Japanese video game firm asks female fans to stop mailing gifts to virtual characters

Valentine’s Day
  • Female history buffs, known as “reki-jo,” have been sending gifts for in-game characters based on historical figures to Japanese game developer Koei Tecmo’s offices in Yokohama.
  • The company recently released a statement urging fans to stop sending chocolates to its fictional game characters.
  • The announcement cited pandemic restrictions as its reasoning for the measure, suggesting that the “no-chocolate policy” may be temporary.

A video game company in Japan released a statement urging fans to stop sending chocolates to game characters for Valentine’s Day.

Developer Koei Tecmo, which creates games with historical figures from feudal Japan and China, has gained attention from female gamers with a special passion for history, reported SoraNews24.

History buff women, known as “reki-jo” (歴女)  in Japan, have become enamored with the games’ historical figures, who are often depicted as handsome anime-like characters.

In its statement posted on the company’s website, Koei Tecmo expressed its appreciation for the fans who have been sending Valentine’s Day presents for the characters and their creators to its offices in Yokohama.

“Thank you for your continued support of our company and products, and we would like to once again express our gratitude to those of you who have previously sent presents to our staff and the characters who appear in our games,” the statement reads, as translated by SoraNews24.

“Currently, as a countermeasure to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, many of our employees are working from home,” the post continued. “After considering the difficulties in receiving the packages and possible health/safety concerns, this year we will be respectfully declining Valentine’s Day and White Day presents. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”

While the idea of gifting fictional characters may seem unusual, it is common for women in Japan to give men gifts (in real life, at least) on Valentine’s Day and to receive gifts on White Day, a Valentine’s follow-up holiday celebrated in March in Japan. It is customary for female employees to give “obligation chocolates” to their male co-workers on the occasion.  

Giving Valentine’s Day chocolates is also not always necessarily considered a romantic gesture in Japan. Giri choco, a popular treat associated with platonic affection, is often given to male coworkers just as a gesture of kindness.

As Koei Tecmo cited pandemic restrictions for its announcement, it appears the “no-chocolate policy” is a temporary measure, SoraNews points out, and fans may eventually be able to resume sending the gifts to their virtual idols.

Featured Image via Nintendo 公式チャンネル

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