February 14 falls on a Thursday this year, and so Japan’s Kakumeiteki Himote Domei organization decided it would be best to plan their annual Valentine’s Day event for the Saturday before. However, last Saturday saw a sudden cold snap bring freezing cold to the Tokyo area, with snow flurries part of the forecast as well, which was bad news for the group, since its gathering was being held outdoors. Nevertheless, Kakumeiteki Himote Domei braved the cold as members showed up for the 12th annual Valentine’s event.
That might have you thinking they’re true romantics, but actually it’s just the opposite, as Kakumeiteki Himote Domei translates to Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men.
Beginning with a rally at a park in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood, Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men leader Takayuki Akimoto greeted those in attendance, and took a moment to praise the group’s continued efforts to bring down “romantic capitalism.” Speaking about the recent rise in Japan of people buying Valentine’s Day chocolate for themselves or friends, he boasted that this social dynamic was “unmistakably” the result of the Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men’s decade-plus of public protests undermining the tradition of giving chocolates to your sweetheart on February 14.
The statement was met with a moderately loud cheer from the eight other people in attendance
With the participants suitably pumped up, they began their protest march, complete with police escort, thought the streets of Shibuya. “Crush Valentine’s Day!” shouted Akimoto into his megaphone, with the other marchers, who included one woman, repeating. “Crush romantic capitalism!” he continued. “Don’t by controlled by the conspiracies of the candy makers!” The outside temperature during the march was zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit)
If Akimoto’s voice sounds familiar, you might remember him from another of the Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men regularly activities: it’s annual protest march against Christmas Eve, the most important date night of the year in Japan. However, in 2018 the group was unable to get a permit from the park in which it wanted to hold its rally, and had to settle for an indoor anti-Christmas Eve date symposium instead.
The alliance also often holds a protest against White Day, observed on March 14, when Japanese men are supposed to give thank-you gifts to women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day. However, no White Day protest was held in 2018, making last week’s Valentine’s Day gathering the group’s first march in a full year.
The Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men Valentine’s protest march crossing the world-famous Shibuya Scramble intersection
While there was definitely a certain tongue-in-cheek attitude from some of the marchers (the two men holding the banner Akimoto marches under can be seen chuckling a few times), the alliance actually does make a few poignant points as well. “Don’t judge a person’s worth by how many people they receive Valentine’s Day chocolate from!” commanded Akimoto, along with “It’s wrong to make fun of unpopular people!”
The group was silent on the debate on obligation chocolate, which has been a sore spot between foreign chocolatier Godiva and the makers of popular domestic candy Black Thunder.
It’s a little hard to tell how serious the Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men wants to be taken. On the one hand, the expressions on the faces of some of the march’s participants seem to suggest even they think the whole thing is a little silly, but Akimoto himself speaks with such conviction that he’s either a true believer or extremely committed to his comedy performance. Either way, dateless or not, the march’s participants seemed to enjoy each other’s companionship, and at least their march was less disruptive than certain other gatherings in Shibuya.
Source: Niconico News via Jin, Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular Men website