Latest News

Friday, 14th February 2014
In Events In Japan,

Valentine's chocolates in high demand

Japanese women are flocking to department stores today (February 14th ) to purchase Valentine's Day chocolate for loved ones, as tradition dictates, although it would appear a greater number than usual are dispensing with the tradition.

For much of the Western World, it is the men who must do all the running around on Valentine's Day, as they will sink or swim based on their romantic efforts.

However, a 1950s advertisement from the company Mary Chocolate that depicted Valentine's Day as "the only day of the year a woman professes her love through presenting chocolate" has reversed the culture in Japan, and it has never changed.

Many women are continuing to buy extravagant gifts for their husbands in order to express 'honmei' (true love), with 'giri' (obligation) treats proving popular for colleagues and bosses.

But while male shoppers remain few and far between, it is worth remembering that not all chocolate sold today is designed to be consumed by men.

There has been an increase in 'tomo' (friend) chocolates being purchased, for women to recognise their female companions.

Those who feel sorry for the women having to buy chocolates for the men on what is traditionally - in the West at least - a day for their own efforts to be recognised need not fear.

March 14th is known as White Day when it is tradition for the men to go out and buy gifts for all of the women in their lives.

Japan has a known fondness for chocolate and its industry is the largest in the entirety of Asia, with a market of more than $100 billion.

Those looking for sweet delectables to enjoy while in the country should try out a Japanese patisserie or bakery. They generally specialise in shoku-pan - a soft cake-like bread that is especially tasty with bean jam.

Written by Mark Smith