New social movement gives rise to a new word: gyaku choco.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, there’s a lot of talk in Japan about giri choco, the “obligation chocolate” that Japanese women give to platonic male coworkers and friends, and honmei choco, the chocolate they give to men they actually like romantically. However, a recent survey from Japanese confectioner Lotte shows there’s yet another type of chocolate woman would like to hear about more often: gyaku choco.
Gyaku is the Japanese word for “reverse,” and in the case of gyaku choco, it’s talking about reversing the usual women-to-men flow of Valentine’s Day chocolate in Japan. In other words, gyaku choco describes when a woman receives chocolate from a guy for Valentine’s, and while it’s still far from the norm, it’s something that’s becoming slightly more common in recent years.
As part of a broad survey on Valentine’s Day chocolate (which collected responses from 2,400 male and female respondents between the ages of 10 and 69), Lotte asked women who’d received gyaku choco how they felt about it, and their response was almost unanimous, with 96.1 percent saying they were happy to be on the receiving end of Valentine’s Day chocolate for a change. When asked who they’d like to receive gyaku choco from, only 45.4 percent said their husband or boyfriend, with 21.3 percent hoping for gyaku choco from a platonic male friend and 9.2 percent wishing their son would give them some sweets on February 14.
One question the survey didn’t delve into, however, is whether gyaku choco should have any influence on White Day, Japan’s March 14 celebration in which guys are expected to give gifts in return to women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Does giving a girl gyaku choco on Valentine’s Day count as a pre-emptive White Day gift, or would a guy be expected to provide anther round of confectionaries a month later? And what if a guy gives a girl chocolate on Valentine’s Day, but she doesn’t give any to him? Does she then need to give him a gyaku White Day gift? Do both parties get two chocolate gifts?
▼ Actually, that last one doesn’t sound half-bad…