January 21, 2020
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Romance in Early Japan (BEST Dating Ritual?) | History of Japan 40

Hey did you know that the Japanese in the
Heian Period had a whole dating ritual with cakes and poems and secret creepy night visits? If you think dating today is complicated,
get a load of what they did back then. The whole process started off with a matchmaker. By the way, we’re talking about the elites
in the Heian court in this video, not peasants. The matchmaker would let a man or his family
know of a lady who would be a good candidate. It’s weird to us, but they were pretty lax
about marriage between relatives. The only absolutely forbidden, taboo, what
the hell is wrong with you marriages were between a parent and child and between brother
and sister. There was a gray area, which was between stepparent
and stepchild. That was seen as wrong, but you know what,
sometimes love finds a way, and people did it anyways. Such couples encountered weird looks, but
did not encounter mobs with pitchforks. Anything else was fair game. Uncles, aunts, nephews, cousins, all perfectly
fine. Alright now both families had to look at all
kinds of factors to determine if the two were a good match. What was not a factor was the opinion of the
couple. It was very much an arranged marriage for
political, economic, or social gain. The woman’s family wanted a husband who
had good connections that would allow him to rise the ranks in court, preferably a husband
who already had a high rank. The man’s family wanted a sugar mama, a
wife from a family that had enough wealth and resources to support him in his government
career. Daughters actually became more valuable than
sons. You could marry your daughter up into a family
of much higher status. It was harder for your son to marry up because
the bride’s family usually wanted someone of a higher status than them, not some low-status
loser. The Fujiwara famously married their daughters
into the Imperial Family, allowing them control over the Heian court. Also, children were raised in the wife’s
household, giving the wife’s family significant control over the next generation. Daughters of powerful clans had a bunch of
men chasing after them. A common trope in Heian literature was the
wife battle, where multiple men would compete for a woman’s hand in marriage. You can see this in The Tale of the Bamboo
Cutter, which coincidentally I made a video about. Go watch it after this one. Okay after all the discussion and negotiation,
if each family swipes right, the matchmaker would set things up, you know gather mailing
addresses and phone numbers. And the dating ritual would commence. The whole process consisted of an initiation,
and three visits. So let’s paint a picture of our couple. Our dashing young man is Bob -bunaga. And our lovely lady is Nina -moto. Bobunaga kicks off the proceedings by writing
Ninamoto a poem with 31 syllables called a tanka (短歌). He writes something romantic like ahem… “I can’t stop thinking
About the shape of your sleeves Were it up to me
I would crawl deep inside them And only come out to pee” After experiencing that romantic, fluid inducing
poetry, Ninamoto writes a response poem. In practice, it was more common for another
member of her family to write the poem, someone who was really good at it. This response poem is no joke. Nowadays, we obsess over the meaning of a
smile emoji. Is it just a friendly smile, or is it a I-want-you-to-hold-me-down-daddy
smile? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Well, back in the Heian, they did the same
thing times a hundred. Bobunaga probes every part of that letter,
every detail is important. Is the paper of good quality? The family must be rich. Is her calligraphy ugly? She must be an ugly person. Is the poem mind blowing? She must not mind– He goes through every inch of that letter
like a detective, gathering clues about the mystery girl. If Bobunaga finds something unspeakable like
an ink smudge, he’d ghost her and move on. But the poem is pretty good, so they make
plans to secretly meet at her place at night. Let’s call this the first visit because…that’s
what it is. Now about these secret visits. The lady’s family was not supposed to know
about them. But in practice, the family knew, they just
employed the Waiter Method where they ignored the man creeping around their home while looking
directly at him. So the first night, Bobunaga creeps into Ninamoto’s
home and they sleep together. Oh I guess they talk too. He leaves early the next morning, as is customary. What happens next is critical. Ninamoto and her family wait in anticipation. And then let out a sigh when a messenger comes
with the “next-morning letter” from Bobunaga. The letter contains the usual lovey-dovey
stuff, but the fact that it exists means game on, last night went well. Ninamoto’s family even rewards the messenger
with gifts and drinks, and Ninamoto replies with her own love letter. The next night, Bobunaga visits again for
a second skirmish under the sheets, and leaves, much like the first night. More letters. On the third and most important night, Ninamoto’s
family makes these rice cakes called miyako mochi and puts them in her room. People in the Heian got married without a
big wedding or any legal paperwork. A couple was married if their friends and
families recognized them as married, that’s it. The couple did go through two small rituals
though. The rice cakes were to honor the Shinto gods
Izanagi and Izanami, who were husband and wife, also brother and sister. Eating the cakes united the couple religiously. And the next morning, the man could stay with
the lady without worry. The second ritual was eating with the wife’s
family. Ninamoto’s family organizes a small feast
and invites Bobunaga and a few of his friends over. They don’t invite Bobunaga’s parents. This occasion does not involve them. The public feast is the first time Bobunaga
meets his wife’s family. And with that, the happy couple is officially
married and he can see her openly, no more creeping about. Now if you saw the last video about the Heian
Seduction Game, you may be wondering where that fits into this dating process. Because that looked a lot different. Well, it’s the difference between a one
night stand and dating. The former was for fun times, the latter was
for a serious relationship that may lead to marriage. Of course, like today, there was overlap between
the two. What started out as fun times could lead to
something more serious, and then your life was over, nah. Actually that was how a lot of secondary marriages
happened, they grew from something less serious. Marriages to secondary wives had a similar
dating ritual, but those happened over long periods of time instead of just three nights. Whoa, we passed 50 thousand subscribers! Jeez. I can’t believe how much the channel has
grown. Thank you soo much for all your support! Couldn’t have done it without you, literally. And you guys write such nice comments. There’s actually a lot of work that goes
on behind the scenes. Your comments keep me going. They’re really important. I read all of them, and I try to respond to
as many as I can. I want to respond to all of them but it’s
impossible, I hope you understand that. Also, Lil Linfamy has leveled up to Level
6 because we surpassed another Patreon goal! He gained a new helmet. This also means I’ll disable that pesky
ad bar at the bottom. Alright we have a new Emperor patron Erin
Moriarty, child of Professor Moriarty. Welcome Erin! And the new patrons are Ebb~n~Flow she got
flow, Ruby M., and Anthony Docimo. Love you and spread the knowledge.

