In the US, Valentine's Day celebrations are generally geared towards couples, with a slight bias towards women when it comes to the marketing of chocolates, flowers and other gifts - a bias that is meant to have women encourage men to buy gifts for them. In Japan, things are a little different. The chocolates and other Valentine's Day items are marketed towards women, but they're marketed for them to buy and give to men, rather than the other way around. Barentain Dei
calls for gifts to be given to boyfriends and husbands, as well as for giri-choco
, or obligation chocolates
, to be given to male bosses, coworkers, classmates and friends. About 80% of Japanese women participate in the tradition, spending an average of $20 on their most chocolate important purchase and $6 on each of their other chocolate gifts, averaging $56 per woman for a total of over $400 million countrywide on the holiday. This doesn't include additional gifts or fancy dinners.
If this all seems a bit unfair, as it is more one-sided than the US version of Valentine's, not to worry. On March 14th, the Japanese celebrate "White Day" as in reciprocation for Valentine's Day, where men buy gifts, from chocolates to expensive jewelry, as a sign of affection