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Valentine’s Day

Ewa Nowogorski

Japan always manages to take holidays and celebrations that seemingly don’t belong in its culture and transform them into something highly marketable and profitable. Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays.

Whereas in a place like America people give chocolates and roses to the one special person that they really love, in Japan you are socially required to give chocolates to every male person you know. If you are a female.

Yes, in Japan, it is the women who are on the giving end, with men on the receiving end. Just before and after World War II, sugar, cacao, and confectionery all started to become popular and more affordable for the masses. A few department stores launched campaigns to try and sell their sweets, and were extremely successful. Other stores followed this idea, and before long Valentine’s day exploded in Japan.

This holiday was at first popular amongst working adults, but soon became popular with high school students in the 1970s.

It was finally in the 1980s that the idea of using chocolate to express gratitude was introduced, and as we can see from the present day situation, that idea was                           The company Morozoff’s first advertisement for selling chocolate in Japan, 1932

massively successful. Now chocolate is more so used as a means of showing appreciation for others than it is to show your love for someone. Women have the obligation to give chocolate to all the men in their lives, which can be a costly thing. They have to give chocolate to not only their family but also their coworkers and bosses. Store-bought chocolate is used for this purpose, and home-made chocolate is usually reserved for the more Romantically important men in their lives.

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