No, I’m not talking about the eccentric glamrock band that my parents grew up with. Kisu no Hi キスの日 or Kiss Day on 23 May celebrates the kiss as an expression of love and affection in Japan, for a simple but interesting reason.
On this day in 1946 (it was a Thursday), the very first movie containing a kissing scene was screened in Japan. Under the watchful eye of GHQ, the post-war American General Headquarters that oversaw Japan’s pacification, censorship by the Civil Information and Educational Section (CIE) was one of the means to verify that what was being show to the public would not incite any possible future hazards within Japanese society. Contrary to what one would expect, it appeared that the request to include a kissing scene in the movie came from within GHQ itself! Apparently, the request was made by an important CIE member after having seen a pre-screening of the movie.
Unsurprisingly, the kiss in the movie is reportedly quite innocuous for today’s standards, but in those days it was enough to sell out tickets for a few days.
Now, perhaps because of its insignificance, the internet is not exactly rife with academically verified explanations of the origins of Japan’s Kiss Day, but the Japan Times have blogged about it (and apparently the author felt the need to embed an unsettling video that makes you wonder how dystopian love in the future might be).