It’s the day of the graduation ceremony. Under the falling pink sakura blossoms, a young boy hands a girl the second button of his school uniform. His act holds a special meaning – it is equal to a heartfelt confession of his love for her.

This situation might be common in anime, manga and Japanese drama serials, but what is its significance exactly? Let’s take a deeper look into this long-running yet timeless graduation tradition.

According to tenki.jp, the legend unfolded in 1960 from a scene in the movie “Konpeki no Sora Tooku”. The main character, enlisted into a kamikaze unit during the war, grieves as he knows he might never be able to return home alive. Wishing to give a final present to a girl he likes, he chose to give her the second button on his military uniform. As for why he chose the second button and not the first, the reason is because its absence would be less noticeable to his superiors.

Another theory as to why this tradition exists is that the five buttons of a gakuran each hold different meanings. The first button represents oneself, the second represents one’s most beloved person, the third one’s best friends…so on and so forth. Therefore, giving your crush your second button conveys the message that you think of her as the person most precious to you.


button2 -2



While reading up about these interesting stories, I also happened to chance upon the answer to our perhaps biggest question – does the second button confession really work? Japanese marriage specialisation company Partner Agent conducted a poll among 500 women from various age groups and asked them about their experiences. Take a look at their findings:


Q: Did you know about this tradition?


1translated 2translated


Q: Have you been confessed to before using this method?






Compared to the percentage of people who know about it, only a small number have actually experienced it before. It also looks like teenagers nowadays might not be so keen on this fad, with only 9% of them having received a second button. This might possibly be because Japanese schools nowadays are shifting from wearing gakuran to blazers as their code of attire, making it difficult for students to carry out the second button tradition.

So what happens after their crush accepts the button? Here are more numbers:


Q: What happened after receiving a second button?




While nearly half of the respondents reported that nothing much really happened after that, close to 30% say that they started going out or even got married in the end. Personally, I’m quite surprised that the success rate is so high, since the whole thing just feels so romantic and dreamlike. Well, it just shows that I’m a pessimist when it comes to things like this =P

So what do you think about the second button tradition?  To the girls, would you feel happy if you received a button? To the guys, would you pluck up your courage and confess with it?


Source: PR Times