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Valentine's Day in Japan

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Valentine's Day in Japan

Valentine's Day in Japan

Photo (c) Shizuko Mishima
Valentine's Day (February 14) in Japan is basically the day for women to give men chocolates or gifts. This is how Valentine's Day is celebrated in Japan and attractively packaged chocolates are widely sold at stores in Japan before Valentine's Day. Women are expressing love to men by giving chocolates on Valentine's Day. But it's also common for women to give chocolates to men who they don't actually love, such as co-workers and friends. This kind of chocolates are called giri-choco which mean chocolates given because of obligations. Japanese women commonly buy many giri-choco.

Men who received chocolates or gifts on Valentine's Day are supposed to give gifts back to the women on March 14 called White Day. Gifts for White Day vary but they are usually sweets, such as candies and cookies.

New Valentine's Day customs have recently been practiced in Japan. One is called "gyaku-choco (reverse chocolate)" which means chocolates given by men to women. Also, "tomo-choco (friendship chocolate)" is becoming popular among Japanese girls. They give their friends chocolates on Valentine's Day.

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