White Day

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White Day
White Day 001.jpg
White Day cake
Observed byCountries in East and Southeast Asia
DateMarch 14
Next time14 March 2023 (2023-03-14)
Related toValentine's Day
White Day
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese白色情人節
Simplified Chinese白色情人节
Burmese name
Vietnamese name
VietnameseNgày Valentine Trắng
Korean name
Japanese name

White Day is celebrated annually on March 14, one month after Valentine's Day, when people give reciprocal gifts to those who gave them gifts received on Valentine's Day. It began in Japan in 1978; since then, its observance has spread to several other Asian nations.


Though Valentine's Day was first attempted to be celebrated in Japan in 1936, it did not begin to be popularly celebrated until the 1970s, giving the day a different observation than in the West.[1] It was primarily an opportunity for girls to show that they like a boy.[1] In 1977, a Fukuoka-based confectionery company, Ishimuramanseido, marketed marshmallows to men on March 14, calling it Marshmallow Day (マシュマロデー, Mashumaro Dē).[2] White Day was first celebrated in 1978 in Japan.[2] It was started by the National Confectionery Industry Association as an "answer day" to Valentine's Day on the grounds that men should pay back the women who gave them chocolate and other gifts on Valentine's Day.[2]

Soon thereafter, confectionery companies began marketing white chocolate. Now, men give both white and dark chocolate, as well as other edible and non-edible gifts, such as jewelry or objects of sentimental value, or white clothing like lingerie, to women from whom they received chocolate on Valentine's Day one month earlier.[3] Flowers and other gifts are also given on this day.[4]


White Day is celebrated one month after Valentine's Day, on March 14. In countries which observe White Day, typically Valentine's Day is celebrated by women and girls presenting chocolate gifts (either store-bought or handmade), usually to the other men and boys, as an expression of love, courtesy, or social obligation.[5]

On White Day, the reverse happens: men who received a honmei-choco (本命チョコ, 'chocolate of love') or giri-choco (義理チョコ, 'courtesy chocolate')[6] on Valentine's Day are expected to return the favor by giving gifts to the women.[3] Gift exchanges happen between romantic partners, friends, and coworkers.[7] Traditionally, popular White Day gifts include food like white chocolate, marshmallows, candy, and cookies, and other "white" accessories like jewelry, bags, lotions, and lingerie.[8][9] Nowadays, gifts do not have to be white.[10]

Sometimes the term sanbai gaeshi (三倍返し, 'triple the return') is used to describe the generally recited rule for men that the return gift should be two to three times the worth of the Valentine's gift they received.[2]

In the latter half of the 2010s, sales figures indicated a decline in popularity of the observation. It was seen as a result from the reduction of sales of obligation chocolates on Valentines Day. Another reason given for the reduction of popularity is the changing gender roles within Japanese culture.[11]

International observation[edit]

Outside of Japan, the practice of giving response gifts one month after Valentines Day has spread internationally. In those cultures, White Day is for the most part observed in a similar manner. Some places where this occurs include China,[12][13] South Korea,[14][12][15] Taiwan,[14][12] and Vietnam.[12][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gordenker, Alice (March 21, 2006). "White Day". Japan Times. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d ホワイトデー [White Day] (in Japanese), Japanese Culture Iroha Dictionary
  3. ^ a b "White Day (March 14)". Cross Currents. University of Hawaii. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Horiuchi, Junko (March 11, 2020). "Florists promoting flower power as coronavirus sees celebrations canceled". Kyodo News. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  5. ^ "Valentine's Day and White Day". Nippon.com. The Nippon Communications Foundation. February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  6. ^ "Valentine's Day & White Day in Japan". Japan National Tourism Organization. Archived from the original on May 4, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  7. ^ Tatiana, Garcia (April 2016). Okamoto, Yoshiko (ed.). "A Study of Japan's Valentine's and White Day Markets" (PDF). U.S. Commercial Service. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  8. ^ "Valentine's day", Culture, Japan 101.
  9. ^ Mineta, Grace (March 10, 2016). "White Day: Affordable Ways to Return the Love | Tokyo Cheapo". Tokyo Cheapo. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "White Day in Japan, Returning Valentine's Day Favors". Japan Info. May 20, 2015.
  11. ^ Lufkin, Bryan (March 14, 2019). "White Day: Japan's reverse Valentine's Day". United Kingdom: BBC. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d Manalaysay, Bae Kirstein T. (March 14, 2019). "Valentine's Day Part II: Filipinos and White Day". Philippine Canadian Inquirer. Canada. Retrieved March 14, 2020. Nope, this is not a day solely dedicated to honor the color white or something like that, but it is directly related to Valentine’s Day, that originated in Japan and is practiced in its neighboring countries such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam.
  13. ^ "White Day Triggers Consumption Enthusiasm". china.org.cn. China Internet Information Center. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Adelstein, Jake (March 13, 2018). "How Japan Created White Day, East Asia's Alternate Valentine's Day". Forbes. United States. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Goto, Rei; Thompson, Ashley (February 13, 2020). "Valentine's Day Traditions Around the World". Voice of America. Retrieved March 14, 2020.

External links[edit]