The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Lonely Japanese men protest the ‘blood-soaked conspiracy’ of Valentine’s Day

Japanese chocolatier Miya Fujimoto, of sweet shop Etienne, displays animal-shaped chocolates at the Takashimaya department store's "Amour du Chocolat" event for St. Valentine's Day in Tokyo. (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

For those who are unattached, Valentine's Day serves as a gaudy, cringe-worthy reminder of their bachelor status. But for some jilted men in Japan, it's a call to radical action.

On Saturday, a group whose full name literally translates as the Revolutionary Alliance of Men whom Women Find Unattractive, plans to march in Tokyo's busy Shibuya district against the cynical evils of the romantic holiday. They will wield bullhorns and banners, and shout slogans against the "passion-based capitalism" that fuels the holiday in Japan and elsewhere, according to the Tokyo Reporter.

"The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine’s Day, driven by the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again," declared the group, known by its Japanese acronym Kakuhido, on its Web site.

The group has been in existence since 2006, when its founder, Katsuhiro Furusawa, was reportedly dumped and then found solace in a copy of Karl Marx's "Communist Manifesto." Furusawa realized, details the Spoon and Tamago blog, "that being unpopular with girls is a class issue."

Kakuhido's views seem to involve a blend of Marxist vitriol, cyber nerdiness and outright misogyny. It has staged protests in the past, inveighing against the supposed manipulative powers of Japanese housewives; on Christmas Eve, Kakuhido members marched, demanding couples "self-criticize." They have also branded public flirting "terrorism." In their Web forums, they routinely complain about those who find "fulfillment" in their offline lives.

Valentine's Day is indeed big business in Japan, as the Guardian reports, explaining Kakuhido's anger toward "chocolate capitalists":

Valentine’s Day in Japan is not so much an opportunity to make declarations of love as a payday for the country’s chocolate industry. Women are traditionally expected to buy giri choko, literally obligation chocolates, for male colleagues and the men closest to their hearts.
Men are supposed to reciprocate a month later on White Day, an event dreamed up by confectioners in the early 80s to boost sales.

And as extreme as Kakuhido may be, its stance does reflect wider problems in Japanese society. The country's birth rate fell to a record low in 2014, in part a consequence of rising numbers of single people in the country. In 2011, a study found that 61 percent of Japanese males between age 18 and 34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship. You'll likely find many of Kakuhido's members in that category.