A day doesn’t go by that the morality police aren’t up in arms about something the rest of the world finds innocuous. Whether it’s the “music these days” or “those kids and their crazy hair,” we generally can’t help responding with sighs and exaggerated eye-rolls. But this time, we’re wondering if maybe they’re not entirely wrong.
It turns out Japanese junior high school and high school student couples across the country have raised eyebrows by posting videos of themselves kissing online. Which wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t for the fact that these videos are open to the public for anyone to see.
So, why are they publicizing their relationships and why is it such a hot topic? Read on to find out!
Couples posting photos of themselves online doesn’t immediately seem like a big deal. In fact, it kind of seems like the opposite of a big deal, even if some of us are sick of seeing all those happy ‘we’re kissing; look at us!’ people on Facebook. But what about kids uploading slideshows of themselves to a very public site like MixChannel, a Japanese website similar to Vine?
Even then, you may still be thinking, “Oh, just let the kids have some fun!” but many in Japan aren’t quite so accepting. The sharp-tongued and always acerbic Matsko Deluxe responded to the “LOVE video” trend by pointedly asking, “Are you stupid?” While it’s a sentiment we suspect a number of parents might be asking their kids, it’s not quite that simple.
First, what are these “LOVE videos” and why are students making them? They are basically slideshows with a number of photos (mostly selfies) and videos of each couple, often including pictures of them kissing, along with the very worst (or best, depending on your perspective) of high school love notes. One video is enough to make any adult cringe so hard an eyeball pops out — partly because of all the embarrassing memories they’re sure to elicit!
Of course, if you’re from a county where sexting is the current moral panic, this might seem like a non-issue. The key difference, of course, is that these videos are very public — one we saw on Mix Channel has almost 10,700 likes and 285 comments. It’s also saccharine enough to require an emergency visit to the dentist, but this is apparently normal for “famous couples.” Obviously when the couple are both attractive, their fame goes up, but it seems that couples who have great connections are also popular. It’s almost like reality TV without the advertising money.
You might be wondering who is watching these videos — and people are clearly watching them. The answer seems to be other students who admire the couples’ connections or are just daydreaming about having something similar. And on the other side of the screen, it seems like a lot of couples who post these videos are hoping for encouragement from others. As an adult, that seems kind of strange, but it’s also understandable that younger folks might seek the approval of their peers, right?
Of course, one of the first reactions Japanese adults seem to have to these “LOVE videos” is “But what if you break up?” Which actually is a very good question if you ask us! After all, what goes on the internet stays on the internet.
But the kids have a plan for that, too. Apparently, it’s common for someone to upload a “we’ve split up” video whenever things turn sour in real life. Which seems like rubbing salt in a wound to us, but at the same time, you kind of have to admire their frankness. Of course, there are many who go and delete every single video they’ve posted, but some of the posters just leave the videos up as if to say, “Thank you for all the love you’ve shown me.”
▼ “Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.”
But perhaps the biggest concern many have about this trend is tied up with the concept of the “digital tattoo.”
No, this isn’t the coolest new body modification straight out of Chiba City, but the idea that our online lives are essentially permanent. Juan Enriquez discussed the concept in his 2013 TED talk, and the idea isn’t just that our online lives are nigh eternal but also ultra public. If you post a video of yourself with you high school sweetheart when you’re 16, there’s a good chance someone is going to find it when you’re changing jobs at 36. Though maybe that’s not something we should let dictate our lives? On the other hand, one poll by a Japanese media company found that 32 percent of respondents consider their old posts on social network embarrassing, so we’d probably recommend holding off on doing something simply “because YOLO.”
So, how much of your digital history do you regret, dear readers? And what do you think about posting videos of you and your significant other kissing online? Are the kids crazy these days or are they alright? Discuss below!