White Day in Japan
White Day in Japan
On March 14th, Japan celebrates a second Valentine’s Day officially known as White Day. In Western countries, Valentine’s Day is a give and receive event where couples will exchange gifts or chocolates and go out for a romantic dinner. But in Japan, Valentine’s Day is a day where only women will gift their boyfriend, husband or guy that they have a crush on.
But on White Day, men will buy gifts and/or chocolates for their girlfriend, wife or girl that they have a crush on. So in preparation for this day, you will see many stores selling White Day gifts/chocolates just like you would see on Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day, a lot of the packaging is red or pink. But on White Day most of the packaging is usually white.
You may be curious to know where the White Day holiday originated from. Well this is said to have started in the Hakata region in the 1970’s by a man named Ishimura Manseido. In 1977, a man named Zengo Ishimura, an executive of a company, was reading a woman’s magazine looking for all sorts of inspiration. And in the magazine there was one letter written by a woman that caught his attention. In that letter, the woman talked about how it was unfair for women to give gifts on Valentine’s Day and not get anything in return. Therefore, he came up with the idea of creating a day where men would gift women to express their gratitude. And it is said that with this idea he also came up with the idea of making a marshmallow paste with chocolate stuffed inside to be sold on this special day.
At his company meeting, he asked the women employees to choose a day that they believed would best suit this new holiday. And as March 14th was exactly a month after Valentine’s Day they chose March 14th. Then in 1978, in cooperation with local department stores they came up with the very first White Day event but at this time it was named Marshmallow Day. But then later, it was recommended to rename it as White Day as it was more open ended instead of referring to marshmallows. By the 1980’s, White Day had spread all over Japan and even spread to other parts of Asia.
However, it is also said that the popularity of White Day has diminished over the last few years. As both men and women are starting to gift each other on Valentine’s Day. People are becoming more accustomed to the Western Style of Valentine’s Day. So slowly White Day is declining.