Otis Rodgers



  1. Linfamy Posted on May 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    6:27 We broke 50,000 subscribers! Thank you so much! <3

    Heian Seduction Game: https://youtu.be/F-xzWH_VhqQ

    Please consider supporting the channel =)
    🔸PATREON (blog, art): https://www.patreon.com/Linfamy

    🔸DONATE: https://www.paypal.me/Linfamy

  2. Sissi Xiong Posted on May 29, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Nobunaga? Ne, Bobunaga it is
    Minamoto? Nope, Ninamoto

  3. Ryousei Rossi Posted on May 30, 2019 at 5:24 am

    "I want you to hold me down daddy" oh my godddddd YES

  4. Lena Tran Posted on June 1, 2019 at 12:47 am

    “Is her calligraphy ugly?”
    “She must be ugly”
    Me: * dies *

  5. Gravity is real Posted on June 1, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Who were husband and wife also brother and sister

    Me: wait that's illegal

  6. ACHAEMENID WARRIOR Posted on June 1, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    I think you love fujiwara clan thats why you mention them in your every video.

  7. ACHAEMENID WARRIOR Posted on June 1, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    3:32 😂😂

  8. Sudipta Patel Posted on June 2, 2019 at 10:42 am

    These people had a lot of free time to waste.

  9. Henroko Posted on June 2, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    how to describe you
    your face shines as bright as sun
    my eyes can't look away
    in fact, now I am blind, shit
    so now I'm gonna need some compensation

    lol gave it my best shot

  10. Your Everyday Protagonist Posted on June 3, 2019 at 10:32 am


  11. Allan Posted on June 5, 2019 at 12:28 am

    You have got really good at this. Good for u 😀

  12. Mr Pellagra Posted on June 6, 2019 at 9:17 am

    -Bob.. uni🅱🅱🅰
    -FBI, OPEN UP!

  13. Wondering Spirit Posted on June 8, 2019 at 10:34 am

    What if there was no letter? Was she just a single mother after that?

  14. ʂυɳɳყ ɯσʅϝ Posted on June 8, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    0:53 S W E E T H O M E A L A B A M A

  15. Nicole Haley Posted on June 9, 2019 at 6:25 am

    I was looking up Japanese history and I chose many people but you were the best…I wish you and your family a blessed life

  16. Morten Kjell Reitan Posted on June 12, 2019 at 12:06 am

    In modern Japan you can marry your onichan.

  17. Lost Account Posted on June 12, 2019 at 8:54 am

    I found the channel in my reccomendations, wich was some kind of snake or 9 TALE (Sorry for the pokemon Ninetales pun/joke)

  18. madison luong Posted on June 12, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    i love mythology escpecially greek mythology

  19. Putting the "Story" in History Posted on June 13, 2019 at 6:21 am

    I was just watching a video and it said the next video is one of your videos

  20. ultraali453 Posted on June 15, 2019 at 5:24 am

    Pretty much watched all the videos.

  21. Bart Fart Posted on June 15, 2019 at 9:00 pm


  22. ooo Posted on June 18, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    It's like trying to think up names for a story.
    There was a guy let's call him… Bob, ummmm Naga. Yes Bobunaga

  23. kelly Goodman Posted on June 19, 2019 at 3:17 am

    Japanese history class failed me . Why didn't we learn about this .

