To show affections to ladies, men usually spend on gifts, especially chocolates and roses. Every year today on Valentine’s Day, men try to impress and win the hearts of ladies through elaborate gifts and expensive dinners.
It is natural and a social norm for guys to do that.
Except in Japan.
In one of the most populated countries in the world, Japanese women are the ones who buy chocolates for the husband or lover. According to a report on Straits Times, the custom stretches back to the late 1950s by a firm called Mary Chocolate.
Mary Chocolate Co. says on its website that it started Japan’s tradition of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in the late 1950s. Until then, women approaching men had been frowned upon. However, Mary Chocolate rolled out a heart-shaped chocolate with the message: “Girls, Confess Your Love to Your Guys. This Is a Once-a-Year Occasion.”
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The report also wrote that there are female japanese interviewees which thought that “women were supposed to give chocolates”, not the other way round.
“I wish I were receiving them, but it’s not happening in Japan,” Ms Sayaka Aizawa, a 29-year-old housewife said.
This is affirmed by Tokyo’s Matsuzakaya department store’s employee Chiyuki Daido, whom shared that there are many women customers buying chocolate for themselves or for their female friends this year.
Japan is Asia’s largest market for chocolate, estimated at US$4 billion (S$5 billion)-a-year. Apparently, a lot of those money are from female consumers. The demand is not slowly down too: cocoa processing in Asia increased 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 as consumption of chocolate-based confectionery and beverages increased. The so-called grind, an indication of demand, rose to 170,684 metric tons from 155,237 tons a year earlier, said Singapore-based Cocoa Association of Asia.
Of course, Japanese males are not left off the hook, as they are supposed to wait one month to reciprocate during White Valentine’s Day on March 14.
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