White Day Tradition

Happy White Day
Happy White Day

White Day is a festival that is often celebrated in several countries in the East Asian region, such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China. This day is celebrated on March 14th, exactly one month after Valentine’s Day. In these countries, Valentine’s Day is when the girl gives a romantic gift to the boy, who is usually chocolate. Meanwhile, on White Day, the man returned the gift. The color white is a symbol of White Day because it is considered the color of pure, sincere, sweet, and white is the color of sugar. Another name for White Day is ‘Ai ni Kotaeru White Day’ (Answer Love on White Day).

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is usually celebrated by women by giving gifts of chocolates to men. It can be an expression of affection or social feelings. Usually, homemade chocolate is preferred by recipients because it is considered high sincerity due to the extra effort it requires.


What is White Day? 

Ishimura Manseido Shop
Ishimura Manseido Shop

White Day is the invention of a confectionary shop, Ishimura Manseido, in the Hakata region, Fukuoka. In 1977, Zengo Ishimura, an executive of the company, was reading a magazine looking for inspiration. One letter caught his attention, wrote, “It’s not fair that men get chocolate from women on Valentine’s Day, but they don’t return the favor. Why don’t they give us something? A handkerchief, candy, even marshmallows…”

Ishimura thinks if women would be happy to receive even marshmallows in return for their Valentine’s Day gifts, why not they invent a special day for men so that they could express their gratitude? He also concocted a fresh sweet to express that sentiment, made of marshmallow paste with chocolate stuffed inside. This marshmallow meaning is “I would like to take the chocolate I received from you, and wrap it with my white heart.” Sometime later, other candy and chocolate companies started selling white chocolate.

In Japan, women give chocolate to men as a Valentines Day tradition. Men return the favor by giving women sweets on March 14th or White Day. Usually, white-colored cookies and sweets are given, but people tend to do their own thing for White Day. Besides giving white chocolate, marshmallows, or candy, men also give other gifts such as gold or other valuables, depending on what you received on Valentine’s or your relationship with that person.


Honmei-Choco, Giri-Choco, Tomo-Choco

Honmei, giri, tomo choco
Honmei, giri, tomo choco


In Japan, two types of chocolate are given to men. But it’s not limited to just chocolate; it can also be candy, with different “levels” of feeling. Here is the explanation:

1. Honmei-Choco, chocolate that means affection or romance

If a Japanese woman gives you chocolate and doesn’t give chocolate to other male co-workers, this can indicate an element of romance in the chocolate. “Honmei” in language can be interpreted as “special or special.” You could say if the man gets an honmei choco from a Japanese woman, it means that he is a special man for her. If the man who receives the honmei choco shares the same feelings, he will reward him with multiple romantic gifts (Sanbaigeshi tradition).

2. Giri-Choco, chocolates, or gifts that means gratitude or social 

“Giri” in Japanese can be interpreted as obligatory. On Valentine’s Day, women usually give simple chocolates as a token of gratitude to their male co-workers. Meanwhile, in return, the men will give small gifts in the form of small cakes. This is done as an obligation or a token of gratitude that does not contain an element of romance.

3. Tomo Choco, chocolate that means friendship

‘Tomo’ is short for the word ‘tomodachi’, which can mean friend or friend. Usually, the tomo choco is given to express a sense of friendship among school children. School children usually give this Tomo choco to their friends, classmates, and male teachers. Tomo choco is also usually homemade chocolate. So, for Japanese mothers, when they are approaching Valentine, they will usually be busy making various kinds of chocolates for their children so that they can be given to their friends and teachers. This applies to both boys and girls.


Sanbaigaeshi traditions in White Day 

There is a unique unwritten rule that a man must perform the Sanbaigaeshi (3 倍 返 し) tradition. A sanbaigaeshi is that a man must give a woman as much as three times the gift he receives on Valentine’s Day. If the man gets an expensive gift on Valentine’s Day, then according to tradition, the man must reciprocate by giving a gift that is three times more expensive than the gift received.

The opposite remains true even if one accepts the simple giri choco. Men still have to reciprocate by giving gifts that are three times as much value.

If a man gets honmei chocolates on Valentine’s Day, then that person can give him a gift, a date, or an affection in return.

If the man returns with a lower value gift, it is tantamount to destroying the ongoing romantic relationship. Moreover, there was a full month to think about feelings and replies, so it was better to reply properly.


Don’t confess your feelings on White Day

On White Day, a man should not confess his love for a woman who doesn’t give him chocolate. Confession of love from a man is forbidden on White Day. Because the meaning of White Day itself is to repay the feelings of women who have given chocolate.

If you really want to express your feelings, it is better to express them after White Day. If a man tells his feelings on White Day to a woman who does not give him chocolate on Valentine’s Day, he will have to wait for the answer on Valentine’s Day next year. Even though White Day is a day related to love, a man should not express his feelings of affection to the person he likes, unless it is a reply.


Popular Confections and Gifts on White Day 

White Day gifts for the woman may vary from person to person. It can be either edible or non-edible. Below are some of the most popular gift suggestions.

1. Chocolates and cookies

White choco pop
White choco pop

Traditionally, various kinds of chocolates, cookies, and other sweet treats are given on White Day. However, there are other gifts for people who don’t have a sweet tooth.

2. Accessories and jewelry

We all know that most women are accessories and jewelry lovers. This is the reason why some men prefer giving women something very useful. When the giver does this, they will be remembered for longer.

3. Candies

Japanese milk candy
Japanese milk candy

For some reason, candies are the number 3 on the list of men’s favorite gifts to women. Some research even found that candies are not on the top 10 list! Although giving candies to women has quite a good meaning, it will be better if you give out candies and an additional item. However, if the said woman loves candies, then why not?

4. Spending time together 

Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland

Nowadays, spending time together as a couple is a popular activity. Commonly, the men will take their partner to a romantic dinner, camping, or arrange a trip together.

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