Japan Data Archive

About Japan > Life and Customs > 

Do Japanese kiss when greeting?

As seen in the shun-ga (erotic picture), Japanese historically kissed as an expression of sexual love, which was called kutchi-sui, or lip sucking."
Kissing is a natural and universal way of expressing human sexual love.
However, Japanese are reluctant to kiss as a greeting.
For example, a TV scene where Russian men are seen kissing on the lips as a greeting is shocking to them.
Japanese have become more accustomed to various ways of kissing through foreign movies, so they might not be surprised to be kissed lightly on the cheek as a greeting, but it's unlikely that a Japanese would go up to someone for a "greeting" kiss.