Valentine’s Day in Japan: Women Give Chocolate

Giving chocolate on Valentine’s Day is not only an American tradition. As humans, we feel drawn to anything with romance surrounding it. It makes perfect sense that each culture translates this holiday filled with red and pink, love letters, flowers, and sweets into something that everyone can celebrate. 

Some of us fantasize about Valentine’s, while others would rather forget it even exists. However, a simple truth remains: everyone loves receiving chocolate. 

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated a bit differently. The women present gifts to men. Instead of the Western tradition of relying on your boyfriend to have rose petals strewn along a garden pathway en route to a candlelit dinner (too Hollywood for you?), the women of Japan purchase chocolate gifts for the ones they love. 

Every store in Japan has a section dedicated to chocolate by the time mid-January rolls around. From delicately wrapped truffles to cocoa-dusted pastries, grocery stores, shopping malls, and convenience stores have many options for the lovestruck. 

Giri, Honmei, and Tomo Choco: What does it mean?

Japanese tradition customarily assigns each element a purpose and an audience. This is where ‘obligatory chocolate’ comes into play. In order to understand Valentine’s Day in Japan, you must take a look at the different types of chocolates. 

Giri choco means ‘obligatory chocolate.’ This is given to male colleagues or co-workers as an expression of friendship and gratitude. If you work with someone that you appreciate, you would present chocolate to them. 

For those that have won your heart, you give Homnei choco, or ‘true love chocolate.’ This chocolate is reserved for romantic interests. Many boyfriends, fiances, and husbands have the honor of being presented with homemade chocolate from their loves. Women might prefer to make their own truffles or bars as their Honmei choco to better express their devotion and love. Some people brave the day and present chocolate to their crushes. This chocolate is known as kokuhaku. Take a chance on love this year!

What about the people you love that wouldn’t traditionally receive or give chocolate? No worries! Tomo choco is ‘friend chocolate.’ This trend is newer, but that doesn’t mean it’s less heartfelt. This type of chocolate is given to everyone from anyone. Men are known to give chocolate gifts to their friends, and women commonly give gifts to their friends. Everyone loves receiving chocolate. 


Keep On Giving

Exactly one month after February 14th, men are expected to celebrate White Day. On this day, men gift their lovies something of equivalent value to what they received on Valentine’s Day. Furthermore, instead of pink and red, White Day is white and blue. This gifting exchange goes for those who were the recipients of Giri and Tomo choco as well. 

Being a species obsessed with love, we have certainly found every way to express our desires and passions through decadent gifts. Forte has plenty of luxury gourmet options for you. Order our heart-shaped truffles today and gift them to the ones you love.