With Valentine’s Day approaching, the Tokyo-based candy company says “You do you, and we’ll do us.”

Earlier this month, the Japanese division of Belgian chocolate maker Godiva made the very unusual move of publicly pleading with the people of Japan to stop buying so much chocolate. Specifically, the advertisement, with its statement attributed to Godiva Japan president and Parisian native Jerome Chouchan, was taking aim at the practice of giri choco, or “obligation chocolate,” in which Japanese women give gifts of chocolate as a platonic thank-you to male coworkers and social associates on Valentine’s Day.

Godiva criticized giri choco as being a burden on Japanese women and encouraged men to vocally disavow any desire for giri choco from their female officemates. But while detractors may deride giri choco as a meaningless gesture and costly hassle, not everyone is so critical. Some Japanese women are quite happy to participate in the established social nicety of giving an edible thank-you gift on February 14 (and to receive a gift in return on White Day, March 14), and so one Japanese confectioner is softly but firmly firing back at Godiva’s anti-giri choco campaign.

Black Thunder is a budget line of chocolate filled with cocoa-flavored cookie bits and made by Tokyo-based Yuraku Confectionery. The official Black Thunder Twitter account recently posted the following tweet:

It seems like a lot of people are talking about a certain advertisement(‘-‘*)

You do you, and we’ll do us.

Everyone has different ways of thinking, and that’s fine. At Yuraku Confectionary, we support the culture of taking an opportunity to say thanks to someone for all the little kindnesses they’ve shown you, just like we always have.

Tweeted along with the ad is a photo of a Black Thunder sales display, and the bold text written along the front of the stand states:

Chocolate that you can immediately tell is giri choco.

See, while Black Thunder is tasty, it’s also incredibly cheap, selling for less than 100 yen (US$0.90) a piece. Just about everyone likes its balanced, straightforward sweet taste, and you can buy it in pretty much every convenience store and supermarket in Japan, so it’s not like it requires a special shopping trip to some fancy chocolatier with only one location in the entire greater Tokyo area.

In other words, it’s basically the perfect giri choco, and it even has the added bonus of being so remarkably unpretentious that there’s no way anyone will misinterpret it as a declaration of true love.

▼ Black Thunder

As a matter of fact, Black Thunder has embraced its image as absolutely nothing more (or less) meaningful than giri choco for some time now. In 2015, the brand even put up a large-scale advertisement in Shinjuku Station’s underground walkway, one of the most coveted advertising spaces in Japan.

▼ “Chocolate that you can immediately tell is giri choco.”

Black Thunder’s latest reaffirmation of its support of, and usefulness as, giri choco was warmly received by Japanese Twitter users, who commented:

“It’s like Godiva is saying ‘Hey, don’t run yourself ragged over something like giri choco,’ while Black Thunder is saying ‘If you’re having trouble picking out giri choco, we’ve got just the thing.’”

“I like Black Thunder’s elegant, down-to-earth way of thinking.”

“I love when they run their giri choco ads.”

“Black Thunder is chocolate that won’t cause any misunderstandings.”

“No one gives Godiva as giri choco anyway, so it’s like Godiva is butting in to show off and say ‘See how great we are for understanding your plight?’”

While we won’t know how extensive, if any, an influence Godiva’s ad has had until Valentine’s Day comes, there’s virtually no chance that the high-end confectioner’s criticism is going to completely eliminate the practice of giri choco. And for all those who choose to say thanks in that way, Black Thunder will be there to lend a hand.

Source: Twitter/@Black_Thunder_
Top image: Wikipedia/Ronjones
Insert image: Wikipedia/Boneyard90
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he highly recommends the ironically named White Black Thunder white chocolate version.

[ Read in Japanese ]