Kokuhaku, The Japanese Art of Love Confession!

  • Have you ever been in love? Well, I’ve been there too. Love is a complex word which can result in complex situations. Each country has a unique culture of expressing love to another.

    Kokuhaku Defined

    Japan has a love confessing culture known as kokuhaku. Kokuhaku simply means “confession.” This is quite an exciting part of Japanese life. A person who likes somebody will confess his love for her and asks whether he can be her lover. This is also true not only for men but also for women. It can also mean having a relationship with the person or wanting to see the other one very often.

    What is the Rule in Kokuhaku?

    Remember, once you’ve already confessed to somebody of your love for him or her, it is important to consider not dating other persons. If you do so, then it can be called “cheating.” This may seem absurd in other culture but that’s how it goes in Japan. Kokuhaku is an exclusive commitment to the only person you’ve confessed.

    When Kokuhaku is Accepted

    It may seem like a daunting task for the person waiting for the approval of the other half but once accepted, serious relationship can then start. This is the only time both of you are officially in a boyfriend-and-girlfriend relationship. You may have countless dates or meet-ups together but serious relationship can only start once kokuhaku is accepted.

    Things to Remember

    If you want to confess to a Japanese person, please take note of the following:

    • Never confess through text. It is a big no-no.
    • Never disclose too many things you know about the other person. This might scare her away and think that you’re stalking her.
    • Never reveal a confession by writing it on the board for everyone to see.
    • You can actually enclose your confession in a New Year’s card.
    • Never show them your payslip as this is rude.
    • If you’re a stranger and you’re not that close. Never give flowers.
    • So, what are you waiting for? Go confess your love while time is still ticking.
    1. Crono says:

      Such a challenge! ×_0

      1. Anonymous says:


    2. really? so I think I misunderstood my boyfriend when he confessed his love towards me. I misunderstood everything since I didn’t know all of these.

    3. Ro says:

      I don’t love anyone. I’m dead inside

      1. Anonymous says:

        then start loving yourself Ro :-) l

    4. Anonymous says:


    5. Jackfrost says:

      Nothing anime-ish happened to me yet

    6. あいゆー says:

      Well…it is even more challenging if you both live in different country i think…

    7. Emma says:

      I am the who confessed to my Japanese bf hahahaha the kokuhaku was accepted and now we’re dating for 5 years. lol I love my crazy Japanese bf.

    8. creamoo says:


    9. Anonymous says:

      I like a Japanese guy. He was sweet and all but no confession was made. Maybe he’s just really like that. Oh well. Life goes on. Lol.

    10. Anonymous says:

      I tried to ask Japanese people about what they think about this guy I like but Im too shy to do so altho I tried to ask in indirect way and I get the answer of “possibility that he likes me” but since there’s no confession made, I do not want to assume.

      He was a sweet guy. Even in our first meeting, he already showed being gentleman. I’m not sure whether it’s common in Japan to bring the bag of women, offer drinks when they find you thirsty or tired, serves food for u, helps u when u needed something, gives u a birthday present at the end of the party when nobody could see, stands infront of u in the train when he gave a seat for u, shops with u in women section, walks u to the station, checks your phone etc etc things like that. In my country or any country I think that is considered liking someone. But he didnt confess or whatsoever. He just said we are friends so I dont ask or whatever. But he doesnt msg me much or ask me to see him (altho he visited my workplace for 15mins only but said it is just because of work) but if there are events we see each other and he only stays beside me all the time. I like him very much but I dont wanna confess because my situation is also complicated. I think he deserves a better girl too.

      But I just wonder if that’s just being friendly in Japan? Maybe I just miunderstood him. I just thought he likes me. But I really like him so when we meet I just hide how I feel :(

      1. whoa! that’s way too friendly. but its better not to assume. i feel you :)

      2. Ultimate Otaku~ says:


        As you said, you already invited him last time and you invited him AGAIN this August. If you still haven’t confessed to him, try again but this is the last try. If he don’t accept your Kokuhaku, stop. Maybe destiny doesn’t want the two of you to be together. Maybe there’s a better man who’ll come in your life or maybe he’s just beside you, you just don’t open your eyes to see. Just an advice from a little kid ;)

      3. Aiko-chan says:

        I can’t really say anything because I never even felt like that, but after reading this I felt sad. I wish you can confess and maybe you’ll get the answer you want to know. I’m just saying.

