A communist group in Japan, known as “Losers with Women,” staged a protest Saturday against celebrating Christmas, decrying its “capitalist” nature and lamenting that its members will not have significant others with whom to share the holiday.
“Unpopular men, who don’t have a girlfriend or are not married, are overly discriminated. We want to break this barrier,” the head of the group, “MarkWater,” told AFP this weekend. The group marched through the streets of Tokyo with a banner reading, “Smash Christmas!” before declaring that the protest had been successful.
“Under the name of freedom and democracy, we managed to pulverize Christmas this year also,” MarkWater told the small crowd of single men. The South China Morning Post reports otherwise, noting that the group’s “demands were all too often drowned out by Christmas songs blaring out from shops and restaurants.”
The group “Losers with Women” is described as a subset of a group called the “Revolutionary Losers’ League,” which stages protests attacking holidays that cater towards couples. As Japan is estimated to be one percent Christian, Christmas is most often celebrated as a secular holiday in which couples exchange gifts and have a fancy dinner–or, in many cases, KFC. The company has exploited the lack of turkey in Japan to sell the idea that Christmas is an American holiday that should be celebrated with an American meal: a bucket of fried chicken and a bounty of sides from the fast food chain. The “Kentucky for Christmas!” campaign was so successful many Japanese must order their Christmas dinners from the company months in advance to avoid hours-long lines the day of.
The romantic nature of how Japan celebrates Christmas has made the holiday a target for those who feel excluded from couples’ activities by virtue of not having a partner.
The Revolutionary Losers’ League (sometimes translated as “The Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Women Find Unattractive”) was founded in 2006 and has staged protests on multiple holidays for years. In February, the group took to the streets to protest the “blood-soaked conspiracy” of Valentine’s Day, arguing that “public smooching is terrorism.” They have also protested “White Day,” a Japanese holiday in which men give women gifts to thank them for the chocolates they received on Valentine’s Day. (Women traditionally do the giving on Valentine’s Day.)
The radical protest group was the brainchild of Katsuhiro Furusawa, a man who read the Communist Manifesto after his girlfriend left him–and founded a group because of it. Furusawa was replaced with MarkWater following his decision to buy a Mercedes Benz, which fellow group members found to be a violation of the organization’s communist values.
The Losers’ League protests come at a time in which the Japanese are receiving international scrutiny for cultural trends that have made romance increasingly unpopular and threaten the stability of the nation’s population. A survey published this year found that almost 40 percent of single Japanese youth have no interest in a romantic relationship. Most answered they felt this way because relationships are “bothersome”; the second-most-common reason given was “prioritizing hobbies.”
The problem is not new, though it is worsening. A similar 2013 survey found that 23 percent of women and 27 percent of men have no interest in romantic relationships, and 45 percent of women were “not interested in or despised sexual contact.” (Twenty-five percent of men said the same.) The trend has begotten a market of romantic partner alternatives for Japanese singles, including virtual girlfriends in games like Nintendo’s “Love Plus,” which offers AI female companionship without troublesome human emotions.