Dead fish kisses


Can’t grown ups have press kisses? :joy:
I don’t think they should be eating each other’s lips or face all of the time.


Yes but ALL the ones in CLOY are press - One good smooch - COME ON BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!



Perspective from a Korean-American who grew up in Korea when I was younger.

The “dead fish” or “pressed-lips” kiss scenes are not strange to me at all, and it actually seems natural. I can virtually hear/see the gasp or tsks or shaking your heads. :wink:

I know Korea has changed so much past 30 years or so, and passionate kiss/love scenes (both on TV and in real life) are becoming more common and accepted.

But I grew up in an era where there was absolutely no PDA (public display of affection). I don’t believe any of us (people in my generation) has ever seen our parents hug (let alone kiss!) in front of us or see random strangers displaying any form of PDA. I remember one day when one of the sunbae unnis that I know was telling us a story about how while she was walking by a dark alley, she heard a couple talking in a hushed voice, and then she actually heard the sound of a peck! Dun-dun-dun!! That was literally the juiciest “dirty” story we heard at that time! lol

Kissing scenes were never shown on TV. If there was some kind of romantic relationship forming, the ML and FL may hug and their faces will slowly get closer to each other and when their faces are about 2 inches apart (~5 cm), the scene will be cut abruptly and they move on to the next scene. So the viewers can just assume that they must have kissed.

Then in the early 80s, I was watching some Korean drama and this was the first time the ML and FL’s lips actually met for less than 1 second to show the actual kiss. Well, it was more like a quick peck, but I was still SO SHOCKED that they actually broadcasted it! I don’t remember when I first saw open mouth kissing (aka “French kiss”) on TV, but my initial reaction was that it was pretty disgusting to show that. Like who wants to see some actors’ tongues working that way?!

I know that Korea is a lot more westernized and open about this kind of things now. But even now, there’s some stigma about participating in passionate kiss/love scenes. It’s more acceptable for the guys, but if the girl is a really good kisser, then some may see that girl as being easy and “too experienced.” I think a lot of FLs in the dramas are supposed to be naive and innocent and not have a lot of success in their romantic lives before meeting their destined love of their life. So they can’t be too eagerly participating in the kissing scenes. They need to let the ML take charge and they need to show they have no idea what to do. It’s almost like their innocence is being taken away, and it can’t be rushed. I still think pressing lips kiss, without opening your mouth, is romantic, too.

Regarding the “dead fish” look: I believe it’s portraying the shock the girl is feeling when she is being kissed (maybe for the first time in the drama). So instead of “enjoying” it, she is too shocked about it. It’s especially true if the FL is not mentally ready to commit to the ML yet.

Also as Korean actresses, they have to be acting with many different male actors in different dramas, and if they kiss “deeply” so much with so many guys (albeit it’s just acting), it might affect her real relationship. I know, I know. Some of you may want to protest and say, she is just doing her job and you shouldn’t date/marry her if you are bothered by that! But I am just telling you that’s how it is.

Korea is still a very conservative country and not everyone participate in physical intimacy until they become older.

The funny thing is, although Koreans in Korea are “progressing” more, Korean-Americans are even more conservative in many ways. You can see Steven Yuen doing the “dead fish” kissing in a popular American show. He is just portraying how “shocked” he is at the beautiful girl’s advance on him, that’s totally his “Korean-ness” coming out of him. :smile:

It was actually really funny and interesting to see/read the viewers demand better/longer/earlier/deeper/passionate/steamier kissing scenes when I first joined Viki and started reading the Timed Comments. The pace was perfectly fine for me, but the international viewers were being so impatient! At least that’s what I thought! lol

Some of the latter shows (like Queen Inhyun’s Man & What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim) showed really good kissing scenes and I know the viewers were ecstatic about them. I didn’t mind it, either. But I would not have felt comfortable if I were watching those dramas with my family. Luckily my family weren’t interested in K-dramas until last year when we were quarantined at home and had nothing better to do. So we watch more as a family now. But my husband fast forwards all the steamy/passionate scenes when our teens watch with us. He even comments, what’s with these K-dramas that are showing too much now?! lol And we are the type who actually hug and even kiss (actually a peck - or “pressing lips” according to you all :wink: ) in front of our kids all the time.

Welp, that’s it from me. :slight_smile:

Is it real or a drama thing

So compared to American TV - I love kdramas and even steamier J-dramas because WELP they are CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN compared to what I have seen - I no longer watch American TV. I love that the kisses are getting better in kdrama! But I totally understand your perspective - thank you for your comments - I will respect the surprised kiss more often now!!!

but his movie Late Autumn

Binnie can KISS! And the longest I believe almost in cinematic history - like 6 min or something
1:28 sec in


198915470_4232198516830550_2256481372724223266_n The dead fish kiss is strange culturally considering what you are subject to see in K-Pop …


Joo Ji-Hoon 주지훈 How To Fight & Kiss like wild Hyena (Korean Drama) [MV] NEFFEX - Dangerous - YouTube

This from Hyena was anything BUT a dead fish …


Movies are a completely different ballgame. K-dramas are more geared towards family watching, where as K-movies can go to the other extremes. I personally don’t really care for a lot of Korean movies.


K-pop (featuring Idol groups and “younger” solo artists) is a relatively new phenom, as opposed to K-dramas that have been around even in my parents generation. I actually find some of the K-pop costumes and dance moves pretty distasteful. And even in the modern K-pop, although the way they dress and dance is highly suggestive, they don’t actually show the actual kiss or love scenes, and I think that makes a difference in Korean viewers. (I know, you don’t have to agree with it. :slight_smile: )
If you watch/listen to any of the older Korean singers, they wear suits or other formal clothes or Hanbok and usually just stand still while they sing. Even those who do “dance,” they mostly just sway back and forth.

