Updated: November 06, 2018
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So Women Give Men Chocolate On Valentine's Day In Japan??

Yes, that's right! On Valentine's Day, women give men chocolate, and not only to their significant other but also to their coworkers, which is thought to smooth work relations. And a month later, it's the men's turn! Beautiful tradition or corporate holiday times two? Your pick!

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Valentine's Day In Japan!

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It is the tradition for women to give chocolate to men on Valentine's Day. It is expected of women to offer chocolate, not only to their partner but also to their male coworkers. This is called "giri choco"(義理チョコ), as opposed to "honmei choco" (本命チョコ).

Wait, so what's "giri choco"(義理チョコ) and "honmei choco" (本命チョコ)?

"Giri choco" means chocolate you offer out of obligation to the people around you to oil social relationships. And "honmei choco" means chocolate you offer to someone you actually have feelings for. So this means women have to buy a lot of chocolate that day, and are grateful when it falls on a weekend.

Godiva asked women to stop buying so much chocolate!

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Hold up! So in preparation for chocolate manufacturers' most lucrative day, Godiva ran a full ad asking women to stop buying so much chocolate? Yes, they asked women to stop buying "giri choco" (obligatory chocolate). They said they should reserve this tradition and give chocolate only to people they actually have feelings for.

Why in heaven's name would they do that?

Well, when women have to buy chocolate for so many people, what do they head for? The low-priced chocolates. If women only buy chocolate for their loved ones, they will splurge and buy the more expensive chocolates, say like, hm, Godiva.
Smooth move Godiva.

So There's Valentine's Day, And Then Something Called "White Day"?

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Yes, White Day is exactly a month later, on March 14th. This is the time for the men to "retaliate" and offer back chocolate to the women around them: mothers, significant others, coworkers, etc.

So if you are overwhelmed by Valentine's Day and think of it as simply a lucrative way for big corporations to make big money, well...welcome to Japan! There is one added day for that!

Finally...

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So hopefully this information was useful to you and you'll know why you got chocolate on one of those days. Or, you can just pretend you had no idea. That way you don't have to buy anyone chocolate (hm hm).
Lili Wanderlust
I love travelling and discovering new cuisines. Japan has a panoply of local dishes to try. I also love yoga, coffee, reading, and cycling.

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