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IN HAMAMATSU.COM Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan Visitor Guide

IN HAMAMATSU.COM Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan Visitor Guide Hamamatsu

Valentine's Day in Japan

Valentine's Day is a day where women express their love
--is it unique to Japan?


Valentine's Day originated as a day to commemorate the execution of the Christian martyr St. Valentino, who was executed on February 14th. (Valentine is the English reading of Valentino.) It is said that Valentine's Day became a day for couples to affirm their love because St. Valentine secretly performed weddings for couples who wished to marry during the Roman era when marriage was prohibited.

Valentine's Day in Japan
Although the reverse is true in other countries, in Japan, Valentine's Day has become established as a day for women to express their feelings to men. Chocolate has set in as the typical gift to accompany the holiday, since it was chocolate sellers that established Valentine's Day in Japan.
The custom of women giving gifts to men was formed because women were the primary customers of the department stores that kicked off the first Valentine's Day selling blitz in Japan. An additional reason is that Japan at the time was influenced by the Women's Liberation Movement in America, yielding feelings that women should take the initiative in romantic relationships.


Valentine's Day in Japan did not begin with the romance that's originally associated with the holiday, but rather as part of a marketing competition in the chocolate and department store industries. Perhaps the day was established as an occasion to express feelings because the Japanese, who have difficult times expressing feelings, needed such a day in the first place.

Various Valentine's Day chocolates in Japan

♥Chocolate for one's love interest(honmei-choco)

Chocolate given in earnest to a man that one has a romantic interest in. This constitutes a confession of love if the giver alone has feelings for the other, and a demonstration of love when given to a partner in a relationship.

♥Obligatory chocolate(giri-choco)
Chocolates given with gratitude from everyday life to those who have provided help, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, customers, and so on.

♥Friend chocolate(tomo-choco)
Chocolates given to female friends as an indication of friendship. This is currently the most popular way to give chocolate in Japan and is mainly prevalent among students.

♥My chocolate
Also known as "reward chocolate", this is a gift to yourself of the chocolate you most desire . As it is a reward for your own hard work, it has a tendency to be expensive.

svt3.jpg In Japan, it is popular to express one's feelings in a variety of ways on Valentine's Day. Why don't you try giving some chocolates to that special someone?

2015.5.20 update

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