(TOKYO) — It may be common for American couples to say “I love you,” but in Japan it takes a special day to get men to profess their love to their wives.
On Tuesday night, Japanese husbands gathered up the courage to declare their devotion publicly before Jan. 31, which has become “Beloved Wife” day or “Aisai,” a play on the words for 1 and 31.
In the fifth annual event, traditionally reserved Japanese men stepped up on stage at Tokyo’s Hibiya Park, which was decorated with tulips arranged to look like a heart. Clutching their bouquets, they yelled at the top of their lungs.
“Thank you for making such delicious bentos every day. I love you,” said one suit-clad man.
“Let’s hug each other a lot tonight,” another man screamed, with his daughter in hand. “Thank you.”
At least one of the men rapped his way through his love confession, while his wife applauded in encouragement.
Aisai was started to encourage Japanese spouses to show their appreciation and affection for each other. Japan’s Aisaika Organization, which helps promote the day, calls on husbands to return home by 8 pm on Jan. 31 to spend time with their wives. They also hand out an annual “Aisai” award to celebrities who are considered the most devoted spouse.
The group’s motto for the day? “Wife Conscious. Earth Conscious.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis and Steve Almasy, CNN
Georgia McCafferty and Junko Ogura, CNN
Stephanie Halasz, Jason Hanna and Livia Borghese, CNN