What is “Kabedon”(壁ドン) : Japanese unwritten culture

Amongst many interesting cultures Japan has to offer, romance is one not to be forgotten of.

Japan has a lot of different unwritten cultures regarding love and love confessions.

If you are an anime lover or J-drama fanatic, Kabedon is not a foreign word in your vocabulary I suppose. Kabedon is a rather common picture painted in many love series manga found in Japan.

The single image of a couple and a wall:

Kabedon

Kabedon: What is it?

So, what is Kabedon? Is it a rice bowl?

‘Kabe’ means wall and ‘don’ is related to the slapping or banging sound in Japanese(not a rice bowl, unfortunately). Putting them together, and we get something in the context closely related to wall banging or slapping.

Or more accurately to describe Kabedon is the action of hitting or slamming something onto the wall that creates a ‘don’ sound.

In manga and anime context, Kabedon is often associated with the act of the male character pinning a female character to the wall in an act of love confession. This act of Kabedon often gets readers or viewers’ heart racing.

History of Kabedon

Now that we have covered the meaning and context of where Kabedon is usually seen, let’s look a little deeper into the history of Kabedon.

Kabedon first made its appearance in 2008, where it was described as a ‘lovely situation’. This act was later popularized by shojo manga Ayu Watanabe’s L DK and Hiro Fujiwara’s Maid Sama! who began using Kabedon regularly in their artwork.

Types of Kabedon

Before we diverge more in depth to this topic, let’s set some things in place.

Kabedon is often associated as a love language, however, it can also be used to show superiority in power in non-romance scenarios.

In action manga, Kabedon is used by the character to intimidate and show dominance to the other character that is pinned to the wall. This scenario has the character venting and showing their frustration and anger by slamming the other character up against the wall as a confrontation act.

The other type is the much more typical type which was mentioned before, in an act of love. Often seen in romance plot mangas, where the one character is often pinned up against the wall by the love interest as an act of love. The ideal scenario would be the female character eventually taking an interest in the male character who confessed his love through this act of love: Kabedon.

Why is it so popular?

As Kabedon may be a part of Japanese culture, it may be foreign to many other cultures especially in those that do not practice Kabedon at all.

How did Kabedon gain so much popularity from 2008?

Dating back to some of the popular animes that have expressed Kabedon through love confessions, they show the character as direct and unafraid to express their love which favorably ends up in the other character accepting the love, turning into a happy ending. Most of these famous anime scenes were then turned into memes, which are incredibly popular even in this day and age.

The act of Kabedon is donned as cool. Coolness from the male character’s dominance and romantic side. It shows the male character’s commitment and seriousness in his love interest. It also expresses the male character’s leadership and toughness that allows the female to believe and learn that reliance and compatibility with such character.

It may seem cool and attractive to some but may not be the same for all. In the world of anime and manga, this act of love may be highly accepted but in real life, it might not be so. Some may find this act to be creepy or rather intimidating and scary. Some may even prefer a softer and gentler approach to a love confession. This act of love may even lead to awkwardness or worst yet, an act of sexual harassment.

Safe to say, Kabedon is often best described as a fantasy of male dominance and female submission. It may work for some, but not for everyone. And, it doesn’t always happens at every love confession scene in real life!

Different ways to express Kabedon

The classic way of Kabedon is the one arm pose. It may be cool with one arm pinned to the wall while the other in the pocket. The classic move.

Two arms pinned to the way can be used to enhance and make the confession a lot more intimate. You can express your love in full effect with this pose.

The other way is, instead of using arms, usage of a leg can be performed as Kabedon. The higher the leg the better, but this method can be extremely dangerous and hard to pull off. Often used as a parody and seen in some anime from the girl character, asserting dominance through this method.

Modern day Kabedon

Even though it may be a popular act of love in manga and anime, is it really practiced in real life at this day and era?

Let’s just say, let’s keep it in anime and mangas.

As mentioned before, it may be taken favorably by some as a sign of good compatibility, but it may also be viewed unfavorably. It is a difficult cross way path to cross over.

There are a lot of other ways to confess or show an act of love in today’s society.

As Japanese culture is rather refined and not-so straight forward in the love chapter, Kabedon is one way to go, but so are little gestures such as gifting of flowers.

Dating strategies do not just start and end with Kabedon.

Summary

So now that we have covered the main aspects of Kabedon, an art to love confessions in Japan, the main question lies at, ‘Is it the best way to express love’.

I will leave that up to you, but do bear in mind, this may be popular in Japan, but it may not be so all around the world.

I hope through this article, you have a clearer picture of what Kabedon is. Sometimes, I feel sorry for the walls that were ‘harmed’ in the process of Kabedon.

See you next time!

About Yen 16 Articles
Hi, I'm Yen from Malaysia. I can converse in more than 5 languages and am an avid lover of manga, drawing and food. I love working with kids and enjoy sharing stories about Japan as a writer. I'm at my happiest when I get to explore Japan!