    11. Anonymous says:

      such a hard thing

    12. Anonymous says:

      ahahhaha hard thing to dp already

    13. Anonymous says:

      Haha I will confess to Kenshin Himura…

    14. Del Ihle says:

      >>>I tried to ask Japanese people about what they think about this guy I like but Im too shy to do so altho I tried to ask in indirect way and I get the answer of “possibility that he likes me” but since there’s no confession made, I do not want to assume.<<<

      Hayaku!!! Kokuhaku Ima! He is waiting to hear from you . . . but he won't wait forever. You will eventually loose him if you do not speak up! He needs your help in getting together with you. If he is as nice as you say, there are lots of Nihon girls who recognize that as well, and will be trying hard to begin a relationship with him! Get busy girl! Ganbatte! (advice form a 69 y/o Grandpa.)

      1. Anonymous says:


        Sad to say, I tried to invite him once one time but he said he already had plans. That was May this year. Altho I saw on facebook that he really had plan that day with seniors.

        I was reading about what love is in Japanese culture. It says there if a Japanese man likes u, he will ask u out. But he never asked me out so I tried to invite him first but he said he had plan. Now I invited him again this time, August and he said he will come. But we are going to be in a group because I dont want to scare him away. Ugh it’s just so hard to read what he thinks of me. Maybe if he will say something, I will also do my part as a woman. It’s just that I’m not used to me being the first one to say. :(

        And Yes I think I’m gonna wait like forever and yes I know I will eventually lose him because he looks good for me and I know there’s just a lot of girls out there whom he deserves better. :(

        1. Mystic says:

          Hi dear, he may be too shy to ask u out. Last time I liked this Japanese guy in my university, I tried asking him out for 3 times. He turned me down for 3 times saying that he got plans for that day although the last time he asked if we could go out on other date instead. I nvr confess to him although I hav feeling for him but I do show some hints that I like him. Somehow I think tat he knows that I hav feelings for him. He was nice to me and like hanging out with me in university. Sometimes I found tat he will stare at me and quickly turned away when i catch him doing so and he finds way to get closer to me too. After graduation I tried asking him if we could go out tgt and again he turn me down. Was so frustrated tat I did not contact him again after tat but one year later he finally ask if we could go out. Been seeing each other very frequent and months later he asked he he could date me! After few months of dating, he proposed to me. So girl, go for it! Confess now :)

    15. key_she says:

      I should do that to Sasuke ahaha!

    16. Eryza Rayaka says:

      AHAHAHA.. One time, a guy confessed to me through text… I was very disappointed and immediately dumped him without hesitation. I thought it was very disrespectful because he didn’t express his love propely, If he would’ve faced me instead, he might have had a chance. :)

      1. Anonymous says:

        That’s cruel.. I would never date a western girl for reasons like that. Are you even human? -sad-

        1. Anonymous says:

          Her name is not “western” btw…

    17. o'chai-chan says:

      oohh i always want to do that !! but the guy i like seems so much more feminine than me :(
      and everytime i see him .. i get tonguetied..i can’t even move when his nearby.

    18. Anonymous says:

      I will confess to KANATA HONGO ^_^

    19. Anonymous says:

      To anonymous whose having a a hard time in confessing, I think that what your doing at the moment is right in a way that you just want to be sure about his feelings, but if it is so long that it almhst took a year or so then decide on whether to confess or not for u not to invest so much feelings further if bad outcome happens…

      1. Anonymous says:

        1 year is too long :( Now Im going out with his friend in the afternoon and Im going to see him at that night. Im pretty sure they will meet because his friend will take me to him. Im not sure how he will react but I cant wait forever. He doesnt even ask me out. He is just like a boyfriend if we are together but if Im not with him, he’s just like normal person. He only msg if I msg him first. Altho he always help whenever I ask help.

