Valentine's Day (February 14th) has long been familiar in Europe and the United States, but it was only after an aggressive campaign by confectioners that the day caught on in Japan. The custom was first billed as a time for romantic love “when women give chocolates to the men they love and those they hope will be their sweethearts.”
Today, the day remains a chance for women to give chocolates to the various men in their lives (rather than vice versa), including husbands, fathers, relatives, coworkers, and bosses. In consequence, some 20% of the nation's annual consumption of chocolates takes place in the pre Valentine season, showing how widespread the custom has grown, In particular, chocolate given non-romantically to men such as office friends, customers, and friends is known as giri-choco (“diplomacy chocolate”).
Japan also has a day for male Valentine chocolate recipients to give something back. A month later, on March 14th, men give women marshmallows, cookies, or other gifts. Known as “White Day,” this custom has also known root as unique Japanese twist on an old Wester idea.
Updated: 29 January, 2018