This Day in Anime: White Day

White Day - Ore Monogatari 02We all know about Valentine’s Day, that special time of year when girls and women in Japan give chocolate to the boys and men in their lives… but what about its counterpart, White day?

White Day occurs one month after Valentine’s Day on March 14. Where Valentine’s Day is all about girls giving chocolates to guys as an expression of love, courtesy or obligation, White Day is where the reverse happens, and those who received Valentine’s Day chocolates return the favor.

In anime, White Day is not seen as frequently as Valentine’s Day, which I think is a real shame… A little reciprocation is always nice, and I’d love to see more anime show men agonize over and express their love for the people they care for in their lives!

I can think of two anime where this day features prominently: Ore Monogatari, episode 21, where Takeo bakes cookies for Yamato in return for her chocolate gift on Valentine’s Day, and Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji (Wolf Girl and Black Prince), episode 7, where Erika is asked out on a date…

In both these episodes, the guys are more assertive in showing their feelings for the girls they love, which I appreciate a lot, especially since I often feel like the burden of confession is held most often by the females of anime. I’d love to see more White Day anime episodes in the future!

History

Cookies White Day - Ore Monogatari 21While Valentine’s Day has a long history stemming from a martyred Christian saint, White Day is a fairly new event that was created in the late 20th Century. In 1977, a confectionary company, Ishimura Manseido, began marketing March 14 as Marshmallow Day, targeting men for the purchase of marshmallows.

Though the day never really took off, the National Confectionery Industry Association later established White Day. First officially celebrated in 1978 in Japan, it was designed as an “answer day” to Valentine’s Day. Because Valentine’s Day is a popular day for girls and women to confess their love through the pretense of giving chocolate, White Day was created with the idea that men have their own specific day to return the favor for any chocolates previously received.

And, why the color white to represent this day? Some sources say it’s because sugar, the main ingredient of so many of the marketed sweets, is white. Others say it’s because the color white conjures up images of purity and sweet, pure, teenage love…

Though White Day isn’t celebrated in the Americas or Europe, the traditions of White Day have since spread to other Asian countries, such as Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, and China.

Traditions

White Day - Ore Monogatari 01If Valentine’s Day is all about the boys, White Day is all about the girls… On this day, men who received honmei-choko (chocolate for loved ones) or giri-choko (obligation chocolate) will return the favor by giving gifts.

Gifts are traditionally white in color (hence the name, White Day), and can include anything from cookies, marshmallows, and white chocolate, to white lingerie and jewelry.

 

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