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[flagged] Japanese women push back against Valentine's tradition of 'obligation chocolate' (theguardian.com)
23 points by pseudolus 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments





> Men are supposed to reciprocate on 14 March on White Day – an event dreamed up by chocolate makers in the early 80s to boost sales.

Japan seems to have been especially susceptible to the power of suggestion by commercial entities. It was also the case with diamonds [1]

> Until 1959 the importation of diamonds had not even been permitted by the postwar Japanese government. When the [marketing] campaign began in 1968, less than 5 percent of Japanese women getting married received a diamond engagement ring. By 1972 the proportion had risen to 27 percent. By 1978, half of all Japanese women who were married wore a diamond on their ring finger. And, by 1981, some 6o percent of Japanese brides wore diamonds.

[1] https://edwardjayepstein.com/diamond/prologue.htm


This is the key quote. Why is this article trying to make it seem like women are getting the short end of the stick? As far as I can tell men and women buy the same amount of chocolates. Also, they say that women are spending thousands of yen ... that’s like 20 dollars. This article is filled with click bait deception and frankly it’s garbage.

If you ever get married, buy a real ring from Tiffany’s, have the stone removed, sell it, and have it re-set with zirconium.


You can't resell a diamond for anything close to the price you pay for it. Just buy a ring with no stone, and then have it set with the stone of your choice.

This is a much better choice. Before proposing to my wife, I used Etsy to have a ring custom made out of platinum and set with an 8mm moissanite. It’s beautiful and was a tiny fraction the price of what a similar looking diamond would have cost.

Or simply don't waste money on a stone at all.

> Why is this article trying to make it seem like women are getting the short end of the stick?

IMO it does not. It clearly states that the marketing campaign is targeted at both sexes.


Also the semi-recent tradition of ordering a bucket of KFC for Christmas Day http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20161216-why-japan-celebrat...

It definitely seems like things that are presumed to be western traditions have a sort of cultural gravity to them in Japanese marketing; similar to French things in the USA.

I don't get why you think this is uniquely Japanese. Do you think western Valentines Day and diamonds aren't equally the result of marketing campaigns? Diamonds as a wedding ring was not the norm in the 1800s. Engagement rings a nonsensical idea until recently. And Valentines Day does not have particular cultural or religious significance in the west. Christmas, sure. But not Valentines day.

Married Japanese folks only rarely wear their wedding rings, generally speaking, and the same is true for most East Asians.

I work in Tokyo. According to my work mates, wearing one could be seen as a form of bragging, especially some decades back. There's even a word for "speaking a bit too fondly about one's girlfriend/lover/wife in front of others": 惚気(noro-ke).

With 7 billion people on the planet, there's bound to be some cultural growing pains as we sort out which traditions make sense on a large scale and which don't. Happy to hear this one is falling out of favor. It sounds like a not great practice.

We cannot protest everything. This is exhausting.

Agreed there’s tons of these types of things and the sheer volume of it feels absolutely exhausting.

Imagine how women feel.


Unless you happen to be a Japanese woman who works somewhere that honors this tradition I don’t see how this can exhaust you.

I think he's saying that having to face a reality he would rather ignore via no protest is exhausting.

I don't understand this comment.

You want women to be forced to buy chocolates for their male colleagues ?


I’m not really a fan of people feeling compelled to spend money for romantic gestures in general, so I’m pretty okay with this.

Previously, self proclaimed ugly single guys protested it too.

I’d like to point out that “thousands of yen” is “tens of dollars”.

Each. For every giri (obligation) chocolate. You would need a plenty of those. And if it is something more serious like friendship or fondness, yet more.



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