February 14th 「バレンタインデー」

Valentine’s Day in Japan

You might wonder “do people in Japan celebrate Valentine’s Day?”  Yes, we do, but we celebrate in a different way.  In Japan, women give gifts of chocolate to men on Valentine’s Day.  This tradition started in the 1960’s, but it became popular in 1970-1980’s.

There are two different types of chocolate gifts. One of them is called “Giri-choco” which literally means “obligation chocolate” and is bought for friends, co-workers, bosses, and male friends. There is no romance involved.

The other one is called “Honmei-choco” which is given to a boyfriend, lover or husband to signify true love.  Some women prepare chocolate by themselves to give as Honmei choco.  In the past few years, “Tomo-choco” has appeared to give to a woman’s female friends.  You will see large displays of chocolate in department stores, grocery stores and everywhere in mid January – February 14th.  If you visit Japan and go to a department store at this time of year, you will get a sense of the Japanese version of Valentine’s Day!

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