Valentine’s Day has become a worldwide holiday event that gives people a chance to show their love or appreciation to those they care about. But of course, many countries develop their own unique twists on the formula. In Japan, only women give chocolate to others on Valentine’s Day, but there are many ways to give Valentines gifts that have developed over time. Here are the most popular types:
Honmei choco (True feelings chocolate)
The kind of gift that is easy for non-Japanese to understand, honmei choco are given by women to show their feelings to a very important person.
Giri choco (Obligation chocolate)
Giri choco are given to acquaintances, such as coworkers or the friends of your friends.
Tomo choco (Friend chocolate)
Tomo choco are given to close friends; they are more personal than giri choco but not as much as honmei choco.
Chocolate is Booming in Japan
Did you know that ~20% of all chocolate eaten in Japan every year is eaten on Valentine’s Day? Chocolate is big in Japan, and is more connected to Valentine’s Day than in most other countries! Big companies will do chocolate themed sales and promos as the holiday draws closer, and up to 70% of annual sales for some confectionery shops will happen around this time!
Giving Back on White Day
White Day, which is held on March 14th, is a well-known Japanese holiday. It is the day when men are supposed to give gifts in return to the women who gave gifts to them on Valentine’s Day. Started by a Japanese confectionery company in 1978 as a marketing campaign, White Day has since become popular in many other Asian countries such as China and South Korea.
Other Ways to Give Gifts
Even in a culture like Japan where Valentine’s Day gifts are usually limited to just chocolate, there are other gifts that are okay to give! Some of the items listed below can help to show that special person your feelings of appreciation in a new and interesting way!
Giving a gift of wine has always been a great way to show appreciation. Giving a gift of Japanese sake would make anyone’s holiday even more memorable!
Whisky is very popular in Japan, with many famous brands such as Suntory Whisky and Nikka Whisky. Why not consider this great gift for a friend or two?
You can’t go wrong with a gift of Japanese tea! Whether it’s the top-quality tea from Shizuoka or a more normal brand, it’s a flavor that everyone should experience.
We recommend adding Japanese flavor to your next Valentine’s Day present with all of these new options. Show that person you care about that you are different from the rest with a unique gift that most people outside of Japan would never think to give!
* Alcoholic beverages cannot be sold to persons under the age of 20.