As Japan celebrated Valentine’s Day on Saturday a group of demonstrators marched through central Tokyo against what they called the “passion-based capitalism” of the annual fete of romance.
The Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women find Unattractive — or Kakuhido in Japanese, short for Kakumeiteki Himote Domei — claims on its website that “public smooching is terrorism.”
The alliance’s 10 or so comrades marched through the busy Shibuya shopping district waving banners with slogans demanding an end to Valentine’s Day. However, as the comrades chanted slogans — including “Don’t be duped by the conspiracy of chocolate makers!” — they were met by bemused looks from passers-by.
“In Japan, women give men chocolate (on Valentine’s Day) to show their affection,” the chairman of the revolutionary alliance, who goes by the nom de guerre “Mark Waters,” said in an interview. “Society is addicted to capitalism. People are profiting from it and we are here, today, to demonstrate our resistance to the ‘love capitalists.’ ”
Dressed in a white helmet and sunglasses with a pink scarf covering his mouth, the chairman added, “The name of our organization is a parody but it does have a serious message.”
But the alliance’s “Smash Valentine’s Day” rally, which took aim at commercialism, fell flat after the comrades set off along Shibuya’s streets, largely drowned out by the district’s wall of sound. Before stepping into the breach in Shibuya, Waters had reminded his followers of police guidelines, including the banning of hate speech.
“The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine’s Day, driven by the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again,” the alliance wrote on its website, in a bellicose attack on all that is warm and fuzzy about Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day in Japan is a huge money-spinner for the confectionary sector, as women are traditionally expected to buy chocolates for the men in their lives, ranging from partners to work colleagues, and even bosses.
Men reciprocate a month later on White Day, a Japanese marketing brainwave by confectioners in the 1980s to keep the cash tills ringing.
“We will also be protesting White Day,” insisted Waters, cheerlessly. “And Christmas.”
In previous protests, the group’s comrades also denounced “housewives who control Japan’s future” while their hapless husbands work crazy hours at the office.
Kakuhido was founded in 2006 by Katsuhiro Furusawa, who began reading the “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” an 1848 classic by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, after being dumped by his girlfriend. He eventually came to the conclusion that being unpopular with the opposite sex was a class issue, fueling his anti-Valentine message.
Despite the Marxist rhetoric, Furusawa has since stepped down as head of the revolutionary alliance, posting distinctly un-Marxist photos of his new car and, in a Parthian shot, boasting that “thanks to our actions I purchased a Mercedes.”