        Altho before he told me he doesnt msg. But he ask me to call instead. He said it is not Japanese culture to msg always.

    20. Jojiejoy says:

      Don’t they start as friends first? Its a pressure for the other person being confessed to if he/she doesn’t know the other. The confessor will surely gets rejected.

    21. Anonymous says:

      I have confessed to my ever crush, well sadly, he rejected me. He said he’s not yet into a relationship, so i understand him. The thing is, we both worked together to save our friendship and now, we’re closer than before. ;)

    22. kyoshi says:

      I think way of confessing is more difficult here in Philippines :)

      Just passing by :)

    23. Ultimate Otaku~ says:

      I’m from Philippines but how I wish confessing here is just like in Japan! Cause here in the Philippines if you confessed to someone, if he or she busted you there’s no such polite way to say ” I’m sorry but I can’t accept your love” instead he or she will just walk out without saying a word :3

      1. Aiko-chan says:

        I’m also from the Philippines~!

    24. Reji says:

      I should do this to Mikasa!

    25. Anonymous says:

      Being someone who started dating in Japan just two and a half months ago, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I mean, yes there are always some cultural things that differ and can be misunderstood due to those cultural differences, but I don’t see why people treat Japan like this exception to normalcy. I think people want to be loved and understood. The more they trust you and feel those emotions, the more attached they will probably become and value you more. It has nothing to do with performing some ritualistic task properly. It starts with talking to them as a curious and interested person, and then sharing your views and experiences. Eventually leading either towards or away from something greater. It was no different when I lived in New York, it was no different when I lived in Puerto Rico, and it certainly is no different for the time that I have spent living here in Kanagawa.

    26. David says:

      This Kokuhaku is really serious. I made a Kokuhaku song and sang it to the woman I love. Then:
      Me: Do you like the song?
      Her: Yes, it is from heart. It is too direct and the person who that is for will like it.
      Me: How would you reply if this song was for you?
      Her{supersurprised]: What?!!!
      Me: This song was for you.
      Her[Japanese-surprised, smiling]: What?!!!
      Me: I would like to live with you, …
      Her[Japanese-supersurprised, supersmiling]: Is that true?! Do you really mean this?
      Me: Yes, that is true.

      Me: I am sorry to make you cry. Please, take your time…
      Never ever make a Kokuhaku by an SMS or an email. Big no! I think this Kokuhaku could be one of the greatest moments in your life. If she replies yes, then you will celebrate even the anniversary of when Kokuhaku was made when the time approaches. Be a man and make a proper confession that she deserves!

    27. Jonny Baby says:

      If the kokuhaku is not accepted not refused.
      The guy should re do it or wait for the approval?

      1. Japan Info says:

        Hi, Jonny! Thank you for your interest in our article and for the comment.

        As for your question, there really is no rule whether to re-do it or just wait. It all depends on the situation.

        Hope this helps! :)

    28. Testuo says:

      According to you
      Usually what is the lenght for the approval of the kokuhaku?
      Immediatly, mins, hours, days, months ????

      1. Japan Info says:

        Hi, Testuo! Thank you for your interest in our article and for the comment.

        As for your question, it depends on the person, of course. But approval is usually given immediately or within days.

        Hope this helps! :)

    29. tangerine says:

      hi :) i feel all of you who are afraid of kokuhaku.
      i’ve been dating this japanese guy for almost 2 months here in my country..
      he’s working here for the next 2 years. and we met 3 months after he arrived to my country.
      he asked me out and i accepted and we just hang out as friends the first 2 times. one day i invited him to party with my friends, we ended up just the two of us for a period of time and he hugged me and then he kissed me.
      i was super embarrassed but we drank alcohol so i thinks that’s why he wasn’t so shy at that moment.
      a couple of weeks ago he said that he really likes me a lot, and i replied “i like you too”
      does this mean a confession? or what?
      i think this sort-of relationship started backwards and i think it is because we are not in japan. he also said he only goes out with me, and that he thinks i’m beautiful.
      i’m really into this guy but i’m afraid to ask him “hey are we a couple or what?”


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