Japan is cars. Japan is electronics. Japan is perfection…..and Japan is unique. Where fast paced globalization is spreading western cultures and norms all around the world Japan has its own unique ways to celebrate the global events and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Japan celebrates Valetine’s Day but it has been modified to suit a different purpose.
In Japan, Valentine’s Day is an event where girls give out gifts (usually small boxes of chocolates) to boys to express their love. The root of this unique celebration lies in the fact that most Japanese girls are (or at least were) so shy that they could not voice their love interest to the guys. This was seen as a barrier to expression of love for the girls. However, the arrival of Valentine’s Day solved the problem. Now Japanese girls present chocolates to men they love and thus express their love interest in a way where they do not need to be direct and do not become vague at the same time. The ritual is reciprocated in ‘White Day’ when boys do the same to express their love interest.
I guess by now you all have started to think that it is a nice idea to duplicate in the coming Valentine’s Day. While I pretty much back up your idea, I strongly suggest that you finish reading this article. You will see there’s more to this Japanese celebration where love among couples is not the only thing that is highlighted.
In Japanese Valentine’s Day girls express love to their male colleagues and friends as well. The procedure is pretty much the same- they give chocolates. Scratching your head to figure out then how they keep away from being vague? There’s an easy way to do that.
There are two kinds of chocolate gifts to be presented in the Valentine’s Day. One is ‘giri choco’ (meaning obligatory chocolate) and the other is ‘hon choco’ (meaning love chocolate). Giri choco is given to men whom they love as a friend or owe a favor. Giri Choco boxes are usually smaller and obviously less stylish than hon choco boxes which contain, apart from better chocolates, the message of true love. If a Japanese guy receives giri choco from a woman that means the woman is his friend. On the other hand, if a Japanese guy receives hon choco from a woman that will mean the woman is proposing him for a love relationship.
So now you know all you need to know about Japanese Valentine’s Day. The idea seems to be super nice. So be it- express your love in Japanese style on Valentine’s day. Best of luck!