lifestyle

And now for White Day

14 Comments
By Sachi Yoneda

Valentine’s Day festivities ended on Feb 14 but that doesn’t mean the chocolate craze is over in Japan. White Day is coming up on March 14 ... and that means it is the men’s turn to give chocolates to the ladies who gave them goodies on Feb 14.

The origins of White Day are open to debate, and there are two stories. One is that the custom began in 1965, when it was introduced by a marshmallow manufacturing company to drive up sales of its sugary product. Fukui-based company Ishimura Manseido marketed chocolate-filled marshmallows to men on March 14, calling the day “Marshmallow Day.”

The second explanation is that White Day was started in 1978 by Japan’s National Confectionery Industry Association (NCIA) as an “answer day” to Valentine’s Day.

In any case, on White Day, men who received chocolates from women on Valentine’s Day, whether “honmei-choco” (for love) or obligatory “giri-choco”, are expected to return the favor. The NCIA even went as far as to create the catchphrase, “White Day is a sweet day” to make the unofficial holiday recognizable.

White chocolates are the preferred gift, although candy, flowers and even white lingerie have become popular presents. Polls asking Japanese women what they want to receive on White Day have raised the bar for men, with most women expecting jewelry, brand items and fancy dinners.

Whatever the item, the custom is known in Japanese as “sanbai-gaeshi” (triple value) because what guys give women is supposed to be three times greater in value than the chocolates the guy got on Valentine’s Day.

The White Day tradition has also been exported and is currently celebrated in South Korea, China, Taiwan and other Southeast Asian countries.

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14 Comments
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White Day has to be the most hateful, cynical, brutally commercial, joyless "Day" of the year.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"White Day was started in 1978 by Japan’s National Confectionery Industry Association (NCIA) as an “answer day” to Valentine’s Day" more like an excuse to sell more product.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Some women give chocolates to just about as many guys as they can find on Valentine's Day in the hope that they will get back more than they give a month later on White Day. And they usually do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

White day is just a lame social "obligation" originating in Japan & copied by the rest of asia. I hate it when Japan copies western traditions like, Christmas (with a less than 10% christian popultion), Halloween (which is primarily to be scary - not "kawaii") and now tailoring Valentine's Day with their twist on it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Whatever the item, the custom is known in Japanese as “sanbai-gaeshi” (triple value) because what guys give women is supposed to be three times greater in value than the chocolates the guy got on Valentine’s Day.

And who came up with that 'custom'? Confectionery company shachos at a nomikai one night? More than likely. White Day is such a lame excuse to milk an otherwise enjoyable Valentine's Day tradition (back home, at least). Don't even get me started on how farcical a 'celebration' 'Christmas' is here...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yoshimi Onishi: Some women give chocolates to just about as many guys as they can find on Valentine's Day in the hope that they will get back more than they give a month later on White Day. And they usually do.

Do they eat the chocolate or save it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My wife is always happy to receive a nice gift from me. For this reason I have no problems with getting her something nice for White Day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In a country where social obligations are already complex and very extensive, what idiot created more? I.e., copying Valentine's Day and then creating White Day. This is pure, and cynical, entrepreneurial crass. Nobody enjoys it, and everyone feels the additional obligation. Stupid.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

f-that

Japan wouldn't do nothing unless there's a social obligation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I actually like the idea. My husband and I don't live in Japan (yet) but we are going to start this tradition (both V-Day and White Day) next year. Though, I can understand the annoyance of both days because it's like being in elementary school when there is a birthday or it's Valentine's and you have to go out and buy something for everyone in the class (at least in the States, though I don't know if they still do that...)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Couldn't care either way, valentine day is way different back home.

We don't need a certain day to show how much we appreciate and enjoy the support of our GF, Wife's, etc.

Rather show it regularly with small gestures, gifts, etc ditto for mothers and fathers day. There are 365 days in a year why set one day apart?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"There are 365 days in a year; why set one day apart? "

Tried that line when I forgot the wife's birthday last year. Didn't work ; (

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, to hear that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hey!! Not fair-

Everyone is mentioning wives, GF . . . . . . but what about the extras, mistresses & 1-night stands?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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