Turns out I was wrong about 'giri choco'

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be...well, another typical winter day. It'll be a mix of sun and clouds and a high of around 10C. It's going to be pretty much the same all week, till Sunday anyway when it looks like it might rain...I hope not, we were thinking of going to Sanzoku after the race...

Valentine’s Day in Japan is more about the chocolate than it is about romance. But just as there are all sorts of romantic feelings, from a simple crush to a love that you feel from the bottom of your heart, so too are there many different classes of Valentine’s day chocolate in Japan.

In terms of volume, most of the chocolate purchased and given on Valentine’s Day is what’s known as giri choco, literally “obligation chocolate.” Giri choco doesn’t carry any significance of romantic love, but is instead given by women to their male coworkers and colleagues as a social nicety.

▼ Delicious duty


The Japanese division of multinational corporation 3M recently polled Japanese women about their giri choco plans, finding that out of 450 respondents, 39.8 percent planned on giving giri choco to a coworker this February. When asked why, the majority, 59.2 percent, said they’d be doing so to show their thanks for the general help and support they’d received from male coworkers throughout the year.

44.7 percent of also said they felt giri choco helped promote smoother workplace communication, and 18.4 also cited a simple desire to make the recipient happy as a reason. And down at number four on the list, 7.8 percent said they’d be giving giri choco this year simply because their female officemates were, and they felt going doing likewise was the least awkward option.

Regardless of the impetus, the average giri choco gift isn’t terribly expensive. 59.2 percent of the giri choco-giving respondents said they’ll be spending less than Y500 per person they plan to give some to, with another 34.1 percent budgeting between Y501 to Y1,000 per gift.

Also, while giri choco is commonly given at the office, women aren’t necessarily expected to give some to every male employee of the company, Often the gift-giving range is limited to teammates or people in the same division, and 68.2 percent of the gift-giving respondents will be buying giri choco for only one to five people, and only 12.8 percent will be handing out sweets to more than 10 guys.

Sifting through all those numbers means that many women are likely to be spending Y2,500 or less for their giri choco activities, which isn’t a huge outlay. Still, hopefully their male coworkers will remember to return the favor one month later when White Day rolls around.

It's kind of true, I guess. When you consider that there are some terrible things that go on at the workplace; things like sexism, racism, ageism, and bullying...worrying about giri-chocolates doesn't sound like such a big deal, does it? Especially if you're only dropping Y2,500.

What do you think? Do people who complain about it really mean it? Or are they just looking for something to complain about?

Have a great day!

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