Bad news for hopeless romantics: Only half as many women as usual are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Japan amid the ongoing pandemic by giving chocolates to their true love, a new survey says.
Intage Inc., a market research firm, surveyed men and women aged between 16 and 69 online in late January on the topic, and some 2,500 responded.
Unlike the custom in the West, women present men with chocolate gifts on Valentine’s Day in Japan, and then men reciprocate a month later. They traditionally prepare two sorts of offerings: “honmei-choco” (chocolates for true love), intended for their love interests; and “giri-choco” (obligation chocolates), usually meant for office co-workers.
Of the 1,260 women who responded, only 7.7 percent said they will give out honmei-choco–almost half of last year’s figure. One woman in her 20s said she does not know if she can meet the person she wants to give honmei-choco to because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, 9.9 percent of female respondents said they will offer giri-choco gifts, almost unchanged from last year’s figure. But 24 percent of women said they are willing to give out giri-choco at their workplaces together with their female co-workers, up from the 18.9 percent recorded in 2020.
“Women’s mindsets toward giri-choco may be changing as they have fewer opportunities to meet their co-workers in person,” said an Intage official involved in the survey.
The survey also found that some men are willing to give out chocolate gifts as women do amid the pandemic.
One man in his 20s said he wants to present people who have always supported him with chocolates while taking preventative measures against the novel coronavirus. Another man, in his 40s, said he wants to hand out chocolates at his workplace to help encourage communication between workers.