I know there are probably a lot of you out there who don’t like Valentine’s Day. For couples, it can be a stressful financial obligation to meet, midway between two paydays. For single people, it’s a reminder that they’re alone and don’t have a special someone in their life right now.
It’s mostly single people who have an aversion to Valentine’s Day, but some more than others. This is certainly true of a Japanese protest group, which calls itself Kakumeiteki Himote Domei, roughly translated as ‘The Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men’
Yeah, really. They feel so strongly about it that they protest every year. February 14 falls on a Thursday this year, and so the organization decided it would be best to plan their annual Valentine’s Day event for the Saturday before.
Last Saturday saw a sudden cold snap bring freezing cold to the Tokyo area, with snow flurries part of the forecast as well. This was bad news for the group, since its gathering was being held outdoors.
Nevertheless, Kakumeiteki Himote Domei braved the cold as members showed up for the 12th annual Valentine’s event. Beginning with a rally at a park in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood, Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men leader Takayuki Akimoto greeted those in attendance, and took a moment to praise the group’s continued efforts to bring down “romantic capitalism.”
Speaking about the recent rise in Japan of people buying Valentine’s Day chocolate for themselves or friends, he boasted that this social dynamic was “unmistakably” the result of the Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men’s decade-plus of public protests undermining the tradition of giving chocolates to your sweetheart on February 14. Sure, whatever you say guys.
The group began their protest march, complete with police escort, thought the streets of Shibuya. “Crush Valentine’s Day!” shouted Akimoto into his megaphone, with the other marchers, who included one woman, repeating. “Crush romantic capitalism!” he continued. “Don’t by controlled by the conspiracies of the candy makers!”
It’s lines like that last one that make you think that this movement may not be entirely serious. After all, the dozen-or-so protesters could be seen giggling at several points throughout the march.
Japan also has a holiday called White Day, observed on March 14, when Japanese men are supposed to give thank-you gifts to women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day. As you might expect, the group are against this, too.
I get where they’re coming from – I mean, do the women have to buy them chocolates again on March 14 as a thank you for the flowers? Where does it end?!
While here was definitely a certain tongue-in-cheek attitude from some of the marchers, the alliance actually does make a few serious points as well. “Don’t judge a person’s worth by how many people they receive Valentine’s Day chocolate from!” commanded Akimoto, along with “It’s wrong to make fun of unpopular people!”
How serious they are about the movement remains to be seen, but judging by the modest size of their crowd, it looks like the public aren’t taking them seriously yet.