  24. OHM-968692 Posted on June 19, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Beautiful random "KH قق ع" sounds

  25. Alnix 101 Forever Posted on June 20, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    I found this channel when I searched for the history of Japan…:)

  26. Josephina Egbeh Posted on June 21, 2019 at 4:17 am

    I'm thankful I wasn't alive back then(or dead in that case, 'cause I don't want to become an evil spirit)

  27. David Wilkins Posted on June 23, 2019 at 7:05 am

    Nina Moto Moto likes you

  28. Cakes & Wonderous Wonders Posted on June 24, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    5.) Bob-Bunaga Meets Nina-Moto,
    7.) He writes a chee-sy po-em,
    5.) Gets her heart a thumpin,
    7.) Pass-es the test for love-ers,
    7.) And the rest is his-sto-ry.
    (I had no ideas what yo do! I tried…! 😶😅)

  29. Cakes & Wonderous Wonders Posted on June 24, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    Love the channel! Keep on growing! 😊😄

  30. Yurima Leonor Posted on June 30, 2019 at 3:27 am

    Why was japan so sexist towards boys??? I’m lucky I was born nowa-days ;-;

  31. Lindsay Stevens Posted on June 30, 2019 at 7:38 am

    I've been binge watching videos lately. I enjoy them

  32. ThePuppets Master Posted on June 30, 2019 at 11:28 am

    No wonder Yuri form DDLC writes poems!

  33. kyanite/TheUnstoppable Menace Posted on June 30, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    When he said matchmaker it reminded me of the matchmaker in mulan

  34. navtej Dua Posted on July 1, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    I dint see ur videos for a long time now im back

  35. queen 'Araweela Posted on July 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Hold me down daddy😂😂

  36. Seva Elena Posted on July 9, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    I just saw a video on my recommendations

  37. Goldeen trashh :0 Posted on July 13, 2019 at 2:44 am

    Him: Garbage-chan, marry me fam

    her: What is up my guy, ling ling, ill gladly marry you

  38. Vipul Tiwari Posted on July 17, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Its like indian mirages 😂😅

  39. stuff Explained Posted on July 20, 2019 at 6:20 am

    I stalk you when you drink your milk
    Your face as white as silk.
    Your what I’d like to do
    When I’m in bed with my wife
    I’m thinking about you.

  40. stuff Explained Posted on July 20, 2019 at 6:20 am

    It’s not the same format it just rhymes

  41. Kawiifox Playz Posted on July 20, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    I’m so sorry

    I think moto moto likes you 😉

  42. Terribly Charismatic Duck Posted on July 22, 2019 at 3:13 am

    3:58 The Furtive Pygmy, so easily forgotten

  43. Uwuwuuw Posted on July 22, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    It’s like the swayambar in India where multiple men would compete for the princess’s hand

  44. Jannu Posted on July 23, 2019 at 10:48 am

    This is looooooonnnggg

  45. Shelli-Ann Posted on July 23, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    What about pregnancy????

  46. Weegee Posted on July 24, 2019 at 1:36 am

    ooohhhh, so thats how tinder worked back in the day

  47. Selena Constantine Posted on July 24, 2019 at 4:03 am

    You, kind sir, has just put another meaning in my life. Sincerely me who spent the whole day watching all your videos

  48. Moon Taone Posted on July 24, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    sooo tinder but harder and weirder?

  49. phuong quy Posted on July 25, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Could you start making a series about the edo period?? Plsssssssss😍

  50. Alana Dyer Posted on July 26, 2019 at 3:55 am

    1:35 waits for Fujiwara Clan to be mentioned

    1:41 Fujiwara Clan is menioned

    Its become a norm now 😂

  51. joke pi Posted on July 28, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I want you to hold me down daddy smile!?
    Nani!? There's something like that~ lol~

  52. HentaiSweetie Posted on July 31, 2019 at 2:19 am

    You're reading my comment ~

  53. Melvin Gilbert jr Posted on July 31, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    That explains so much hentai as well

  54. matthew styles Posted on August 2, 2019 at 5:49 am

    That poem made me SOOOO HARD!!!!

  55. Tobechukwu Anyanwu Posted on August 4, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Sweet home Fujiwara

  56. Awesome Rara Posted on August 4, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    0:42 ahhhh… makes sense now why in anime, manga and hentai we have siscon brothercon parentcon… and lolicon. 😂

  57. おすし次朗/Osusi Jirou Posted on August 10, 2019 at 12:24 pm


  58. Rosalie Alter-Shaw Posted on August 11, 2019 at 4:26 am

    legit writing a university paper on this so thank you for the sources <3

  59. Kastriot Krasniqi Posted on August 11, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    So you wanna tell me Japan was Alabama once?

