Tradition dictates that women and not women give chocolate gifts on Valentine's Day but not just their partners. They must also treat all their male colleagues, friends and relatives.
Malls in Japan have hundreds of counters dedicated to chocolates where women are in search of cocoa. This year, French chocolate is the most popular. A salesperson told AFP that a box of chocolate with champagne is most popular. All of 12 pieces in the box had different flavours and were selling like hot cakes. The box is priced at $34 dollars.
Fumiko, a customer who wanted to do some budget shopping said, “To buy these kind of chocolates for all my colleagues would be too costly. We have agreed to buy cheaper chocolates for each other. The ones I just bought is for close friends only.” This commercial tradition was introduced in Japan after the war by chocolaters in search of new markets. It’s been a very successful endeavour and today it is so widespread that there are several names for Valentine’s Day chocolate depending on whom they are bought for.
Takayuki Miyai, a sales manager explaining the tradition further said, “In Japanese we call it 'giri' chocolate, which means obligation chocolates. These chocolates are given by women to their male colleagues. The February sale makes it half of the whole years worth of chocolate sale.” In a months time Japan will also celebrate white day where men who received chocolates from women are supposed to reciprocate the gesture.