February 22, 2019

Japan's Most Annoying Valentine's Day Tradition

“Japanese women are pushing back against a tradition that dictates they must give chocolates to male colleagues on Valentine’s Day, with growing anger at the practice of “forced giving”.

Until recently, women in the workplace were expected to buy chocolates for their male workmates as part of a tradition called giri choco – literally, obligation chocolates.

Men are supposed to reciprocate on 14 March on White Day – an event dreamed up by chocolate makers in the early 80s to boost sales.

But there is growing evidence that giri choco is falling out of favour.

For a growing number of people, the pressure to avoid causing offence by spending thousands of yen on chocolates for coworkers is becoming intolerable. Some companies are now banning the practice, which is seen by many workers as a form of abuse of power and harassment.

A survey found that than 60% of women will instead buy chocolates as a personal treat on 14 February. More than 56% said they would give chocolates to family members, while 36% would make the same gesture towards partners or the objects of a crush.

Keeping on the right side of colleagues, however, was furthest from their thoughts, with just 35% saying they planned to hand out chocolate treats to men at their workplace, according to the poll by a Tokyo department store.”

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