The rationale is simple: If you want investors to hold on to your company's shares, send them gifts.

An ever-increasing number of listed companies in Japan are sending out the best grains of Koshihikari rice, designer clothes and gift certificates worth thousands of yen as tokens of gratitude to investors, a move that signifies both the rising stature of small-scale investors and desperate bids by some firms to secure stable funding.

And investors are hooked on it -- investors who would not otherwise be typical clients of private banks or don't have the nerve of day traders.