Valentine’s day and White day in Anime!

Though most people in the Western World are familiar with Valentine’s Day, the Japanese celebration of White Day might not be as well known. As you might have already seen in many anime, in Japan it’s usually a girl that gives chocolates to the one she is smitten on for Valentine’s Day. In Western countries it’s usually a gent that is gifting his crush with chocolate for Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t really find a reason why the genders got swapped in Japan (if you happen to be a Japanese Valentine’s Day expert, please leave a comment below because I would love to know how this gender bender happened!). Another difference in Japan is that on the following White Day the gift receiver is supposed to give a thank you gift to the chocolate giver from Valentine’s Day. For example, in the anime Fruits Basket, Toru gives Yuki chocolate for Valentine’s Day and on the following White Day Yuki gave Toru a ribbon as a thank you gift. In Japan, the two holidays go hand in hand!

Valentine’s Day and White Day go hand in hand!

But what exactly is White Day, and has it always been connected to Valentine’s Day in Japan? White Day is celebrated on March 14th to mirror Valentine’s Day on February 14th. Weirdly enough, the Japanese holiday of White Day was actually invented by confectionery companies in the 1970’s as a reply to the growing popularity of Valentine’s Day in Japan! In the early years of White Day, Japanese gentlemen were encouraged to give marshmallows or white chocolate as a thank you gift to the ladies that gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day, but in more recent years just about anything white, like ribbons or handkerchiefs, is an acceptable thank you gift. In the Japanese culture, the color white is significant because it represents purity or a pure love. As the popularity of Valentine’s Day grows outside of Japan in many Asian countries, the celebration of White Day has also grown.

Don’t forget the thank you gifts for all the treats you received!

So after you celebrate Valentine’s Day this February 14th, whether you’re spending time with your special someone, furry friends, or family, don’t forget to give a little thank you gift on March 14 for all the fun you had! And what better way to say thank you than to watch anime together! Here are some series that are as sweet as chocolate and just right for Valentine’s Day or White Day.

Fruits Basket

toru hugging kanna
Toru loves everyone!

Toru giving chocolate for Valentine’s Day made quite an endearing episode. This mini story arc was adorable, not just because of the cute scene where she bestowed Yuki some sweet treats, but because Toru is such a giving person, she gifted chocolate to nearly everyone she knew. No one was left out! Which is a reoccurring theme in the series. And for her generosity, Toru not only gets a White Day thank you gift of a ribbon from Yuki, but also a whole vacation trip to a hot springs resort from Momiji, and a maid costume from Shigure.

My Love Story

rinko and takeo eating cookies

In the anime My Love Story, the adorable main couple Takeo and Rinko exchange baked treats for Valentine’s Day and White Day. Though Rinko is a pretty good baker and uses all of her skills to make something special for her big lovable gorilla, when it was Takeo’s turn to make a thank you gift, his baking attempt was . . . Hmm, not so good. But he put his heart into his baking for his special girl, and that’s what really matters!

Tanaka kun is Always Listless

tanaka kun sleeping at his desk

Just like Valentine’s Day and White Day go hand in hand, in the anime Tanaka kun is always listless, Tanaka tries to avoid both Valentine’s Day and White Day. Tanaka’s ever energy efficient reasoning for not liking Valentine’s Day is not because he dislikes chocolate, or he has anything against love, it’s that if he ever got chocolate for Valentine’s Day, then he would be obligated to buy someone a White Day present in return and that would be too much work.