  60. Yubi K. Posted on August 13, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Being an elite in Heian Japan seems so confusing, chaotic and nerve-racking. 😂

  61. RedButterfly Posted on August 31, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Me: watching this video
    Mom:*sees* "What's this?"
    Me: "A Japanese history thing."
    Mom:*looks at screen when the video's at 3:54* It's a blob.

  62. Gpod Joe Posted on September 2, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Do a QnA video about urself

  63. Tifa 900 Posted on September 3, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    So wife battle is what brought us to anime girls fighting for one boy XD

  64. summervivi_ Posted on September 9, 2019 at 1:18 am

    Sweet home Japan.

  65. Sarah Wanders Posted on September 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    "now a days we obsess over the meaning of a smile emoji is it just a friendly smile or a I want you to hold me down daddy smile" ……"Is the poem mind blowing? She must not mind" you're killing me smalls 😭😭😭

  66. Augie Stockinger Posted on September 26, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Love your vids

  67. Zeus 869 Posted on September 28, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    how does the tanka work

  68. CriPPleDeeP K Posted on September 29, 2019 at 4:53 am

    This traditional marriage is creeping me out. But I'm still single. Please kill me now.

  69. Itachi Sama Posted on September 29, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Izanagi and Izanami also known as husband and wife and also brother and sister (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  70. Super Ice cream Kitty Meow Meow Posted on September 30, 2019 at 4:56 am

    i found the channell bc i <3 mythology

  71. Big Lumpy Beetle Posted on September 30, 2019 at 2:34 pm


  72. Joseph Kim Posted on October 2, 2019 at 3:09 am

    When will lil limfamy come out with its debut?

  73. John Daniel Gore Posted on October 7, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Continued excellence— you earned that celebration dance

  74. Inas Sh Posted on October 16, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    how did i find your videos? well i was searching for the real 47 Ronin and liked what you had to say, although i was in a hurry and just listening to the video.. then i discovered that you talk about the old japanese culture which is brand new to me.. plus your characters look lovely and your way of telling is super.. keep up the good work

  75. Kosak Grabovsky Posted on October 20, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Did Barney Stinstson set this system up?

  76. Joel Bridge Posted on October 21, 2019 at 3:01 am

    bro bro bro we need a  Heian Period dating/life sim!!! With Wife battle min game!!!

  77. Samuel Bousfield Posted on October 21, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    The Fujiwara famously married there daughters into the imperial family

  78. M K Posted on October 22, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    what if Ninamoto gets pregnant on the first visit, but Bobunaga thinks the date sucked and ghosts her? Isn't her reputation destoyed? Will she ever find another Bobunaga?

  79. Orian Grant Posted on October 22, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    I fucking love this channel

  80. Nyah Notrealname Posted on October 24, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Peasants… Pfft.

  81. jeanne Posted on October 24, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    What if she got pregnant and then he decided not to marry her? Or what if she rejected him or wanted to reject him?

  82. Sebas Posted on October 25, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    So he could just sleep with them at least twice then ghost?

  83. Ash Posted on October 26, 2019 at 11:54 am

    I want you to hold me down daddy smile

  84. kibaliziosa483 Posted on October 26, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    The “wife battle”? That is like literally every shojo manga/ anime

  85. Dallas DeLay Posted on October 26, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    You broke 120k

  86. Ferret Queen Posted on October 28, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    I HECKING love this channel.

  87. Dai Woo Posted on October 29, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Your channel is amazing!!!!

  88. siddhesh zemse Posted on October 31, 2019 at 11:33 am

    The lady does not mind blowing candles

  89. sólveig Diðriksdóttir Posted on November 1, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Ok. Did they have birth control back ?
    and if the did not . What world have happened is if he had left her and she had goten pregnant?

  90. It’sa me mario Posted on November 2, 2019 at 5:23 am

    Me: Wow he hasn’t mentioned the Fujiwari clan yet
    Linfamy: Just like the Fujiwari clan
    Me: Goddamn it

  91. Gail Williams Posted on November 3, 2019 at 2:20 am

    I read the Tale of Heian in high school…it was weird to me…thank you for explaining things.

  92. SilverAukahzy Posted on November 3, 2019 at 7:30 am

    So basically in Heian period virginity was not an important concept? In fact, it might even be looked down upon?

  93. Jelah Paula Posted on November 7, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    How I found this channel? It's because it has something in common in anime. It's the legend behind it. It's also animated. that the thumbnail caught our eyes. (Just rambling)

  94. denny dj Posted on November 9, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Thank God I live in USA

  95. Trischa S. Posted on November 12, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    No time of the day,
    I could forget the gentle folds,
    formed by the fabric,
    gathered all around your feet,
    I wish I could be beneath.

  96. moss pawz Posted on November 14, 2019 at 3:41 am

    Their are still match makers, im native american and we have mstch maker's, but its optional nowadays. Japan also still has match makers.