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!