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What is Kiss in South Korea?


Kiss is a universal language that speaks volumes. However, the meaning of kiss varies from culture to culture. South Korea is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and its take on kissing is unique. In this article, we will explore what kissing means in South Korea.

The Cultural Context of Kissing in South Korea

South Korea is a country where traditional values are still held in high regard. Public displays of affection are not common in Korean culture. Kissing in public is frowned upon and considered inappropriate. The Korean society places a high value on modesty and respect.

The Different Types of Kisses in South Korea

Korea has different types of kisses, such as the forehead kiss, the peck, and the lip-to-lip kiss. The forehead kiss is seen as a gesture of affection and respect between family members, friends, or romantic partners. The peck is a quick kiss on the lips that expresses love or endearment. The lip-to-lip kiss is reserved for romantic partners.

The Significance of the Lip-to-Lip Kiss

In South Korea, the lip-to-lip kiss is not as common as it is in other cultures. It is reserved for romantic couples who are serious about each other. Korean couples usually wait until they are in a committed relationship before indulging in this form of physical affection.

Kissing in Korean Popular Culture

Kissing scenes are a staple in Korean dramas and movies. However, they are often portrayed as chaste and respectful, without any explicit sexual connotations. This reinforces the traditional values of modesty and respect that are so ingrained in Korean culture.

The Influence of Western Culture on Kissing in South Korea

South Korea has been heavily influenced by Western culture over the years. This has led to changes in the way Koreans view physical affection. Younger generations are more open to public displays of affection, including kissing. However, traditional values still hold strong in Korean society.

Kissing on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in South Korea, and it is a day for couples to express their love for each other. Kissing is not as common as exchanging gifts or going on romantic dates. However, couples may exchange a peck or two as a sign of their affection.

The Role of Kissing in Korean Weddings

Korean weddings are steeped in tradition and culture. Kissing is not traditionally part of the wedding ceremony. However, modern Korean weddings often include a kiss between the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Kissing in South Korea

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on physical affection in South Korea. Public displays of affection have become less common due to social distancing rules. Couples are now more likely to express their affection through text messages and phone calls.

Kissing and Gender Roles in South Korea

Gender roles play an important role in Korean culture. Men are expected to take the lead in romantic relationships, including initiating physical affection such as kissing. Women are expected to be more reserved and demure when it comes to public displays of affection.


In conclusion, kissing in South Korea is heavily influenced by traditional values and cultural norms. It is generally reserved for romantic partners and not commonly displayed in public. While younger generations are more open to public displays of affection, traditional values still hold strong. As with many aspects of Korean culture, the meaning of kissing is complex and multifaceted.

What is Korean kiss?

뽀뽀 (ppoppo) is a Korean word that typically refers to a light, casual kiss, often given by children to their parents. This is in contrast to the English loanword 키스 (kiseu), which usually implies a deep, intimate kiss. The verb form of 뽀뽀 (ppoppohada) means to kiss or peck.

What does ppoppo mean in Korean?

A “ppoppo” is a word used to describe a kiss, whether it’s a smooch, peck, or other non-romantic gesture. Other synonyms for a romantic kiss include “kiseu” and “immatchum.”

Is kiss common in South Korea?

In Korean dating culture, public displays of affection (PDA) are common, although considered sinful by some. While overtly sexual activities are typically kept private, holding hands, giving a peck, or even a kiss in public is considered normal.

What does bbo bbo mean in Korean?

In the 1980s, Korean children all shared a common experience with the TV show “Bbo-Bbo-Bbo,” which means “kiss, kiss” in Korean. The show began airing on May 25, 1981, and was a part of many Koreans’ childhoods, despite their different backgrounds and experiences.

Why is a kiss called a kiss?

The term “kiss” originates from the Old English term “cyssan,” which means “to touch with the lips.” It began to be used in the 1300s to refer to the affectionate gesture of two individuals touching lips as a greeting.

Do Koreans kiss on their wedding?

In Korean wedding ceremonies, there are no traditional vows or exchange of rings like in Western weddings, and it is also customary for the bride and groom to not kiss when announced as husband and wife.

It is important to note that the concept of kissing in South Korea is not limited to romantic relationships. It can also be seen as a sign of respect and affection between family members, friends, and colleagues. In fact, it is common for Koreans to greet each other with a peck on the cheek or a hug.

Another interesting aspect of kissing in South Korea is the use of “air kisses.” This is when two people come close to each other’s faces and make a kissing sound without actually touching lips. This is often used in more formal settings or when greeting someone who is not a close friend or family member.

Despite the traditional values surrounding kissing in South Korea, there are still romantic gestures that couples can engage in. For example, couples may hold hands or put their arms around each other while walking. These physical displays of affection are seen as more acceptable than kissing in public.

In recent years, there has been a rise in same-sex relationships and LGBTQ+ visibility in South Korea. However, public displays of affection between same-sex couples are still not commonly accepted. Many LGBTQ+ activists are working towards changing societal attitudes and promoting acceptance and love for all.

Overall, the meaning of kissing in South Korea is complex and influenced by cultural norms and values. While traditional values still hold strong, younger generations are more open to public displays of affection. Kissing can be seen as a sign of respect and affection between family members, friends, and colleagues, as well as romantic partners.

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