Happy Valentine's Day! This day is celebrated globally in many different ways, and today. I would like to share with you the unique traditions of Valentine’s Day in Japan.
In Japan, Valentine's Day is not just a day for couples to express their love for each other.
It is a day where girls can approach the boy they like and ask if they can be a couple. The boy then has a month to give his answer on the day known as “White Day” which is on March 14th. This is a unique way for young people to express their feelings and take the initiative in starting a relationship.
Naturally, St. Valentine’s Day is an exciting and anxiously awaited holiday for school-aged children in Japan. It’s a big day for kids, as they try to find out who gave chocolates to whom. There is always a buzz of excitement in the air as students try to decipher the meaning behind each gift. For many young girls, approaching the boy they like and asking to be a couple can be a nerve-wracking experience. Others, who may be too shy to face the boy directly, choose to simply place the chocolate in the boy's desk. This creates an air of mystery and excitement.
The boys who receive a lot of chocolates, especially the popular ones, find their desk drawers overflowing with chocolate. This can be a very special moment for them and a source of pride.
On the other hand, for older generations, workplace customs involve women giving “義理チョコ” (obligatory chocolates) to their male coworkers. This is seen as a way of expressing gratitude and appreciation towards them, rather than romantic love.
Chocolate has become such a popular gift in Japan on Valentine’s Day due to a marketing campaign by one of the chocolate companies. As a result, it’s not so much about flowers, teddy bears, wine or any other types of gifts, and it’s all chocolate. People buy special chocolates at stores or make homemade treats such as cake or cookies to give to their special someone.
In the days leading up to February 14th, stores in Japan, especially the popular “デパ地下” (department store basement), get incredibly busy. People flock to these stores to purchase chocolates, sweets, and gifts for their loved ones, coworkers, and friends. The atmosphere is lively and festive, as people search for the perfect gift to show their love and affection.
I hope this brief insight into the Japanese celebration of St. Valentine's Day has given you a new perspective on the holiday.
Wishing you a happy and love-filled Valentine's Day!