Valentine’s Day gifts in Japan are usually one-directional, with women giving chocolate to men. You might think the people leading any kind of counter-movement against this would be the girls, fed up with having to buy or make chocolates for everyone in the office. But a new survey shows it’s the guys who are unhappy, with 90 percent saying they don’t care or would rather the girls didn’t bother.

The survey asked 200 men aged 25-34 about giri-choco, the “obligation chocolates” Japanese women give to co-workers or other men they are not romantically involved with. Of the 200 guys surveyed, 53 percent said they didn’t care if they got giri-choco or not, and 37 percent said they’d actually rather not get it.

It seems the main reason giri-choco is unpopular with men is that it’s a gift that comes with strings attached. Japanese women may do the giving on Valentine’s Day, but guys are expected to reciprocate one month later on White Day – often with a gift worth three times as much as the one they received. That’s not a bad return on investment for the girls, but we can see why it wouldn’t be popular with Japanese men. Among the 53 percent who didn’t care whether they received giri-choco or not, many guys commented that they didn’t like sweets anyway.

▼Say “I do this out of obligation only” with hand-decorated chocolate nuggets.


The Japanese custom of giving Valentine’s gifts to multiple people has the potential for embarrassing misunderstandings, too. What about the guy who mistakes his obligation-chocolate for the real deal? Honmei-choco, the stuff you give to the guy you’re actually into and which literally means “real feeling chocolate”, is supposed to be more expensive and fancy-looking, but it’s not always easy to tell. (Depressingly, this also means that the expensive store-bought product is supposed to indicate real depth of feeling, unlike the cute home-made chocolates given to guys you don’t even like).

▼A fancy gift! … but what if it’s only giri-choco?


Japanese netizens (presumably male!) commented on the survey in droves:

I like getting the chocolates, but I hate having to buy every girl something in return.

Honmei-choco is even worse, because you have to buy something super expensive on White Day!

To any guy that’s complaining: you blatantly just thought a girl was into you before you realised it was only giri-choco!!

Well ladies, you could always buck tradition and not bother this year. But, before you vow to only give chocolates to your girl buddies, spare a thought for that last 10 percent of guys, who said they’d be “sad and lonely” if they didn’t get any chocolates at all.

Source: Hachimakikou
Images: Wikimedia Commons (1, 2, 3), edited by RocketNews24