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Valentines Day in Japan

Valentine’s Day, a day for women to express their love to their boyfriends

Written by Takako “Tammy” Ota, Kyoto Staff

Women are supposed to be graceful and shy in Japan. Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for these women to express their feelings to their boyfriends. Women typically give chocolates to men on that day.

There are two types of chocolates, “Giri-choco”, which literally means obligation chocolate and “Honmei-Choco”, meaning romantic or true-love chocolate.  Girichoco is meant to be given to male bosses, coworkers and male friends when women want to show their friendship or gratitude to men but romance is not involved.

On the other hand, Honmaicoco is for a boyfriend, lover or husband. Honmeichoco is much more expensive and bigger than Girichoco and wrapped in a decorative package.

So don’t get so excited when you get chocolates from Japanese women. That might be Girichoco or obligation chocolate.

Large displays of chocolates will be seen in department stores and convenience stores from the middle of January. One whole floor at department stores will be allocated to display only chocolates. Actually, this is a custom that smart chocolate companies have started to boost their sales in the economically slowest season of the year. This tactic has been successful. Now chocolate companies in Japan sell more than half of their annual sales during the week before Valentine’s Day.

Men are supposed to return gifts to women on “White Day”, which is a Japanese creation and takes place on March 14. Men often give white-colored chocolates. Hence the day is known as “White Day”. Flowers, candies and underwear are also popular along with white chocolate. Again, department stores display gifts for women so that men will not forget about the special day for women.

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