Blackcabbit's World

Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.

Celebrating Love in Japan – Valentine’s Day & White Day

Valentine’s Day

Like the rest of the world, Valentine’s Day (バレンタインデー) in Japan is pretty much hyped up with a gift-giving mindset. However, what is interesting about Japan is that CHOCOLATE has virtually replaced typical gifts such as roses, jewelries or soft toys etc. The reason is that Japan has a unique tradition, which is particularly important to young women.

On this day where love is globally celebrated, many Japanese lady-folks will give chocolate goodies to the one they wish to confess their love to. These chocolate filled with genuine sentiment are known as the Honmei Choko (本命チョコ), which are either bought or homemade. Some ladies may even present Giri Choko (義理チョコ / obligatory-gift chocolate) to male friends or colleagues, usually out of courtesy or gratitude or simply because one is in a giving mood.

Honmei ChokoAn Etegami (Picture Postcard)
I did for “Valentine’s Day.”
Message: Have a perfect (wonderful) Valentine’s Day!


Here is a brief history on why chocolate is settled as “the” gift to give in Japan:

The Valentine’s Day vogue of today had its beginnings in 1936 and 1952 when a Kobe confectionery, Morozoff, utilizing their shrewd commercialism in making the most of this custom, began a campaign calling on women to give chocolates to the man in their hearts. In 1958, another Tokyo confectionery took up this campaign and the custom became an instant hit among young women.

Around 1975, hoping that their luck would continue, White Day was conceived, which is a day coming one month after Valentine’s Day where men give women whom they received chocolates from, chocolates back in return – which is really quite unnecessary.

An excerpt from the book “100 Tough Questions for Japan” by Itasaka Gen (1996/P.33)

White Day

As mentioned above, White Day / ホワイトデー (celebrated on March 14) is the brainchild of the Japanese’s chocolate makers. While the women played the active role on Valentine’s Day, it is now the men’s turn to reciprocate. Interestingly, White Day presents are not restricted to chocolates. The guys can be creative in their choices of return gifts to the ladies.

ホワイトデーAn Etegami (Picture Postcard)
I did for “White Day.”
Message: The best White Day present is
when you know that his heart belongs to you!


Japanese Annual Events (Main Page)


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