Valentine’s Day the Japanese Way

Valentine Chocolate Fight?

Valentine Chocolate Fight?

In December we looked at Christmas in Japan, but Valentine’s day is also a celebration that became part of the Japanese Culture, but, they do it a bit differently than the rest of the world.

Rumour has it that it all started when a company started to advertise Valentine’s chocolates to Non-Japanese living in Japan in the 1950s. Japanese companies saw the profit in this and started to advertise Valentine’s Chocolates too. It was during a huge ‘westernisation-boom’ in Japan, and thus Valentine’s Day in Japan was born, but… here comes the difference.


A nice white chocolate treat will hit the right spot on Valentine's Day

A nice white chocolate treat will hit the right spot on Valentine’s Day

In Japan it is not the men that hands out chocolates to the ladies, in Japan the roles are reversed and ladies hand out chocolate to men. But what is awesome about it is, another holiday was invented in Japan for men to give Chocolates to women.

First there is another fact about Valentine’s Day in Japan that is interesting. There are three different types of chocolate to hand out on Valentine’s Day to make sure some people do not feel left out. Giri-Chocolate, Honmei-Chocolate and Tomo-Chocolate.

Giri-Chocolate (Obligation Chocolate), you give to people you don’t really love like bosses, co-workers and male friends. These chocolates are traditionally not expensive.

Honmei-Chocolate (Favourite Chocolate), you give to the one you want to express your love to. It is more expensive and might even be home made.


Home-made chocolate, who can refuse that?

Home-made chocolate, who can refuse that?

Lastly we have Tomo-Chocolate (Friend Chocolate), which means you (as a female) give it to your female friends.

Guys, of course do not give Chocolates on Valentine’s Day, they do it on March 14th which is called White Day. We will also talk about this in March!!!! So watch this space!

Here is more on Valentine’s Day in Japan