Japan killjoys protest Valentine's 'conspiracy'

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Tokyo | Updated: 2017-02-13 06:31

As Japan prepares to celebrate Valentine's Day, a cranky group of protesters has called for an end to public displays of love, claiming it hurts their feelings.

Members of Kakuhido, or the Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women find Unattractive, unfurled a giant "Smash Valentines' Day" banner as the party-poopers set off to try and overthrow the annual celebration of romance.

The grumpy group elicited curious looks from passersby in the trendy Shibuya district where they rallied to buzz-kill slogans such as "public smooching is terrorism!"

"People like us who don't seek value in love are being oppressed by society," the group's public relations chief Takayuki Akimoto said. "It's a conspiracy by people who think unattractive guys are inferior, or losers — like cuddling in public, it makes us feel bad. It's unforgivable."

Previously, the killjoy group has also protested against "housewives who control Japan's future" as their hapless husbands work all hours at the office.

Valentine's Day in Japan is a huge moneymaker for the confectionery business as women are traditionally expected to buy chocolates for men. Men reciprocate a month later on White Day, a Japanese marketing scheme dreamed up by confectioners in the 1980s to keep the cash registers ringing.

"The tradition of giving chocolates means you're always competing," said Akimoto, 33, blasting what his group calls the "passion-based capitalism" of Valentine's Day.

"You're judged by how many sweets you get. It's a business strategy by the chocolate capitalists, it's ridiculous."

Valentine's Day originated as an ancient Christian and Roman tradition and Akimoto fumed: "Religious overtones have been twisted and turned into a vehicle to make money."

Akimoto claims the group's message has begun to hit home after 10 years of protests.

"Recently you hear of more people spending Christmas alone or women growing tired of Valentine's Day. We believe that through our fight, we've helped contribute to that social shift," he said.

"Our enemy is formidable, but we are ready for a long, drawn-out war," Akimoto said, adding that the group also plans to target Halloween.








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