Valentine’s Day in Japan

Valentine’s Day and White Day in Japan
By: Billy Hammond
The Japanese celebrate St. Valentine’s day in a rather unique fashion. Women give the men gifts of chocolate as well as other gifts.
These gifts of chocolate are divided into two types: giri choco (obligatory chocolate) and honmei choco (chocolate for the man the woman is serious about). Giri choco is given by women to their superiors at work as well as to other male co-workers. It is not unusual for a woman to buy 20 to 30 boxes of this type of chocolate for distribution around the office as well as to men that she has regular contact with.
Needless to say, the approach of Valentine’s Day is something that department stores and shops look forward to and promote with zeal because of its potential for increased sales. Large displays featuring chocolate usually with heart-shaped displays start to grace the floors of department stores from mid-January or so.
A woman will normally purchase boxes of giri choco in the several hundred yen range and may purchase an expensive box of honmei choco and another gift such as a necktie for her “special someone”. While all of this may seem quite one-sided, confectioners in Japan – never ones to miss an opportunity to sell more – took advantage of the Japanese feelings of obligation and created “White Day” in 1980 to help assuage the guilt feelings of those poor obligated males who received chocolate on Valentine’s Day.
On March 14th, exactly one month after Valentine’s Day, men who were lucky enough to receive gifts of chocolate have the chance to return the favor by giving the women who gave them gifts of chocolate a more expensive box of chocolate or sweets (for some reason or other, these return gifts seem to be priced slightly higher than those the women purchase). Again, the stores provide plenty of reminders of the approach of this day so that even the most forgetful man cannot say that it slipped his mind. The gifts of chocolate that men buy are in white boxes (after all, it is “White Day”) and come with separate shopping bags to put them in.

I am so glad that our salvation through Christ is a free gift. We only have to receive it…

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
~Ephesians 2:8,9

4 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day in Japan

  1. Patricia of Pollywog Creek

    It sounds like you had a delightful time with your friends. What an interesting article about how the Japanese celebrate Valentines Day and White Day. I really like how you compared that to the free gift of salvation!Praying for you to do well on your kanji test!Blessings ~ Patricia

  2. Teeny Tiny cabin

    Dear Senkyoshi, Once again I’m amazed by all you do! It’s late here and I’m all tired out myself today, but I wanted to stop by and say hello! I’ve been thinking about you and your family, keeping you before the Lord in prayer, and I haven’t forgotton about your last comment at my blog asking about ways to save space. So just want to say I’ll be back. Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit! Your Blogging Friend-Love Ya-Claudia O.

  3. Maggie Ann

    It sounds like Valentine’s day could be pretty expensive in Japan! I’ve enjoyed reading about it though. I also enjoyed reading ‘An Apple a Day’. Glad your busy week went well and that you are able to blog again…=). This is my daughter’s pc…have a nice day…Maggie Ann

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