Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentines Day...Japanese Style

Valentines Day in Japan has a fairly short history going back to the post war recovery years of the 1950s.Apparently one of the first events was a sale held in 1958 by Isetan Department Store.Customers could by a set of Valentines Day chocolates and a card.Since then celebrating has expanded to the point that it now accounts for about 25 percent of Japans annual chocolate sales.

As with many things though,Valentines Day is given a distinctly Japanese twist.On February 14th Valentines Day has been transformed into a day when women in Japan give chocolates or other kinds of confectionery to men they like.
There are two types of Valentines gifts women can give.
Firstly there is giri-choco a neologism from the Japanese word giri meaning obligation and choco meaning chocolate.Giri-choco is given to bosses and male co-workers.
Secondly there is honmei-choco which is given to boyfriends,husbands and close male colleagues.
But its not all one way traffic.On February 14th women give gifts to men.One month later on White Day,March 14th,men who received chocolate on Valentines Day return the favor and give gifts to women.
White Day is a uniquely "Made in Japan" commerical manufactured day started by a Fukuoka marshmellow maker and the Iwataya Department Store in 1977.Although the day is named for the white marshmellows other gifts such as cookies and chocolates are also becoming popular.
(Reference...N.I.C Calendar February 2007,Wikipedia ).

1 comment:

seancarter said...

Hey this is really interesting...and it's always great to know about other cultures and traditions...well hey for some more info and facts you can also drop by my blog on Valentines Day and enjoy all that i've posted there!!!