Sunday, 15 February 2015

Lonely Japanese men protest the ‘blood-soaked conspiracy’ of Valentine’s Day - The Washington Post

Lonely Japanese men protest the ‘blood-soaked conspiracy’ of Valentine’s Day - The Washington Post





February 12
For those who are unattached,
Valentine's Day serves as a gaudy, cringe-worthy reminder of their
bachelor status. But for some jilted men in Japan, it's a call
to radical action.

On Saturday, a group whose full name literally translates as the Revolutionary Alliance of Men whom Women Find Unattractive, plans
to march in Tokyo's busy Shibuya district against the cynical evils
of the romantic holiday. They will wield bullhorns and banners, and
shout slogans against the "passion-based capitalism" that fuels the
holiday in Japan and elsewhere, according to the Tokyo Reporter.

"The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine’s Day, driven by the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again," declared the group, known by its Japanese acronym Kakuhido, on its Web site.

The
group has been in existence since 2006, when its founder, Katsuhiro
Furusawa, was reportedly dumped and then found solace in a copy of Karl
Marx's "Communist Manifesto." Furusawa realized, details the Spoon and Tamago blog, "that being unpopular with girls is a class issue."

Kakuhido's
views seem to involve a blend of Marxist vitriol, cyber nerdiness and
outright misogyny. It has staged protests in the past, inveighing
against the supposed manipulative powers of Japanese housewives; on Christmas Eve,
Kakuhido members marched, demanding couples "self-criticize." They have
also branded public flirting "terrorism." In their Web forums, they
routinely complain about those who find "fulfillment" in their offline lives.

Valentine's Day is indeed big business in Japan, as the Guardian reports, explaining Kakuhido's anger toward "chocolate capitalists":

Valentine’s Day in Japan is
not so much an opportunity to make declarations of love as a payday for
the country’s chocolate industry. Women are traditionally expected to
buy giri choko, literally obligation chocolates, for male colleagues and the men closest to their hearts.

Men
are supposed to reciprocate a month later on White Day, an event
dreamed up by confectioners in the early 80s to boost sales.
And as extreme as Kakuhido may be, its stance does reflect wider problems in Japanese society. The country's birth rate fell to a record low in 2014, in part a consequence of rising numbers of single people in the country. In 2011, a study
found that 61 percent of Japanese males between age 18 and 34 were not
in any kind of romantic relationship. You'll likely find many of
Kakuhido's members in that category.