|The History of St. Valentine's Day in Japan!|
|Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00|
What is St. Valentine’s Day to Japanese people? The Japanese version of this custom might give you culture shock because there are huge differences between the Japanese and British ways to celebrate this special day. Today, we would like to tell you the brief history and the origins of St. Valentine’s Day in Japan as your introduction to a Japanese style Valentine’s in 2012!
In general, Japan’s unique St. Valentine’s Day custom seems to have been created and to be controlled by major chocolate or confectionery companies in Japan. Initially, in the late 1970s, some confectionery manufacturers and distributors tried to popularise St. Valentine’s Day in Japanese society to promote their chocolate products. This is also when the Japanese-style St. Valentine’s Day, where only women present chocolates to men in order to express love to them, was established.
In the 1970s, the custom was practiced mainly among teenagers (higher years of primary school through high school). In the late 1980s, the giving of chocolates became popular among housewives also. After the custom became established, another unique annual event appeared in Japanese society—this time for men only--in the early 1980s. Held on March 14th, this is called White Day. On White Day, men give various gifts to women in return for those received on St. Valentine’s Day. It was started by the National Confectionery Industry Association specifically in order to promote their products. At the same time, a new style of chocolate gift was created, the ‘Giri(obligation)-Choco’. These are intended to be given by women to men they don’t love or even fancy!
Nowadays, it is said that 20% of the annual chocolate consumption in Japan is eaten on St. Valentine’s Day. This is because today Japanese women enjoy giving chocolates not only to men but also to their friends, family members, or anybody! Recently, even men are being encouraged to give chocolate gifts ‘Gyaku (reverse)-Choco’ to women on St. Valentine’s Day, particularly by Morinaga & Co., Ltd., a leading producer and seller of dairy products and a wide range of milk-based confectionery products.
So, although Japan seems to have lost the original purpose of celebrating St. Valentine’s Day, there is no doubt that the custom brings a huge benefit to Japanese economy, especially to the confectionery industry, every year.
WIN yourself some Valentine's Choccies with HYPER JAPAN & Tofu Cute
We've teamed up with super-kawaii online store Tofu Cute (you can also catch them at the event!) to run a week-long competition to win a packed of Valentine's chocolates every day! Today's delicious prize is the delicious set to the right. And it's so simple to win! All you need to do is Like the post linking to this article on our Facebook, or tweet this article, or write us a comment - and we'll pick someone at the end of each day. And if you don't win today, you can try again tomorrow. Click here to check out Tofu Cute's extensive range of fun and fascinating Japanese sweets and snacks, along with Japanese kawaii-style accessories, stationery and gifts.
Text: Honami Matsuura