The modesty widely viewed as a Japanese trademark was again apparent in a recently released survey on kissing, with only 29 percent of respondents rating their kisses an 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10.

The annual romance survey by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., a Canada-based publisher of romance novels, was conducted on 3,598 people aged 18 and above in 18 countries, with the theme this time being kissing.

Worldwide, 70 percent of those surveyed give their kisses at least an 8, and 24 percent give themselves a 10. However, in Japan, where 200 people were surveyed, only 10 percent of the respondents say their kisses are perfect, with the largest number of people — 46 percent — opting for the more “average” marks of 5, 6 and 7.

Of the Japanese men surveyed, 10 percent say their kisses rate between 1 and 4, in contrast to the global figure of 4 percent. For women, 4 percent of all respondents rate their kisses between 1 and 4, while the corresponding figure for their Japanese counterparts is 15 percent.

The survey shows that 65 percent of Norwegian men say their kisses rate a 10, with the 48 percent for Italy a distant second followed by Britain with 38 percent. But when those who give themselves a 9 are added, Italian men come out on top with 72 percent, nudging ahead of the 68 percent total for Norway.

For women, Britain leads the field with 47 percent saying their smooches are worth a 10, followed by Australia and Mexico each with 33 percent.

Meanwhile, when asked to rate their partners’ kisses, 57 percent of the replies from Japan fall between a 5 and a 7.

Although the international survey shows that 69 percent of pollees give their partner a score of 8 or higher, the corresponding figure for Japan is 27 percent.

Thirty-two percent of respondents in both Norway and Canada say that their partner’s kiss deserves a 10, but 86 percent of Hungarians give marks of 8 or higher, followed by Norwegians and Italians with 80 percent each.

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