Are you dreading Valentine’s Day? Don’t you just hate the forced feelings of love and being pressured to buy gifts? So is a group of Japanese activists.
The Kakumei-teki Himote Doumei, which translates to The Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men, is speaking for the common folk. Every year they host an anti-Valentine’s event in Shibuya. These brave folks even went out during Japan’s cold snap, showing their dedication to the cause! While the Alliance largely consists of men, plenty of women have joined their protests — which also speaks out against Christmas Eve.
Led by Takayuki Akimoto, the group argues that Valentine’s is nothing more than “romantic capitalism” that is peddled by candy makers. You see, Japan has a tradition where women give “obligation chocolate” to the men in their lives. This includes family, friends, lovers, and co-workers — making the practice expensive! Men are expected to return the favor on White Day, which is held on March 14.
Recent years has seen companies and schools avoiding pushing the practices to avoid awkwardness — what if someone doesn’t receive anything and how expensive should a gift be? Naturally, the Alliance has taken credit for undermining the tradition. They have been protesting for 12 years now.
Akimoto and the Alliance aren’t against romance per se, but they oppose “romantic capitalism.” Valentine’s Day, White Day, and Christmas Eve are considered romantic holidays in Japan and plenty of companies push people to purchase gifts to show their love.
It seems tongue-in-cheek, but the group argues that people’s love shouldn’t be judged by material gifts. They also argue that it’s wrong to make fun of unpopular people. The lack of chocolate can do that.
While it seems silly on the surface, Akimoto and his group do raise some interesting points. Is it really necessary to push purchasing chocolate to express one’s love?