Valentine’s Day is an important day for lovebirds. Our reporter explores how the special day is celebrated in Japan.

By Karen Li Ka Wing

Japanese candy company Ishimura Manseido started “White Day” in 1977. Photo by Karen Li

Japanese candy company Ishimura
Manseido started “White Day” in 1977.
Photo by Karen Li

In Japan, women will present store bought or handmade chocolates to men as an expression of love or courtesy. Chocolates given to spouses, boyfriends or loved ones are called honmei-choco, but those given to friends are called giri-choco.

A month later, the men lucky enough to receive chocolates on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favor by giving presents that are slightly more expensive than those purchased for them.

The custom originated in 1977 with Ishimura Manseido, a Japanese candy company in Fukuoka, Kyushu. The company suggested that men should return the Valentine’s favor one month later.

Other companies soon followed the practice and produced white chocolates for March 14, which people eventually called “White Day”. According to tradition, men who do not return a gift on White Day will be punished by the “Chocolate Law” of having to “give three presents”.

Nowadays, some young couples in Hong Kong also follow Japanese tradition and celebrate “White Day”. Women show their affection by giving their boyfriends chocolates on Valentine’s Day and the men will plan a surprise romantic getaway in return on March 14. Euphemia Poon, a fan of Japanese culture, said that last year she proposed to her dream man by giving him a box of hand-made chocolates on Valentine’s Day and he sent her a reply with a necklace on March 14.

Besides presenting gifts to loved ones, it is also common for local couples to visit the place they fi rst met or to enjoy a luxury meal at a top-class restaurant on Valentine’s day.

留言 Comments