead, she tells him “Koishiteru.” That changes the whole dynamic of their relationship. Is he ready to settle down?
Is he cringing in preparation for her response, or is this his reaction to her words?
While we’re on the topic of love, let’s take a moment to explore the ideal woman. No, not in that way. Stop that.
With every culture, there is an idea of the perfect woman. (I think the American ideal has enormous boobs and can eat twenty hamburgers in one sitting without gaining weight.)
Japan’s ideal is called the “Yamato Nadeshiko.”
Originally hatched amid WWII propaganda, the Yamato Nadeshiko is feminine and willowy, depicted with long, dark hair that typically includes a fringe of bangs. She speaks softly and appears delicate and gentle as a flower.
Yukiko Amagi is a fabulous deconstruction of the Yamato Nadeshiko archetype. Play Persona 4 to find out.
However, the inner strength separates her from other submissive stereotypes.
She has the strength to manage a family and to turn situations to their most advantageous. Quietly supportive of her husband, the Yamato Nadeshiko sees when a situation will go awry and, rather than call a person on it, she navigates the situation secretly.
Yamato Nadeshiko in anime are often depicted as having martial arts training, but avoid combat whenever possible.
I read an interesting article a while back that stated how Western audiences favor the pairing of Yuri and Wolfram in Kyo Kara Maoh! because of how hot-blooded their interactions are. However, Japanese viewers prefer the pairing of Conrad and Yuri because Conrad fits rather nicely into the Yamato Nadeshiko stereotype: he was always quietly strong, supportive of Yuri and guided him in the right direction without calling attention to himself.
Conrad being emotionally supportive of Yuri. Either that or he put him in a headlock.
Enjoy your holiday equipped with this knowledge and, hopefully, a bucket of fried chicken.
Feel free to comment below!
For more resources on Yamato Nadeshiko, visit: