DAA Daily

Japanese Women Rebel Against Valentine’s Day

Three hundred red roses sit in boxes to be sorted and delivered on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 14, 2014. The roses were sent as part of a gift set, along with a box of chocolates and a personalized note, to 100 recipients on five military installations around Okinawa as part of a Kadena Top Three Valentine's Day fundraiser. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zade C. Vadnais)

Women are rebelling against the longstanding tradition in Japan which obliges them to gift chocolates to men. On Valentine’s Day, national workers are expected to give “giri choco,” or obligatory chocolates, to their male coworkers. They are also expected to give “honmei choco” to their crushes or loved ones. Valentine’s Day in Japan got flipped upside down as a symbol of the Japanese patriarchy.

However, Japanese women are now calling out on the financially draining tradition. In a recent survey taken by a Tokyo department store shows that 60% of women will buy chocolates for themselves instead of for their male colleagues. Last Saturday, the Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular People (RAUP) staged its twelfth annual protest against “romantic capitalism” in Tokyo in an attempt to ban giri choco.

Takeshi Akimoto, a member of RAUP, said, “We’re against companies exploiting events like Valentine’s Day to push excessive consumer culture and guilt-trip people who aren’t in relationships.” Many see Valentine’s Day as an issue in Japan as chocolates in the workplace also make some employees feel that the amount of gifts they receive determines their value, and are hoping to end the Japanese tradition.

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