05:54 GMT +318 July 2019
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    Japanese Women Rebel Against 14 February ‘Obligatory Chocolate’ Tradition

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    The tradition of giving obligatory chocolate gifts to male colleagues and friends is increasingly perceived as a stress and a financial burden in Japan, pushing more and more companies to discontinue the practice.

    More women in Japan seem to have abandoned the tradition of obligatory gifts of chocolate for male colleagues, according to Japan Today.

    A survey conducted by Japan's ANN News website revealed that some 35 percent of male and female workers consider the tradition to be a form of "power harassment," the report says.

    Another study by a Tokyo department store cited by Fox News revealed that 60 percent of women will buy chocolates for themselves on 14 February. Meanwhile, 36 percent of women said they would gift their significant other or partner with sweets, and only 35 percent of women planned to hand out chocolate to their male colleagues.

    Valentine's Day in Japan has its national specifics. On 14 February, women traditionally give their male colleagues an obligatory chocolate gift, known as "giri choco," or, literally, "obligatory chocolate." Their significant others receive "honmei choco," or "true feelings chocolate," the newspaper says.

    According to tradition, men are supposed to return the favor with a small gift one month later, on 14 March, called "White Day" in Japan. However, since women have to lead the way, they feel pressured to make sure all the right friends and colleagues receive gifts, so that no offense is caused. Besides, buying all those sweets is a burden on the wallet, the report says.

    Many companies in Japan have banned the practice altogether, the report says, since the discussion regarding the controversy surrounding the tradition increasingly involves its associations with abuse of power.

    "Before the office ban, we had to worry about things like how much is appropriate to spend on each chocolate and where we draw the line in whom we give the chocolates to, so it's good that we no longer have this culture of forced giving," one woman from a company that introduced such ban told ANN News.

    The controversy has even caused Godiva, a major Belgian chocolate producer, to issue a booklet asking the women of Japan to stop buying so much chocolate on 14 February, Sora News 24 reported last year.


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