Culture/History

Valentine’s Day in Japan

02/18/2020

As you may know, in Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated a bit differently from other parts of the world. Japanese Valentine‚Äôs Day is the day when women give chocolates to men. And it is the time for chocolate companies to profit, reportedly making almost half their annual sales during this time of year.

Like other countries, Valentine’s Day is the day for couples, but at the same time, it is the day to say “Thank you” to male colleagues at work by giving them chocolates if you are women, which is called giving “Giri choco” in Japanese or “Obligation chocolate”. That is one of the reasons why a lot of women purchase chocolates around Valentine’s Day. If you go to department stores in Tokyo within a week from Valentine’s Day, you will see a huge crowd of women buying chocolates or chocolate flavored sweets.

One unique tradition in Japan related to Valentine’s Day is that exactly one month later on March 14th, we celebrate what is known as “White Day” where the recipients of Valentine’s Day chocolates are expected to return the favor.

If you are a man and in Japan on Valentine’s Day, please don’t get surprised to receive chocolate gifts from women as that is how Japanese women express their gratitude to people they care.

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