Here’s an example of a famous “dance singer” back in the days. If you fast forward, you will see her swaying back and forth (at around 21 or 28:20 min mark) or bopping up and down (at around 29 min) a little.


I really appreciate your insight :smile:

Haha my husband does that too and we’re just watching it by ourselves (we’re both millennials) :rofl:.


Understatement. I can name two movies that left my mouth wide open. “Casa Da Amore: Exclusive for the Ladies” and What Men Want …Not what I expected since I had seen K-Drama


Ha! Sounds like two more movies that I’ll want to avoid! :wink:


Some still have some “hot” imagination like in Protect the Boss which is 10 years old :wink:
If you have seen Jaejoong in “Triangle” there are also few funny scenes… and fish kisses…


They are …you have been warned, truly the other side of the spectrum. However, when the Korean movies go ‘deep’ on you , they create cinematic masterpieces like Parasite and Ms. Baek …


So I love 'A Man and a Woman" with Gong Yoo! I know there was some scenes in it that might bother people - I did not see the movie as anything but a masterpiece in the depth that it went into the lives of people who live with and have children with special needs. I cried for over an hour after watching the movie. I am trained to work with children with Autism and the movie just really touched me with the sacrifices that the families and they had to make. Gong Yoo is a beautiful actor


I’ve seen (on youtube) concert videos where two male band members deep kiss one another, with tongue and all. They say it is because of “fan service” and I find it distasteful too. I mean, being gay is one thing, and that’s their sacrosanct right, but faking being gay to cater to the sick fantasies of schoolgirl fans? That’s first of all disrespectful to real gays, who are stigmatized and bullied in Korea. And that sort of thing done as part of a concert would be distasteful even if it were real.

That’s what I’m not comfortable with. That it’s always the girl who is supposed to be naive and innocent and inexperienced at the age of 29-29 (that’s the supposed age of most modern k-drama heroines). Whereas it’s perfectly okay for the guy to be experienced. It’s the double standards that piss me off. So where did the guy get his experience? With “bad” girls? With prostitutes, taken there for the first time by his elder brother or father, as they did in my country when I was a teenager?
I would have liked a differentiation according to context.

  1. Both guy and girl don’t know what to do if they are teenagers (school dramas),
  2. inexperienced girl doesn’t know what to do but catches on because of following the lead of her partner
  3. they both know what to do when they are near their thirties and it’s not important for the drama’s sake to imply that she never had a boyfriend.

Better yet, the theatre fake passionate kiss. I was taught this when I worked in the theatre. The man turns you in such a way and leans over you so that everyone looking from a certain angle thinks you’re kissing passionately, when in reality you are not even touching. And it has to be done that way, otherwise your makeup will smear and be horrendous in the rest of the scene.
But, in the context of this sort of kiss, the girl could very well hug the man (NOT the man’s coat!!!), wrap her arms around his shoulders, caress his hair, do things that imply she’s happy with it and it’s not a forced kiss.
The implied innocence of the girl, the surprise kiss, can also be taken as a forced kiss, and that idea is really offputting to my Western sensibilities.

Same with sex scenes. I don’t expect to be shown a sex scene, but I expect to be shown in some way that these two thirtyish adults are not just holding hands when they’ve been dating for a year already. You can show the start and then the bunch of clothes near the bed - this is actually used in k-drama. You can show a fireplace (Hollywood solution). You can do it in a masterful way as in Secret Love Affair. You can do it in many ways without showing but implying. And then show that the morning after there is a bit of awkwardness but also the two feel more comfortable with touching each other casually. Little details that tell the story, without showing.
All this would be better than what is shown most of the time.
And the surprise doesn’t need to be shown with bulging wide-open eyes. This is too crude, it has to go.


[Spoilers Ahead]

One Spring Night actually showed mature adults with regard to sex, and wasn’t salacious in any way, Because it is My First Life was too, as there was only the fish eyed kiss scene where the guy was caught off guard, but it went miles into societal imbalances of expectations of women in Korea, the stigma of a divorced woman who was married to an abuser ( physical , mental and for God’s sake, it showed marital rape ) , the only weird part was the scene where the FL somehow got turned on by the guy’s ex …

But these dramas don’t take off as much, and I can only assume the Korean female audience is seeking some escapism with the rich Oppa / Poor girl thing.


While writing a comment on the top right next to the emoji - you have “Options”. You only need to mark the text with spoiler and use “blur spoiler”, it is that easy.
Maybe you want to try?


Thanks, I wondered that as soon as I submitted


Thanks for sharing your cultural perspective and these anecdotes. Very very interesting stuff.

The dead fish kisses made me uncomfortable when I first got into Kdramas because it seemed like the open-eyed individual (usually the FL) was not consenting. I could never tell if they actually had feelings until they said it out loud. When they confessed, I thought it was hard to believe (maybe even bad acting or writing) because they never acted like it. Now I see how much of a cultural difference it is. I was used to a more direct form of expressing feelings.

The idea of a woman needing to be innocent and not knowing what to do in a drama is also very fascinating. Like the rest of the world, Korea is very much a patriarchal society. Maybe even more so given what I read about Korean society’s views on feminism and women’s issues as a whole. Now I see how groundbreaking it really is when dramas portray women not shying away skinship and sex.

Thanks again for the insight.