Valentine’s Day is a vile holiday where people in love pretend to be in more love by shoving it in lonely peoples face. It’s absolutely dreadful but it can be worse if you’re forced to give chocolates to a co-worker. In Japan, women are responsible for the gift giving on Valentines Day, handing out “honmei choco” or “true feelings chocolate” to their boyfriends, “giri choco” or “obligation chocolate” to their male coworkers, and “tomo choco” or “friend chocolate” to their female friends, reports Japan Today. Japanese women aren’t against giving chocolates on Valentine’s Day but they really want to get rid of “giri choco.” They rather spend their hard-earned cash on someone they love like themselves, or their families, or their significant others.
To be fair, the men are supposed to give back and buy women chocolate on March 14 called White Day. But the peer pressure to spend thousands of yen on some bum male co-worker to not cause offense is for the birds. This outrage has caused some companies to ban the practice outright citing possible harassment and abuse of power.
“Before the ban, we had to worry about things like how much is appropriate to spend on each chocolate and where we draw the line in who we give chocolates to, so it’s good that we no longer have this culture of forced giving,” one said according to Japan Today.
A recent survey found that only 35% of women planned to give out chocolates to their male co-workers this Valentines. 60% of the women surveyed planned on buying chocolates but only giving them to people close to them like a boyfriend or a family member, reports The Guardian.
Sensing the backlash many chocolate makers are advertising their support for the women. Godiva Chocolates put out an ad out last year asking businesses not to force their female employees to buy chocolates for people they did not want to buy for. “Valentine’s Day is a day when people convey their true feelings, not coordinate relationships at work,” the ad said. So it looks like “giri choco” will soon die out and rightfully so but it still beats other Japanese business traditions like dunking employees head in a boiling hot pot.