Valentine’s Day in Japan

It’s almost February 14th which means Valentine’s Day. Of course from some, it’s a little different.


Valentine’s Day is, of course, a Western celebration that the Japanese have embraced,with a twist. Instead of men wooing women with chocolates and flowers, it is only the women who give presents to men. In Japan, Valentine’s Day is seen as the perfect (and possibly only) day for women to express their feelings. In reality, this tradition was merely something thought up by a smart chocolate company that knew women were more likely to spend a lot of money on their products.

To complicate it even further, receiving chocolates from a woman does not necessarily mean that she fancies you. It could just be ‘Giri-choko’, obligation chocolate, intended for family, bosses or platonic male friends. A man that she is romantically interested in will receive the more coveted honmei-choko. ‘Giri’, mutual obligation, is very important in Japanese culture as you are obliged to return the favour if someone does you a favour.

It’s not all take take for the men, however, as they are expected to return gifts to women on White Day (March 14), a day that is a Japanese creation.

Instead of saying ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ in Japan, you should say ‘omedetou’.

Interesting right?


Words: Sophie’s Japan Blog
Source: chaptershi @ wordpress

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One response to “Valentine’s Day in Japan

  1. Pingback: Happy Love Day | A Single Year·

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