White day and Valentine’s day in Japan
Posted March 14, 2009on:
I’ve written before, that Japanese people love rules and manners. So don’t think any different that there are no rules for expressing love or fondness… the most famous day being Valentine’s day and White day.
Valentine’s day in the Western society is a day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s cards, presenting flowers, lingeries or offering confectionery and have sexy romantic fun time… sigh… yes, that is how it was on valentine’s day. but not in Japan, not for Japanese couple. They don’t know how to just have fun, be sexy and romantic the way they want to… Yes, there are RULES for women to do certain things on a Valentine’s day… and then RULES for men to do certain things on a White day.
Simply put… On Valentine’s Day, Japanese women give chocolate to men. Men give gifts to women on March 14th called White Day.
What is Valentine’s day in Japan?
In Japan, Valentine’s Day is observed by females who present chocolate gifts (either store-bought or handmade), usually to a male, as an expression of love.
Grocery stores, department stores, and convenience stores sell many different kinds of domestic and imported chocolate. More than half of the chocolate sold in a year is sold around Valentine’s Day in Japan. Women buy chocolate for their co-workers, bosses, male friends, brothers, father, husband, boyfriends, and so on. Are you wondering why women give chocolates to all males around them? Are they that desperate?
No, it’s just that there are two types of chocolates women give to men.
1) Chocolate given to men whom women don’t feel special love are called “giri-choco (obligational chocolate)” in Japanese. Chocolate given to co-workers and bosses are usually considered as giri-choco. Many men feel embarrassed if they don’t receive any chocolate on Valentine’s Day, so women usually make sure to give giri-choco to men around them so that they don’t feel left out, thus showing how caring she is.
2) Chocolate given to a special man from a woman is called “honmei (prospective winner)-choco.” As a honmei chocolate, a homemade chocolate is usually preferred by the receiver, because it is a sign that the receiving male is the girl’s “only one”. (and that the girl can do some work in the kitchen) Homemade chocolate… in this sense, doesn’t mean grinding coco beans and making chocolate from scratch… it just means, melting chocolate bars and then reshaping them into heart-shaped chocolates, thus showing how “homey” she is.
What is White day in Japan?
On White Day, the converse happens: males who received a chocolate, whether it was obligational or real, on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favor by giving gifts, usually more expensive, preferbly, three times expensive, according to the rule of “triple return”. Traditionally, popular White Day gifts are cookies, white chocolate, marshmallows,… and jewellery if they decided to follow the “triple return” rule.
Such complicated rules and customs. But nobody gets confused and nobody forgets the day because the stores provide plenty of reminders of the approach of these days so that even the most forgetful man cannot say that it slipped his mind. So if you think Hallmark is lucky for making so much profit from cards and chocolates, think about how lucky Japanese chocolates companies and department stores are, for having 2 Valentine’s days a year, with women obligated to buy all the men in her life!
Lastly, the gifts of chocolate that men buy are in white boxes while the gifts that women buy for men come in red boxes. It is certainly expected that women chase after men, all the men in her lives with burning passion, but men are just expected to return the favor… though it may cost him a bit more according to the “triple return rule”