Godiva takes swipe at Japan’s obligation chocolate king, Tokyo chocolatier fights fire with smile

Message from Belgian confectioner is a bolt from the blue, but the makers of Black Thunder are only too happy to play along.

Almost exactly one year ago the Japanese branch of Belgian chocolatier Godiva made a point of letting Japan know how it feels about the country’s practice of giri choco. Also known as “obligation chocolate,” giri choco are the sweets that women in Japan give to platonic male acquaintances, primarily coworkers, on Valentine’s Day, as a general-purpose thank-you for any help they’ve provided over the past year.

On February 1, 2018, Godiva took out a one-page newspaper ad trying to convince Japan to drop the giri chocolate practice. In response, Japanese company Yuraku Confectionery, makers of Black Thunder, Japan’s most unabashedly popular obligation chocolate, issued a statement saying “You do you, and we’ll do us,” and that Yuraku is happy to support those who want to continue the decades-long tradition of giving giri choco (which isn’t as universally disliked by women as some people might assume).

Godiva went quiet after that, but all of a sudden, this week the company brought up the obligation chocolate issue again, going so far as to call out Black Thunder by name in an unexpected tweet last Sunday, in which it also talked about honmei chocolate (“favorite chocolate”), chocolate that a woman gives to a guy she actually has romantic feelings for.

義理チョコといえばブラックサンダー( @Black_Thunder_ )さん! でも、有楽製菓の皆様の中にも本命チョコも贈りたいという方がいると思います。 お届けします“Thanks GODIVA”を試食して、本命の方へはGODI… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


ゴディバ (@Godiva_JPN) January 27, 2019

“When people think of obligation chocolate, they think of Black Thunder! But we think that even some of the employees at Yuraku Confectionery want to give someone honmei chocolate. So if you’ll try some of Thanks Godiva chocolate set we’re sending you, and chose Godiva as the chocolate you buy for your honmei chocolate, we would be incredibly happy.”

About an hour and a half later, the official Black Thunder Twitter account gave its reply, or as close to a reply as it could manage: a confused kaomoji emoticon face followed by a bunch of confused question marks and startled exclamation points.

Σ(‘-‘*)?!?!!!?!!?!!?!?!? twitter.com/godiva_jpn/sta…


ブラックサンダーさん【ゴディバ公認義理チョコ】 (@Black_Thunder_) January 27, 2019

At the same time, the Black Thunder Twitter account changed its name to “Black Thunder 【officially recognized by Godiva as obligation chocolate】 (ブラックサンダーさん【ゴディバ公認義理チョコ】 in Japanese text).

The whole thing is sort of an odd remixed version of what

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