Confectioner’s free ‘obligatory chocolate’ machines prove subway hit

by Yoshiaki Miura

Staff Writer

Two vending machines at the Marunouchi Line’s subway stop in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station are dispensing free chocolate and attracting swarms of customers ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Distributing only Yuraku Confectionery Co.’s canned Black Thunder chocolate bars, which normally cost ¥30, they have been dubbed “giri choco” machines after the inexpensive chocolates Japanese women present their male counterparts Feb. 14 out of a sense of social obligation.

The cans of chocolate have become a widely popular Valentine’s Day gift since the firm started selling them in 1994.

In addition to gifting their loved ones chocolates on Valentine’s Day, many women at schools and offices feel obliged to give small inexpensive chocolates to their male colleagues, bosses or friends.

This year, Yuraku Confectionery is distributing the free Black Thunder bars, at three per can and one to a customer, via the machines, hoping to promote giri choko culture in a week-long Valentine’s Day campaign that began Monday. The company is distributing 1,000 of the promotional cans every day through Sunday, starting at noon.

Long lines have formed every day in front of the machines.

Riku Tachikawa, 16, who visited Shinjuku Station on Saturday with his friend, Kaname Kohama, also 16, said: “We came to line up at 9 a.m. this morning. We probably won’t receive any chocolate on Valentine’s Day as we attend boys’ only schools, so we came to get some here. I was also interested in checking out the vending machines.”

A woman who also came for the free sweets said she plans to give one to her father. Asked what she will give her boyfriend Feb. 14, she replied, “I plan to make some chocolate for him.”

  • Liam Zwitser

    The Otaku club I am on will be holding “desperiation day workshop” next wednesday, where we will try to make our own chocolate! But I have my doubts as to wether that will turn out well… LOL

    I wonder how many of my anime-crazed friends who are girls will be giving chocolate to their boyfriends this year! (it´s one of those things that anime freaks like myself sometimes like to copy).

    Unfortunately, I don´t have a girlfriend… this might be one of the few moments I actually lamend that. (Normally, I consider it too much of a hassle. I am not a loner at all, heck I go to the otaku club every week, to the manga kissa to have fun with all the regular customers twice a week, to shogi club to play every week, and also go to a large amount of conventions and cosplay meet ups and to my friend’s houses regularly to watch anime and play games and stuff, but I just don´t need a girlfriend xD)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1299716381 Andy Smith

      Head up to Washinomiya Shrine and bring the “wether” with you

      • EdwardAlchemist

        Oh oops, I am not a native English speaker (I’m Dutch), and this one error that Dutch people seem to make very, very often… don’t ask me why, though…

        And also: I wanna go there once, I love lucky star! :D Also saw a cool kona-chan cosplayer at tsunacon yesterday, maybe I should give it to her, then www