Japan Puts a Twist on Valentine’s Day Gift Giving

Do the Japanese celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Yes, in fact, they do!

The Western holiday was introduced to Japan in the 1930’s by the confectionary shop Morozoff Limited with an advertisement aimed at attracting foreigners living in Japan. It was not until the 1950’s when other Japanese cookie and chocolate makers began popularizing the custom of Valentine’s Day gift giving.

Unlike in the United States, women give gifts to men on Valentine’s Day. Men are off the hook until White Day on March 14, when they return the favor and give gifts to the women.

In Japan, greeting cards are not usually handed out, nor do they say, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Often, the celebratory phrase “omedetou” is said when offering one’s gift to the receiver.

On Valentine’s Day, women may give gifts to not only to their significant others, but to male friends or colleagues as well. Gift giving is an important part of the Japanese culture, as it shows gratitude and friendship.


Happy Valentine’s Day from the J. Morey Company!

Valentine's Day musubi rice balls Image source: Ashley
Valentine’s Day musubi rice balls
Image source: Ashley

Source: Valentine’s Day in Japan