Do Japanese people understand the meaning of soulmates? Because I saw some tweets and people were confused and even disappointed. Like wtf? Anyway can you please write your own understanding of being soulmates?
I’m probably not the most qualified to answer this, so maybe @fencer-x wouldn’t mind chiming in a bit? But from what I know and have seen it looks like the concept of soulmates in Japan isn’t that different from the West. I don’t really feel comfortable getting into how extensive the Japanese understanding of soulmate is.
For what it’s worth, I have seen zero negative response on my TL. So, I’m not sure where those people are coming from.
As for me, personally? I feel fandom, as a general whole, not just any specific fandom, has sort of taken the idea of soul mate and made it something concretely romantic. However, the concept is that of someone who perfectly completes you, is your other half, and while that often has a romantic end, it’s not in the definition. A soul mate can be a romantic partner, most often the concept is used romantically, but it can also be a best friend.
Have you ever heard the What’s A Soulmate? audio? That’s basically my perfect definition of a soulmate.
As for Kubo’s use of soulmate and it being related to the rings Yuuri and Victor exchanged, that’s a pretty heavy romantic implication. The ring exchange scene itself is already clearly romantic and to try and say it’s just friendly is pretty ignorant, imo, especially with the knowledge that there is no discrimination of love in the YOI world. To say, on top of that, that those rings are a symbol that Yuuri and Victor are soulmates? That’s the romantic concept. Flat out. They are two pieces of one whole, souls meant for each other, a perfect union.