A shock announcement from an avid supporter of Japan’s giri-choco tradition.
Valentine’s Day in Japan is a very different celebration compared to overseas, as only women are expected to give gifts of sweets or chocolate on 14 February (with a return gift from men a month later on White Day), and not only to the object of their affections, but to male and female colleagues and friends as well.
These so-called “giri choco”, or obligation chocolates, have become a controversial topic in recent years, with chocolatier Godiva ruffling feathers with a full-page newspaper ad last year, asking Japan to reconsider the unusual, and often stressful and costly, practice.
However, Yuraku Confectionery Co., the makers of one of Japan’s most beloved chocolate brands, Black Thunder, has always been a staunch supporter of the giri choco tradition.
▼ Black Thunder
Since the mid-’90s, the company has been promoting Black Thunder as the perfect giri chocolate for Valentine’s Day, pointing out that the tasty but unpretentious chocolates (usually priced at less than 100 yen [US$0.93]) are a great way to show your appreciation without having anyone mistake it for a declaration of true love.
▼ So when our reporter was given this leaflet while walking the streets of Tokyo the other day, it stopped him dead in his tracks.
▼ The headline read “Black Thunder suspends giri choco?!”
▼ And this was our reporter’s reaction to the news.
In Japan, Black Thunder has become so synonymous with giri choco that our reporter couldn’t fathom a Valentine’s Day without it. Lost for words and confused by the headline, he read the details on the leaflet, which had been produced by Yuraku Confectionery, to find out exactly