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Valentine’s Day in Japan

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by women giving out sweets, usually chocolate, to the men in their life (that includes their sweetheart, friends and coworkers).

Not all gifts given are symbols of affection though! Namiko Abe, from, discussed the two types of chocolates that are given on Valentine’s Day. Giri-choco (a.k.a. obligation chocolate) is given to the men in a woman’s life that she doesn’t

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really have any romantic interest in but would like to give a gift of appreciation or friendship to. Honmei-choco (a.k.a. true love chocolate) is given to the man that a woman is serious about.

Even though the men don’t have to worry about giving gifts on February 14, they do have to return the favor on White Day (March 14). Abe says that the top five gifts given on White Day are:

  1. necklaces
  2. rings
  3. handkerchiefs
  4. flowers
  5. stuffed animals

She also went on to explain the meaning of “giri” (which explains this Valentine’s Day tradition). Abe said, “The concept of ‘giri’ is very Japanese. It is a mutual obligation that the Japanese follow when dealing with other people. If someone does you a favor, then you feel obligated to do something for that person.”

For more information about Valentine’s Day (and White Day) in Japan, you can access Abe’s article here.

About すごい犬

I am an EMU graduate. I love spending time with my pets. I really enjoy studying languages (especially Japanese).

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