Check your breath and find a friend (or a kiss transmission device): Today, May 23, is “Kiss Day” (キスの日) in Japan.
The phrase is trending on Japan’s local Twitter ranking, mostly, it seems, due to tweets from people saying they had no idea that it was indeed Kiss Day. The day commemorates the date in 1946 when the first Japanese movie with a kissing scene was shown in Japan. The movie was “Hatachi no Seishun” (20-Year-Old Youth) directed by Yasushi Sasaki and starring Kaoru Aikawa and Michiko Ikuno. The kissing scene is reportedly brief, and the actors are said to have protected their mouths from each other with gauze. But the moment was daring enough to sell out cinemas at the time. It also is said to have started debates about the meaning and appropriateness of showing kissing in films, including whether or not it was a properly Japanese — or hygienic — activity, according to the book “The Japanese Film: Art and Industry.”