Focus on Japan: Introduction
Do you know that in Japan, it is the women who offer chocolate to the men on St. Valentine’s Day?
This Western holiday made its first appearance in the 1950s. On this occasion, chocolates are not just given to the person whom you covet or love, which are called “honmei” chocolates (for true love), but it is also customary to offer “giri choco” (obligatory chocolates) to one’s bosses and colleagues at the office.
It is estimated that between 12-20% of annual chocolate sales are made during the St. Valentine’s period, confirming the popularity of this custom.
But in this society where reciprocating goes without saying, one month later on March 14, the roles are reversed. On “White Day”, a custom that was introduced in the 1970s, it is customary that men who received chocolates from women reciprocate the gesture to them.