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Chocolates and Valentine's Day in Japan

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On Valentine's Day, it's common for Japanese women to give chocolates to men. Women are encouraged to express love to men by giving chocolates and other gifts. Chocolates are often given to male co-workers, bosses, friends, family members, and so on. Men give various gifts to women on March 14 called White Day. It's said that this tradition started as a marketing tool for chocolate companies in Japan.

Chocolates given to men whom women don't feel special love are called "giri (obligation)-choco (chocolate)" in Japan. Chocolate given to co-workers and bosses are usually considered giri-choco. Women tend to give special gifts with chocolates to those men whom they love. Chocolates given to a special man from a woman is called "honmei (prospective winner)-choco." In recent years, many Japanese young women exchange chocolate gifts with their female friends. These chocolates are called "tomo (friend) choco."

Grocery stores, department stores, and convenience stores around the country sell many different kinds of domestic and imported chocolates. It's said that more than half of the chocolates sold in a year is sold around Valentine's Day in Japan.

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