Life is sweet … for some men

July 15th, 2011 by Felicity Hughes

Though Japanese men get to hog the chocolates on Valentine’s Day, the rest of the year, sweets, cakes and other confectionary are traditionally the domain of the fairer sex. Or so they say. The truth is, loads of Japanese guys have a sweet tooth. As the younger generation of men discard outdated mores of masculinity, many are now unashamed to scoff down a strawberry parfait in public.

So it’s no surprise that sweet-toothed men are now getting together to discuss their love of sugary treats. On June 10, for example, men gathered in a café in Ebisu to attend the Amatou Danshi (sweet-toothed men’s) Café. The aim of this event was for men to discuss the merits of a range of sweet treats, which included Earl Grey jelly and rich chocolate confections. Organized by Amadan (甘男, the kanji literally means sweet man but is a shortening of the phrase Amatou Danshi) website, this event was the latest to bring together men with a secret passion for pastries. Every three or four months Amadan members get together to indulge their vice, bringing along their own sweets and cakes to compare and contrast with other men.

Amadan was founded in 2008 as a forum and information portal for like-minded males. According to Shibuya Keizai Shimbun, Tooru Hikino, the website’s founder, said that he wanted to create a space where could share their passion for sweets. The website includes information on new products, special features, including interviews with up-market pastry chefs and a calendar allowing members to keep abreast of confectionary-related events. Users can pass on tips and recommendations via Twitter.

So who are these amadan men? We’re guessing that many members might fall into the soshoku danshi (herbivore men) demographic of young males who reject traditional masculine values by taking a great deal of care with grooming and are not too fussed about aggressively pursuing women. A passion for cooking and sweets, fits right in with this lifestyle choice.

Confectionary companies could well start targeting this new market more aggressively; Morinaga Chocolate has already sponsored a play called Amadan about a cute bunch of boys who are fighting to keep their high school dessert club alive (see video above). There’s marketing opportunities for cafes and hotels there too: Last year Nagoya Tokyuu Hotel held an amadan gentlemen’s day where men were able to order a salad and dessert buffet on top of the standard lunch for just ¥500 extra.

Are you an amadan man? Or do you think that men ought to stick to chugging beer and devouring meat?

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