Valentine’s Day in Japan: How do Japanese Celebrate?

How do Japanese celebrate Valentine’s day?

Valentine’s day is celebrated around the world annually on the 14th of February. It is a day to celebrate romance and love.

The culture of Valentine’s day in Japan is very unique. In Japan, it is a day which women give chocolates to men to confess their love. It is said that Japanese style of Valentine’s day took root in the 1970s, and it is a culture created from a commercial background with the aim of promoting sweets.

One month after Valentine’s day, the 14th March, is called White day in Japan. It is a “reply day” which men give reciprocal gifts to women who gave them gifts on Valentine’s day. Even if a man rejected a women on Valentine’s day, it is still a courtesy to give her a reciprocal gift on White day. The value of the reciprocal gifts defines the relationship between the two.

Wife, girlfriend, lover: gifts worth at least three times the value they spent on the gift on Valentine’s day.

Female friend: chocolate or sweets worth approximately the same value they spent on the gift on Valentine’s day.

Differences in Valentine’s day (Japan VS Western Countries)

 JapanWestern Countries
Gift GiverFemaleMale
Gift RecipientMaleFemale
White Day (14th March)YesNo
Chocolate for Opposite Sex to Show ConfessionYesYes
Chocolate for Opposite Sex to Show FriendshipYesNo

Types of Chocolates on Valentine’s Day in Japan

Valentine’s chocolate is only as a proof of love but also as a proof of friendship and gratitude. Both the giver and the recipient need to know what the chocolate they received means. Knowing few common types of Valentine’s chocolates so that when you receive it you know what it represents for.

However, in some cases, it can be a bit of an annoyance even for Japanese men if the giver did not tell them what type of chocolate it is. Refer to 8 Tips to Know if it is a Honmei or Giri Choco to distinguish between them.

Hon Mei Choco 本命チョコ

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

Chocolates given by women to men who are not their lovers as gifts to show friendship.

Tomo Choco 友チョコ

Tomo choco means friend chocolate. It is chocolate that is given to each other by the same sex which mainly between women.

Gyaku Choco 逆チョコ

Gyaku choco means reverse chocolate. As Valentine’s day in Japan is a day which women give chocolates to men as a confession of love. Chocolate that men give to women on this day as a confession of love is called gyaku choco.

My Choco マイチョコ

Chocolate that you can buy and enjoy for yourself.

Fami Choco ファミチョコ

Fami choco is chocolate to be give to the family. In many cases, Valentine’s chocolate is given to the father, but one can also give chocolates to other family members including men and women.

Yuri Choco/ Homo Choco ユリチョコ・ホモチョコ

Yuri choco and homo choco are chocolates that are given as a confession of love to the same sex. The one given from a woman to a woman is called Yuri chocolate, and the one given from a man to a man is called Homo chocolate.

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