Take & Give?! Japanese Gift Culture ホワイト・デー

Mar 13, 2022


March 14th is White Day in Japan. It’s just one month after St Valentine’s Day. People who received chocolate return (=‘okaeshi’) something on the day. ‘Okaeshi’ is very important in the society. I would like to share some examples of ‘okaeshi’ and its effective way!


For example, when you receive a souvenir from your colleague/friend, you will return a souvenir when you have a chance. And this person will give you another souvenir as the ‘okaeshi’ and you will again return something. You often continue ‘okaeshi’ like this.


Also it is important to remember what someone did to you in the past. You say ‘Thank you’ when someone gives a present or treat you dinner. And it is natural to say ‘Thank you’ again when you meet the person next time.


By the way, how would you express your huge appreciation when you return for ‘giri’ choco from St Valentine’s Day? ‘Bai-gaeshi (double return)’ is effective. For example, you can double the price or amount of the ‘giri’ choco that you received as your ‘okaeshi’.


On the other hand, what would happen if you do not ‘okaeshi’ on White Day? Obviously, it is considered as impolite and no appreciation. So, it’s better to keep it in your mind. 


The popular ‘okaeshi’ for White Day are not only chocolate but also cookies and marshmallows. I’ve heard the name ‘White’ Day comes from the light colour of cookies and marshmallows.


Some people think ‘okaeshi’ is nice but some find it a little bit uncomfortable. Are you going to do something on White Day? Thank you for taking time to read my article. I hope it was useful for you.

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