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  • 執筆者の写真April Dykes

White Day In Japan

If you read our last article about Valentine’s Day, women are the only ones who exchange gifts on that day.  It was a shock if you’re like me and you’re from a country where Valentine’s Day is a day of mutual exchange.  Why were women the only ones giving chocolates?  I wasn’t the only one that had those thoughts.  This is where White Day comes in.  Japan has a return-gifting culture known as okaeshi.  White Day makes it fair for both men and women since men are responsible for giving a gift to everyone who gave them a gift.  However, before it was known as ‘White Day,’ it was called ‘Marshmallow Day”.  What a strange name, right?  Let’s dive into the history.

According to Japan Wonder Travel Blog, a small sweets shop in Fukuoka got the ball rolling on the gift exchange.  Valentine’s Day was introduced to Japan in the 1930s, but it took nearly forty years for White Day to come about.  While many people thought it wasn’t fair that only women were expected to give chocolates, the Fukuoka sweets shop was the first to ‘cash in’ on the idea.  The owner of the shop saw a letter in a women’s magazine.  “...a reader lamented the fact that ladies don’t get anything in return for Valentine’s chocolate gifts they give...She said she’d even be happy with getting a marshmallow” (Japan Wonder Travel Blog).  

After talking with his employees and realizing that many women felt this way, the owner decided that on March 14th, men would give gifts in return.  In addition to the traditional chocolates sold on Valentine’s Day, the shop owner created special marshmallow treats, which is where ‘Marshmallow Day’ came from. 

Three gifts are typically given on White Day: marshmallows, cookies, and candy. 

Marshmallows were originally the most popular gift, but its meaning has changed.  Present day if you receive a marshmallow, it is seen as a sign of dislike due to the fact that it melts.  Cookies are a sign of friendship.  Candy signifies that the guy likes you.  






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