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White day mirrors Valentine's Day

by Yuka Suzuki, staff writer

White Day, the Japanese male’s answer day to Valentine’s Day, is an event particular to Japan. On Japan’s Valentine’s Day, females present chocolate to males. The primary significance of Valentine’s Day is the confession of love by women to the men in their lives. These men, however, are more than just husbands and lovers. For Japanese women, that gift giving to bosses, coworkers, or friends is a social obligation. One month after Valentine’s Day, Mar. 14, is the day when a return gift is due from males to females.

 

The significance of White Day is the repayment of an obligation, rather than confessions of love. However, couples can get together on White Day too, if males are smart enough to give females gifts of greater value than what they were received earlier.

Originally, in 1977, a Kyushu candy store, Ishimurumanseido, started to promote marshmallows as a return gift from males to females for Valentine’s Day. The store’s product was a white marshmallow inside chocolate cream. The white marshmallow represents the male’s pure heart.

Other stores also started to promote candy and cookies. And then, in 1980, when the candy and confectionery industry promoted a catch phrase, “repay with love,” the White Day tradition was established. It was named White Day, because white is a symbolic of being pure-hearted.

The White Day campaigns succeeded in increasing the sales volume of candy, by more than $66 million in a short period of seven years, according to the candy and confectionery industry cooperative.

 

 

 

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