Culture Note: Valentine’s Day in Japan

In America, Valentine’s day is a chance for couples to exchange gifts and go out to dinner, but in Japan, things are quite different. In Japan, it is usually just women who give gifts (mostly chocolate) to men. It started out as an opportunity for shy girls to “confess” by giving chocolates, but thanks to corporate promotions, Valentine’s day has become a major event in Japanese culture. It’s spread to the point where women, in addition to giving chocolate to the guys they like, also give “obligation chocolate” to colleagues and non-romantic male friends. Kind of like how in elementary school kids needed to give cards/candy to everyone in the class. However, men are not off the hook either, they are supposed to give a return gift to the women they like on White Day, which is March 14th.

Chocolate Gifts (image source: – Japanese Valentine’s Day – White Day




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