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每日跟讀#649: About Japan - Rebel again Valentine's and wearing high heels  


· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

Why Japanese women rebel against Valentine’s day, but still buy chocolate 為何日本女性反抗西洋情人節 卻仍購買巧克力?

Japanese women are rebelling against a decades-old Valentine’s Day tradition that obliges them to give chocolates to men.


On February 14, the nation’s female workers are expected to give "giri choco," or obligation chocolates, to their male colleagues. Women are also expected to buy heartfelt chocolates, "honmei choco," for their crushes or loved one.


"Valentine’s Day (in Japan) got turned upside down to become a symbol of the Japanese patriarchy," said Jeff Kingston, a Japan expert at Temple University in Tokyo.


But this year, women are calling time on the financially draining practice.


A recent survey by a Tokyo department store found about 60% of women will instead buy chocolates for themselves on Valentine’s Day.


Only 35% planned to offer chocolates to their male colleagues.


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Japanese minister: High heels for women at work are ’occupationally necessary and appropriate’-日本部長:女性上班穿高跟鞋是「職場需要且適當」

For many years it has been required in many Japanese offices for women to wear high heels.


But a recent backlash has thrown the practice into question, with more than 19,000 people in Japan signing a petition to ban the requirement.


Speaking about the petition at a lower house committee session on Wednesday, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Takumi Nemoto demurred on whether demanding women to wear high heels constituted an "abuse of power."


"It is socially accepted as something that falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate," he said.


The petition was started by Tokyo artist, writer and feminist Yumi Ishikawa after comments she made on Twitter went viral across the country.


"I’m hoping to get rid of the custom that women have to wear heels and pumps at work," she wrote in January.


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