Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, when millions of Japanese males will wake up hoping to receive chocolate from their wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters, and any random girl who may be in a chocolate-giving mood. It’s hard to trace where Japan’s unique tradition of women giving the men in their lives chocolates on February 14th started, but one theory credits Sony founder Akio Morita, who got the idea of promoting chocolate sales through the company’s Sony Plaza shops back in 1968. The event received much more attention from women than from men, and this is believed to have started the trend of females giving chocolate to males instead of the other way around. While the two main types of chocolate a man can receive are 本命チョコ honmei choco or “true heart chocolate” (from someone who really cares for you) and 義理チョコ giri choco or “obligation chocolate” (say, a female office worker who feels obligated to give chocolate to her male co-workers), there are other variations too, like the recent trend of 友チョコ tomo choco or chocolates exchanged between friends. The giving and receiving of gifts is always a formal deal in Japan, and men who receive chocolate must give a return gift of some kind on March 14, known as White Day. If you don’t score any chocolate this year, remember that J-List is continuing our big sale on all chocolate, as well as some “other” products, through the end of the month.
One reason you should follow J-List’s Facebook page or Twitter feed is that they’re both great for getting information about Japan and J-List, as well as lots of pretty anime-related pictures. You can also ask questions, if there’s anything Japan-related you’d like to know more about. One reader requested I talk about Japan’s prison system in the aftermath of the sentencing of a deranged fan who injured two AKB48 idols with a saw, so I thought I’d write about that today. Japan has a modern court and penal system whose goal is to deter crimes and reform criminals when they do occur so they can be productive members of society again. One of the most important concepts in Japan’s justice system is for prisoners to undergo a period of 反省 hansei, reflection or introspection, which is usually done in a tiny cell with tatami mats and no luxuries like heat or air conditioning. There are a lot of problems with Japan’s justice system, of course. The desire to see prisoners start on the road to redemption often causes police to go all-out to extract confessions from anyone who stands accused of a crime. A few years ago they managed to force guilty confessions from no less than four innocent people while investigating threats to shops who carried the manga Kuroko no Basketball, only finding their error when the real culprit contacted them while the innocent men were still in custody.
We’ve been on a roll recently. We shipped the outstanding witch-raising game Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque at the end of last year, which has sold so well we’ve sold through more than 75% of our limited editions (so grab one if you plan to). Then we announced that the total remake of Kana Imouto