If you happened to be passing through Tsumagoi, Japan, on a particular day last year, you might have spotted a very strange sight: In the middle of a large cabbage patch, dozens of well-dressed Japanese men stood in a line. One at a time, they each yelled out, “I love you!” and “Thank you!” Their wives, who were standing nearby, wept with joy. This was the aptly named “Shout Your Love From the Middle of a Cabbage Patch” Day – and no, it’s not a bizarre Japanese version of Valentine’s Day. (Though their Valentine’s Day isn’t quite what you’d expect, either: In Japan, women are expected to buy flowers and chocolates for their husbands, instead of the other way around). Instead, this unique holiday is an original creation of the Japan Aisaika (“Devoted Husband”) Organization. The original Devoted Husband and founder of the club, Kiyotaka Yamana, wasn’t always so devoted – the businessman’s first marriage ended in divorce because he spent more time at work than with his family. But after a second marriage, Yamana realized that if he shifted his priorities by making sure to spend time with his wife and to tell her how much he loved and appreciated her on a regular basis, he would lead a much happier life. It may seem simple to many of us, but to Yamana, the concept seemed revolutionary. In Japanese culture, work is a high priority, and relationships often take a back seat to business. By creating the Japan Aisaika Organization, Yamana hopes to share his enlightened philosophy with fellow husbands, helping them to improve their marriages by being nicer to their wives. It seems that quite a few of his fellow men are ready for a change: Since the group’s formation four years ago, the organization has quickly grown to more than 150 members.
Along with the cabbage patch event, the group holds an annual “Beloved Wives Day” on January 31st, where husbands can tell their wives how much they appreciate the work that they do, and must follow five “golden rules,” which include looking their wives in the eye, and calling them by their given names, rather than the traditional “Mother.” “Husbands who take great care of their wife seem to care about those around them,” he said. “So if there are more devoted husbands on earth, the world would become more peaceful.”