Valentine’s Day and White Day

07 Feb 2018 in Discover Japan

Find out why women give chocolates to multiple men, but men give nothing at all!

valentine-day-japan

Forget what you already know about Valentine’s Day in your own country. Japan does it differently!

For the Japanese, February 14th is all about women giving chocolate to men. It’s not until a month later that men are expected to reciprocate!

Valentine chocolates

Valentine’s Day is a relatively recent phenomenon in Japan, only really catching on in the 1970s following heavy promotion by chocolate manufacturers. Today, it’s all about chocolate!

Black and white japanese chocolates

Of course, women give chocolate to their romantic interest (honmei-choco), but they’re also expected to gift chocolates to their superiors, including bosses at work. These are known as giri-choco (“obligation chocolates”).

As if that weren’t already enough, women often give tomo-choco – chocolate to friends.

Sharing chocolate with friends

After all that, it’s not surprising that many buy jibun-choco – chocolates as a gift to themselves!

The huge number of chocolates bought for Valentine’s Day represents around $500 million, but it’s become an increasing trend for women to make chocolates themselves for honmei-choco and tomo-choco.

Homemade chocolates

Look out for chocolate-making kits in the stores!

Young japanese couple

Beyond gift-giving, Valentine’s Day is also an excuse for a romantic night out – like a gourmet dinner at HOSHINOYA Tokyo, where chef Hamada’s cuisine will impress any date.

Chef Hamada

Gastronomic restaurant in Tokyo

On March 14th, it’s payback time for women. White Day is a Japanese creation that sees men buying gifts for all the women who gave them chocolates.

Romantic date ideas

Women can expect flowers, chocolate, candy, accessories or even jewelry. So, buying all those chocolates in February can often net a good return on investment!

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