When is Japanese Valentine’s Day? Unique Valentine’s Custom in Japan
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day in your country?
Japanese celebrate Valentine’s Day but it’s different from other countries.
Let’s find out the differences!
When is Japanese Valentine’s Day?
Does Japan have special Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day in Japan is February 14th. It’s the same as other Western countries.
Ladies, if you are dating or if you have anyone you like, mark your calendar and let’s get ready for a romantic day!
What is Japanese Valentine’s Day like?
Japanese Valentine’s Day is unique because men don’t have to give any gifts to women.
You must feel happy and lucky if you are men! Women give gifts to men on Valentine’s Day and men give gifts to women on White Day (March 14th).
Gifts could be anything but many Japanese women tend to give chocolates. It could be chocolates, chocolate cakes, chocolate cookies, chocolate and chocolate.
Interestingly enough, there are two kinds of chocolates.
One is called “Giri Chocolate” (義理チョコ) and it’s given to friends, classmates, co-workers, bosses, supervisors, teachers, etc…
It can be basically given to anyone but not boyfriend (partner).
Giri means obligation or duty in Japanese and Giri chocolate is distributed to those who are “not special.”
Giri chocolate also includes Tomo Chocolate (友チョコ) which means “Friends Chocolate.”
This term describes that teenage girls give chocolate to female friends. Although it’s not limited to use for girls, most boys don’t give chocolate to others.
The other one is called “Honmei Chocolate” (本命チョコ). This is the chocolate women give to the person they love.
It doesn’t have to be chocolates, but lots of women give chocolates. Some might give chocolates and gifts.
Gifts depend on women, and Valentine’s Day is the day women confess their love and give gifts to loved ones.
Why do Women Give Chocolates to Men on Valentine’s Day?
Now you know Japanese women give chocolates and gifts to men on Valentine’s Day. Why do they give chocolates?
In 1958, Isetan Department sold chocolate as a part of “Valentine’s Sale.” They only sold a few and made heart-shaped chocolates next year. Their promotion message said “From Women to Men.”
Since then, chocolate companies started to promote “special chocolates from women to men.” They wanted to sell chocolate desperately so that they gave away gifts, such as a luxury wristwatch or free movie tickets, to female customers.
Media also promoted Valentine’s Day as special day for women.
How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Other Countries
Canada and the US exchange gifts between couples and they don’t necessarily give chocolates. In Italy and Denmark, young people tend to celebrate Valentine’s Day by exchanging gifts.
In Korea, Valentine’s Day is celebrated like a Japanese way. Women usually give chocolates and candies to men.
What I Think About Japanese Valentine’s Day
When I was in Japan, I didn’t know other countries have different custom on Valentine’s Day.
As a kid, I liked to make chocolates and give to friends and family members. But I realized they wouldn’t give me back anything, so I stopped giving.
At the same time, I gradually noticed that Valentine’s Day in Japan was all about chocolate promotion.
Wherever you go, there are chocolates. I got sick of chocolates. I mean I love chocolates, but it doesn’t have to be chocolates!
In Canada, however, it’s different. It’s not limited to chocolates and women. Couples give gifts each other, have special dinner, or trip etc…
I like Valentine’s Day in Canada because it’s not all about chocolate and women.
I feel Canadian Valentine’s Day is free and passionate.
Some Japanese might say “I will get a boyfriend or girlfriend by Valentine’s Day because I don’t want to spend alone!” That’s fine but I don’t think such relationship lasts long…?
Anyways! You will be surprised lots of chocolates being sold before Valentine’s Day in Japan. It makes you want to buy one for yourself!
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