Valentine’s Day is a huge event in Japan especially for those in school. But..it is quite different from other countries (at least very different from what I was accustomed to in the US).
Valentine’s Day in Japan typically is the day that girls/women give chocolate to boys/men. So why do all the female people have to take the burden you say? Well, there is a “White Day” in Japan which is March 14th, and is the day that works the other way around, and boys/men give chocolates this time.
There are multiple theories on how this White Day came about, but in the late 1970s, confectionary companies thought that if they could create another day for sending confectionaries, it could boost their sales. Clever.
Interestingly, White Day isn’t just about sending confectionaries nowadays, but also a day where males send gifts such as accessories as well.
In the context of anime, these are large “events” within the school year, as the shy ones who can’t express their feelings of love, use this day as a means to subtly express their affection.
Typical situations include, but are not limited to-
– Bad cook (heroine) giving hand made chocolate pretending that it’s not a big deal, and the main character notices all the cuts and bandages on her fingers
– I’m so happy I got a chocolate from the class idol! followed by “…hey, can you give this to your best friend for me…”
– Searching your desk for a textbook, and your fingers touch an unfamiliar item which turns out being a chocolate from a secret admirer
Interesting aspect of Valentine’s as can be seen from the examples above is “how” the characters give/receive chocolate. They can be straightforward I love you’s to hiding it in the target’s desk or shoe-box, and the ever-so-popular “can you come behind the gym after-school?”.
If you are watching a series based with a school-life plot, make sure to watch out for the Valentine’s Day episodes and enjoy scenario the writers have selected!
*Please note that this article is intended to describe the cultural aspect of how Valentine’s Day and White Day are portrayed in anime, and not to cause discussion on sexism, or any stereotypical views