Valentine’s Day in Japan: 8 Tips to Know if it is Honmei Choco or Giri Choco

honmei or giri

What are honmei choco and giri choco?

Honmei Choco (本命チョコ) is a chocolate that women give to men as a confession of love. It is a staple chocolate for Japanese Valentine’s day.

Giri Choco (義理チョコ) is a chocolate given by women to men who are not their lovers as gifts to show friendship or gratitude. Refer to Types of Chocolates on Japanese Valentine’s Day to know other types of chocolates on Valentine’s day in Japan.

How to know if it is honmei choco or giri choco?

It is a happy thing for a man to receive a chocolate from a woman on Valentine’s day. It is good if he can easily recognize the type of chocolate that he received, else it might be a little troublesome to judge wheather it is a honmei choco or a giri choco. Here are 8 tips that may help to distinguish between honmei choco and giri choco.

1. Are the chocolates around you different from yours?

If you get chocolates that can be divided by school or the entire workplace, such as one big box containing about 50 boxes of chocolates, it is likely that it is a giri choco.

In contrast, if you received chocolate that is different from the people around you, such as a different box or a larger box, there is a high probability that it is a honmei choco.

The characteristic of honmei choco is that each one of it is beautiful, and many of them contain some luxurious elements.

2. How is the chocolate handed to you?

If it is handed over to you in front of some acquaintances such as a friends, colleagues or employer, there is a high possibility that it is a giri choco. However, in the case which other acquaintances didn’t receive the chocolate, then there is a high possibility that it is a honmei choco.

On the contrary, if the chocolate is handed to you not publicly, there is a high possibility that it is a honmei choco. For example, if the woman called you in advance to arrange to pass the chocolate to you, handed the chocolate to you in an environment of just two people.

3. Is there a message card in the chocolate box?

If the contents of the message consist the feeling of politeness, there is a high possibility that it is a giri choco. For example:

  • I am always grateful for your help.
  • I always look forward to working with you.
  • Thank you for your hard work.

On the other hand, if the contents of the message contain invitation or confession, there is a high possibility that it is a honmei choco. For example:

  • Let’s hang out together next time?
  • Let’s have a drink next week?
  • I like you. Please go out with me.

4. What if it is a handmade chocolate?

Just because it is a handmade chocolate doesn’t mean it is a honmei choco.

If you get a simple handmade chocolate that you melt and harden it, with little efforts, it’s probably a giri choco.

In the case of a honmei choco, it is usually:

  • not just melting and hardening
  • costs more money to produce
  • particular about wrapping

5. Did she check with you if you like chocolate?

If you are not asked in advance if you like chocolate, it is possibly giri choco.

If you are asked in advance if you like chocolate, it is possibly honmei choco. it is a women’s heart that hopes the gift will be enjoyed by the man she likes. If the man doesn’t like chocolate, she could plan to give him something else.

6. Where is the chocolate sold?

Chocolates bought in convenience store or supermarket can be almost defined as giri choco. The popular brands that represent giri choco includes Black Thunder, Country Ma’am, KitKat and so on.

Luxury brands such as Godiva and from famous pastry chefs (chocolatiers) are likely to be honmei choco.

7. How does she react after Valentine’s day?

If she doesn’t have particular change at a later date after Valentine’s day, there is a higher possibility that it is a giri choco.

If she reacts differently or even tries to avoid it after Valentine’s day, it is most likely that it is a honmei choco.

8. What is the last way to distinguish?

The most reliable way is to ask the woman directly if it is a honmei choco or a giri choco. If you check with her and get the answer, you don’t have to keep guessing, misunderstand or feel embarrassed. It is also suggested to read the air (observe the atmosphere) before asking.

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