In Japan as in France, Valentine’s Day is a special day for lovers.
Oscillating between tradition and marketing, February 14th in Japan is firstly reserved for single women who take advantage of this moment to offer a gift – usually a box of chocolates – to the one they love. When the chocolates are not accepted, it is a sign that feelings are not shared (or, more rarely, that the person cannot afford to honour her part of the contract on White Day, which we will discuss below).
On the other hand, if the coveted man accepts his present, it’s a pretty good sign! She then has to wait until March 14th to be totally certain of her feelings towards him. On that day, the man is required to respond with a white gift of three times the value of the chocolates received.
White Day (Howaito dē), which appeared some forty years ago in Japan, is particularly representative of Japanese culture, which is very much focused on giving. Indeed, when a Japanese person receives a gift, it is unthinkable for him or her not to offer anything in return.
Originally, men offered marshmallows on March 14th, then white chocolate, hence the name White Day. Today, White Day is mainly a commercial holiday: gifts are no longer chocolates but usually lingerie or jewellery.
Marketing or not, this is still a very romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?
Note: If you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a Japanese spirit, we invite you to discover Nippon boutique, a site offering many little wonders that are sure to seduce your partner!