Author: Mika Arimoto
Editor: Saki Arimoto
On Valentine’s Day, in most countries, men and even women give chocolates or flowers to important women in their lives to show their appreciation of love. In Japan, mainly women give men chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Uniquely in Japan, all men who receive chocolates on Valentine’s Day have to return the favor on White Day which is celebrated on March 14, a month after Valentine’s Day.
Recently, these gender-specific holidays are declining and fewer people are participating in this gift-giving-back culture (Lufkin, 2019). Not only has the progress of gender roles in Japan caused the decline but also fewer women are giving out chocolates due to practicality and fewer men are giving them back (Lufkin, 2019).
Although there is a decline in popularity, many people are still celebrating it. I asked some of the students in TIU whether they have celebrated White Day and if they did, how they celebrated it.
Andreas from Sweden (3rd year IR student in TIU) and Kaho from Japan
Did you celebrate White Day with your girlfriend this year?
Andreas: We didn’t celebrate it much, but I got her some flowers and ate left-over chocolates from Valentine’s Day together a few days prior to the actual White Day.
Andri from Indonesia (1st year BE student in TIU) and Faris from Indonesia
Did you celebrate White Day with your boyfriend this year?
Andri: No, we didn’t even remember. We also rarely celebrate Valentine’s Day in Indonesia.
From my personal experience, since I made chocolates during Valentine’s day, my partner bought me chocolates and candies on White Day. During the day itself, I gave some hints to indicate that “today is White Day” because I knew he forgot it. He ended up buying me random chocolates and candies from a convenience store.
Based on the interviews, not everybody celebrates White day or even Valentine’s Day in Japan. These holidays became less and less customary and do not solely define the romance of couples. It is said that these holidays are being rebranded by younger generations — less pressure and expectations from society.