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For everyone, love is daunting. How do you start off a relationship with someone? There's fear of rejection, embarrassment, discomfort, etc., but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. Yet, with all those fears, how do you go about starting one? Well, the Japanese have a kokuhaku culture! Doesn't sound familiar? Trust me, you've probably seen a kokuhaku at least once in an anime.
Kokuhaku is the Japanese term for confession. A kokuhaku is an event where one individual will confess their feelings to another, although this term can technically apply for things like confessing to guilt, but it is usually used for romantic confessions. A kokuhaku is very common in anime no matter what genre, though it seems to be the most common in shoujo anime where love is a key motif in the story.
For many, kokuhaku is a way to solidify a relationship between two people. A relationship isn't completely set into stone without the kokuhaku. The couple must communicate how they feel about each other, which is important for starting any relationship.
You may wonder about how this differs from other countries. Well, in the United States, you might confess, but more relationships evolve with frequent dates or getting to know each other. A kokuhaku may not even be necessary. In Japan, the kokuhaku is essential.
There are a few different methods used for a kokuhaku. One way of confessing is by doing it face-to-face or directly. In an anime, a character may be called out somewhere private like the school roof or behind the school for a kokuhaku. In most situations, one party will confess to the other, though there are occasions when someone may have someone confess in their stead. A direct kokuhaku does have its advantages as you can see a person's reaction to the kokuhaku or to get a direct answer.
It is important to note that kokuhaku can be public as well, though added pressure on such a precarious situation can be detrimental.These public events can be school festivals at confession booths or in front of a crowd of friends. Could you be that brave?
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 - September 2014
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun follows the story of young Sakura Chiyo who confesses her love to Nozaki Umetarou. Upon confessing, Nozaki gives Chiyo his autograph. He thought she was a fan! It turns out, Nozaki is a famous shoujo mangaka and he recruits her to help him with his work. Along the way, Chiyo gets to meet the other crazy characters that help with the manga and the other people that inspire Nozaki's characters.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is an anime in which a direct kokuhaku, and misunderstanding, are catalysts for the entire premise of the anime. We get to see Chiyo confess face-to-face to Nozaki and how that ultimately ends up changing her life, regardless of how her love life turns out. See how a shoujo mangaka botches up Chiyo's kokuhaku in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun! There's a lot of love in this anime; well, love for manga.
[PV] TV anime "Monthly girl Nozaki Kun" PV 2nd!
There's nothing more precious than getting a letter from a loved one, so why not start off a relationship with a love letter? For many, a kokuhaku may be quite the daunting task as it involves some self confidence and bravery, which can be a bit difficult for those in high school battling low self-esteem and fear of rejection. What better way to confess than through a love letter?
As shown in anime, people can hide a love letter in someone's desk or shoe locker, but a private place is generally the idea. On holidays like Valentine's Day, a shoe locker can be filled with chocolates and love letters! Love letters is usually responded to in person, though there may be a delay unlike direct kokuhaku as the receiver may take the time to consider his or her options.
Love letters are a very good idea for confessing for many of the weak of heart making them useful for anyone who is not good at speaking out their feelings. Love letters can connect all types of people!
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2003 - September 2003
Niwa Daisuke seems like an average boy, but Daisuke actually comes from a long line of legendary thieves who inherit the persona: Dark Mousy. At the age of fourteen, Daisuke has inherited Dark; now he must turn into Dark and steal valuable artwork. With that responsibility on his shoulders, Daisuke also has to deal with a classmate who seems to be suspicious of him. This is a lot of stress on a boy who just got rejected by the girl he loves!
Our sweet Daisuke is the shy type so it is no surprise when he confesses with a love letter. It's the perfect way for someone like Daisuke, who is easily embarrassed and shy, to get his feelings across without having to fumble for the right words or meanings. He can openly take the time to say what he wants. That's why D.N.Angel is a great example to show us why love letters are so great for kokuhaku!
When you're nervous about a kokuhaku or worried about the outcome, there is no better way to increase your lucky than with love superstitions. For many school students, they will count on superstitions to increase their odds. They'll confess on a very specific date or in a specific way. If you have seen School Days, you'll notice that Sekai has her hopes on a charm at first, which is quite common for many school students. Asian societies can be somewhat superstitious so these types of superstitions are not surprising, especially when it's a tricky subject like love.
Superstitions can range from small shrine charms promoting love to superstitions about bonfire dancing. Whether you believe in them or not, some superstitions do increase the amounts of kokuhaku that occur as it gives people the courage to speak their feelings.
Bokura ga Ita
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: July 2006 - December 2006
Takahashi Nanami has just started at a new school where she's making attempts at making friends, who seem to all like one boy: Yano Motoharu. After an embarrassing incident thanks to the likes of Motoharu, Nanami hates him! However, hate soon turns to love as Nanami finds herself learning more about him.
In Bokura Ga Ita, there is a bonfire at the end of the school festival with a tradition of having couples confess during the bonfire to increase the likelihood of the pairing. It is at this time that Motoharu confesses to Nanami twice. As you can see throughout the anime that afterwards, while Motoharu and Nanami may have their ups and downs throughout the series, they both stand strong and love each other. They have a devotion to each other that cannot be denied. While you may contest whether that has to do with the superstition or not, their love story merely began with one superstition.
Bokura Ga Ita - Opening (Kimi Dake Wo)
As you can see, the kokuhaku is very common in anime and is a way of starting off relationship, whether that is an actual romantic one or friendly one is up to the parties involved. The kokuhaku culture in Japan is a very important one; one that can help two people build a life together. It helps couples communicate their feelings.
Do you think that the kokuhaku culture is important? Do you think it is a smart way to start a relationship with others?