Valentine’s Day in Japan!
Think you know all about Valentine’s Day? Not in Japan! Valentine’s Day in Japan comes with its own unique style and traditions. On the 14th of February, it is the women who give presents to the men! But don’t despair, ladies; 14th of March is ‘White Day’, the day where men reciprocate with gifts for women (and are supposed to return the gift ‘thrice’ if they are a romantic partner😏).
Valentine’s Day first started to become popular in Japan in the 1950s. In those times, females rarely confessed their feelings to men, making the rare act of confessing love, kokuhaku (告白), somewhat taboo. Chocolate companies jumped on this new trend, and created a day where it was acceptable for women to take a risk and confess their feelings. Not only did manufacturers score big, they helped to create changes in traditional female and male interactions in Japan. Now, it is estimated that a quarter of annual profits for Japanese chocolate companies comes from February sales!
Women commonly gift handmade chocolate for Valentine’s Day, which prompts stores to begin selling chocolate making kits at the start of January, as well as lavishly decorated and packaged department store chocolate. These special chocolates are given to husbands, boyfriends, partners, or objects of affection, and are called ‘Honmei Choco’. The beautifully decorated chocolates will surely bring a smile; yet be careful if your girlfriend throws a cheap pack of convenience store chocolate at you…
There is also a second type of chocolates given to friends, colleagues, bosses, and close male friends called ‘Giri Choco’, obligation chocolate- no feelings or strings attached! Giri Choco are generally ready made chocolates that you can purchase in grocery stores or department stores, helping girls to save money after the expensive Honmei Choco 😅
But don’t forget about the most important kind of chocolate- ‘Jibun Choco’, chocolates for yourself! Whether or not you have a significant other, you always have a special someone- yourself! Don’t forget to spoil yourself with some delicious Matcha sweets this Valentine’s Day!