Love is just love. It can never be explained.
Ai wa tada tan ni ai de aru. Setsumei nante dekinai.
Ah, love is in the air as it edges ever so much closer to Valentine’s Day! This is a time in which many of us spend with our partners or brood over our single status. Partners will take their significant others out on extravagant dates, dinners, or just use the time to spend with their partners. Gifts are usually exchanged as well. In most cases, women are spoiled by their partners on this day. However, like other holidays in anime, Japan celebrates this holiday a little differently than we do in the west.
An Anime Valentine’s Day
Yes, Japan seems to make many holidays about being in relationships like Christmas, and Valentine’s Day is no different, but the holiday isn’t celebrated the same way we would in other countries. It started back in the 1950s, when the Japanese wanted to adopt more western practices, so they decided to partake in the exchanging of chocolates that was being practiced between foreigners. The Japanese adopted the practice, but somewhere along the way, Valentine’s Day became a day about girls giving chocolates to boys.
On Valentine’s Day, girls will give out chocolates to boys that hold some significance in their lives. There are three types of chocolate: honmei (homemade), giri (obligatory), and tomo (friends). Tomo chocolates are given to girl friends, though not everyone does this. Giri chocolates are given to those you care for but not in a romantic way. Usually giri chocolates can be plain or even store bought. Many people are expected to give giri chocolates, though it’s not technically mandatory, and it’s not just limited to students, either!
Then we have honmei chocolates, the holy grail of Valentine’s chocolate! Honmei chocolates are chocolates that have the most significance since a girl has put all of her effort into making them. While honmei chocolates can be given to friends and family alike, many girls will go out of their way to make honmei chocolates for someone they like. In Himouto! Umaru-chan, Taihei teaches Ebina how to make honmei chocolate for someone she likes. (You may want to watch to see what happened…) If you want to make the honmei chocolates extra special, take note of Nakahara Sunako from Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge who actually shows you just how you can alter the taste of the chocolates to someone’s personal preference. It’s all about the effort, people!
Valentine’s chocolate isn’t limited to just candy, either. It can include other desserts like cakes, but it just has to have chocolate!
As you can see in many anime, guys want to get chocolate regardless if it’s honmei or giri chocolate. It’s really the thought that counts and a lot of guys want to be thought of during Valentine’s Day. Don’t think that only single girls are lonely for Valentine’s Day!
Speaking of lonely, Valentine’s Day is one of the days in which girls all over will take a shot and confess to someone they like. This is known as a kokuhaku, or confession. You may wonder why they confess. You’ve seen it in anime, manga, Japanese dramas, etc., but can’t couples just get together without a confession?
The answer is no. Japan has a huge confession culture. While two people may date, they aren’t an official pair without a confession. That’s why you see so many characters confessing in anime! In Bokura ga Ita, you can see that Nana and Yano are never officially together unless either of them confesses. There’s finality in a confession.
On Valentine’s Day, many girls use their Valentine’s chocolate to confess their feelings, especially by way of honmei chocolate. It’s a somewhat vague yet decisive way of conveying your feelings if you’re a little too shy to openly say anything. Chocolates may be accompanied by a love letter and given to someone or left in their shoe locker.
Valentine’s Day is a big day for confessing. It’s a day that gives a girl the opportunity to confess. Despite the fact that the day may seem a bit more commercial than necessary, it allows a girl who may not otherwise have the confidence to confess their feelings. Wow, that’s a lot of pressure on a girl! Just look at poor Sensei from Denki gai no Honya-san who can’t even take the pressure!
Well, don’t worry. Guys do have their own part in this dance. While girls may confess on Valentine’s Day, there’s a specific day for guys to reciprocate. It’s called white day!
White day got its name from the color of purity as well as the color of sugar which was what was first given on White Day. White Day falls on March 14th, exactly 1 month following Valentine’s Day. Strangely enough, guys aren’t technically expected to participate in white day, but a good amount of guys do. As you can see from Fruits Basket, chocolates are not always the gifts of choice- here Yuki gives Tohru a ribbon while Kyou reciprocates by accompanying her on an overnight trip with the rest of the family.
White Day is not just about those who received giri chocolate! On White Day, boys will answer a girl’s feelings if they are confessed to, though they can also do so a lot earlier. Sometimes boys will take girls out on dates on White Day to answer their feelings.
It’s a somewhat irritating dance, but this is the anime dance of love.
An anime Valentine’s Day may seem to be quite the tango, but it does help bring some couples closer. Do you think you could celebrate an anime Valentine’s? From confessions to dating, an anime love story is unlike anything you’ve experienced before!