Presents swapped in mid summer. Beer is quite a popular present but coffee, ham, edible seaweed, green tea, cooking oil, cakes, and other delicacies are also a chuugen
staple. Chuugen presents are often ostensibly sent from men to men (such as from workers to their bosses, or from ex-students to their teachers) but it is often women that actually purchase, give and receive them. Possibly partly because of this, little attempt is made to personalise the gift to suit the recipient; standard gifts are given instead. This might be interpreted as an example of Japanese collectivism, or "social obligation" as is the tendency to purchase souvenirs (E.g. Dallen, 2005, p89). In Japan everyone is assumed to desire the same standard set of things. But at the same time, perhaps, it may be indicative of the fact that everyone is presumed to have such individual requirements that it would be presumptions for a giver to presume know what exactly the recipient wants. When the Japanese aim to fulfil such individual desires they give that most individualist of gifts, money. Gifts of money are also very common, and not in poor taste.
Dallen, T. J. (2005). Shopping Tourism, Retailing, And Leisure. Channel View Publications.
Labels: japan, japanese culture, nihonbunka, 日本文化