Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hug Me Please!

Recently, I just see many people who are holding a sign which says “Free Hugs” at the really crowded place or park in Japan. I felt really weird when I saw it for the first time because I had no idea what the purpose of it.

The origin of Free Hug is from the states in 2001. Jason Hunter walked along Miami with the sign after his mother’s dead. In 2004, Juan Mann from Australia started to Free Hug Campaign, and his achievement was recorded, broadcast on You tube, and then Free Hugs became famous.

A photo from Akihabara.

The sign says Free Hugs in Japanese.

The purpose of Free Hugs is to share happiness and sadness with people you don’t know; however, since hug is not common custom, or the word, “Hug” is not well-known in Japan, it seems to be difficult to get a hug from strangers or passengers.

Here is video from You tube. Free Hugs in Japan.

Do you see this campaign in your country? Have you ever given hug? I have never hugged with people who is holding the sign.

*This is not appropriate on this blog, but I want information about NY. I'm going there at the end of this month. I want to know cool places or must-visit places in NY. I hope to get some from you guys. Thanks!


Jenny said...

There is Tel-Aviv's Free Hug Campaign:

スロ / Bernat said...

In Barcelona there was one and I hugged a girl ^_^

kayanon said...


thanks for the link. Free Hug Campaing is so famous in the world now"


Do you think you would hug if that is even boy?

Anonymous said...

I hug my parents pretty much every time I see them (and give them a kiss on the cheek).

I was not very huggy with my friends at first, but I had friends who did so I got used to it.

hugging family or friends is very common in the US but it would not be appropriate in a business context, or a random stranger on the street for that matter

but for the people with a sign, as long as the person holding the sign does not seem threatening, usually people who think it is cute or funny will play along

if the person asking for hugs seemed like they might hurt you or rob you, people would probably stay away

kevin said...

I've never heard of the Free Hug Campaign. It's a very nice idea, though I'd never hug a stranger. I can barely stand hugging my relatives! :P

Thanks for the article.

kayanon said...


thank you for the comment. I sometimes envy hug culture. It's nice to hug family to show love or appriciation to them. I sometimes hug my mom, but not my dad or my brother. Since Japan doesn't have hug culture, it is kind of embarrasing to do that.


Me neither. I have never hug a stranger. So, you are not huggy person?

Anonymous said...

kayanon, I like reading your posts. Anyway, come to think of it, I don't hug my brothers very often.

Usually I would only hug them if I haven't seen them in a long time, or if they are going on a long trip.

And I do hug my mom more than my dad, but I always hug them both when I come or go from a visit because I don't want my dad to feel left out.

I could see people not wanting to be embarrassed in public because even in america if you can have a little hug or kiss in public, but anything more and people find it annoying.

It's funny, here teenagers go through a stage where they don't even want to be seen with their parents (I guess they want to be seen as independent) and are embarrassed if their parents try to hug or kiss them in public (such as when drop them off at school) because they think it makes them look like a 'baby'.

kevin said...


I guess not, though I think if it was a girlfriend or spouse it would be different. But I dislike hugging relatives or strangers. So I guess I'm just not a huggy person. :P

Anonymous said...

Of course even we don't care for hugging family if we don't get along with them.

Here's a joke about our holiday, Thanksgiving, and being visited by relatives that give you trouble:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to NYC in a few years, but I only hit the classic tourist spots. (Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island)

I do have to say that, like London, touring NYC will leave you with soot (black ashes or dust) inside your nose!

I'm guessing it's from the subways?

I found the line to get to the top of the Statue of Liberty way too long, so I just stayed in the base.

Also the line to get to the top of the Empire State Building was too long so I didn't do that either. I hate waiting in lines!

If you take a tour Radio City Music Hall, you get to talk to a Rockette (the girls that kick in a long chorus line). It's not the same as seeing a show, though, they just show you around the building.

The Guggenheim museum is interesting (it's a big spiral).

Then there are the various ethnic areas of the city (Chinese, Italian, etc), where there are all kinds of restaurants. Probably it would be cool (but expensive) to go to the "London" restaurant in NYC.

Anonymous said...

About the Rockette thing, a tour guide shows you a building, and then at the end of the tour is when you meet a Rockette (although it appears that is not always guaranteed).

Candadai Tirumalai said...

People like spontaneous gestures. People are lonely (or are thought to be lonely) in large cites. Hence the "Free Hug" phenomenon.
Some months ago I saw a young man with this sign on a crowded train platform in Washington D.C. Nobody accepted his invitation, except one man who deliberately turned away at the last moment.
The United States is the land of eternal invention. Some inventions die quickly, some last a few years, and a few live for ever.

Mitsuki said...

Great :) I really like your page, i love Japan so much! I´m from Czech republic and my friend with some other people went to the streets with this "Free Hugs" labers :)

Angel said...

I'm not sure if it counts but at a convention i gave a hug to someone holding the sign. But I myself am a VERY "huggy" person. I alway hug my friends and family!

I feel bad for cultures that find hugs sexually and something you'd never do with someone unless your married or in love. Hugs are like a greeting to me. Of course I don't hug just anybody. That's creepy... I would HATE not being able to hug my family and friends.

It's going to be awkward when I make friends in Japan or any other country. Because I'll always want to hug them when I see them. I hope I'll be at least a little less hug-able when I go around the world.