Live Seminar

Valentine’s Special: How to ask your crush out in Japanese


Valentine’s Day Special: How to ask your crush out in Japanese

Welcome back to another “Video & Article” series, this time for our first live-stream with tutor Erika. In this article and video, Erika explains how Valentine’s Day and White Day are celebrated in Japan. And of course how to ask out your crush!

Table of Contents
[Valentine’s Day in Japan]
[How to ask your crush out in Japanese]
[Exchanging chocolates between friends?]
[White Day]


Today we will take a look at something unique to Japanese culture: Valentine’s Day and White Day. Of course everyone has heard of Valentine’s Day, and it has become almost as big a deal here in Japan as anywhere else. So, how do you spend Valentine’s Day in your countries? And how many of you know about White Day?

Japanese Valentine’s Day is celebrated completely different from the rest of the world.

[Valentine’s Day in Japan]

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a very unique style. It is the women who give gifts to men! There is a tradition of women giving chocolate to men on Valentine’s Day. There are two types of chocolates, “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate), and “Honmei-choco”.

Giri-Choco, obligation chocolate

Honmei-Choco, chocolate given to one’s boyfriend/husband or crush on Valentine’s Day in Japan

Giri-choco is meant to be for friends, colleagues, bosses, and close male friends. “Giri” means obligation hence this Giri-choco has no romance involved.

On the other hand, Honmei-choco is given to a boyfriend, lover, or husband with true love. Japanese women often prepare Honmei-choco by themselves as many of them think it is not true love if they just buy the ready-made chocolate at shops.

You will start seeing large displays of chocolate in department stores and grocery stores from mid-January to Valentine’s Day.

Days before Valentine’s Day, stores get packed with a large variety of chocolates, the cooking tools, and of course… women!

This is a conversation during this season.

For example:

Are you gonna give some chocolates to someone?

Actually, “チョコをだれかにあげる?” would be more grammatically correct, but particles are omitted frequently in spoken Japanese. The more polite way of saying this is: “チョコ(を)だれかにあげますか?”, instead of “あげる”. Then a reply to this is:

Yes, I have to give it to my boss. It’s Giri-choco, though.

And another example:

Are you gonna give a chocolate to ○○?

Of course! It’s gonna be handmade!

手作てづくり(手・・hands 作り・・making)means handmade, homemade.


[How to ask your crush out in Japanese]

If you want to confess your true feelings, Valentine’s Day is a good time! So let’s see how we should ask him or her out!

I like you! Please go out with me!

Would you like to go out with me?

These are the most simple and straightforward sentences! “付き合う” (つきあう) is a verb and means “go out with~, dating”. It means “I think I like you so will you be my girlfriend/ boyfriend?”
Or if you are too shy, you can give chocolate with a love letter (or via social media) and in that letter you can tell your real feelings.

[Exchanging chocolates between friends?]

And also these days, we have another type of chocolate. It’s called “友チョコ” (ともちょこ)! “友” means friends in Japanese, so “Tomo-choco” means that you give chocolate to your friends. This is especially popular among girls.


Nowadays a lot of girls exchange chocolates with their friends.

[White Day]

Lastly, let’s talk about white day, a custom originating and mostly unique to Japan. White Day is a day that is marked in Japan and some other Asian countries on March 14, one month after Valentine’s Day.

On White Day, everyone has to go and kiss a white person. They must give someone white many presents and money and… no, just kidding.

On White Day the reverse happens: men who received any kind of chocolate (a “義理ぎりチョコ”, or a “本命ほんめいチョコ”) on Valentine’s Day should return a gift. White chocolate, cookies, jewelry or even marshmallows seem to be popular among return gifts.

There is a term in Japanese called “三倍返し” (さんばいがえし), which means “triple the return”. “三倍” is “triple”, and “返し” comes from the verb “返す” which means to “return something”, e.g. a favor. This means the return gift should roughly have three times the monetary value of the gift originally received…!

That’s it for today. If you have any questions, you can always clear them up by booking a lesson with one of our native Japanese tutors. See you next time!

単語たんごリスト(Vocabulary list)
かんする To concern, to relate to
おこな To carry out, to conduct
義理ぎりチョコ Giri-choco, chocolate given out Valentine’s Day out of obligation
本命ほんめいチョコ Honmei-choco, chocolate given on Valentine’s Day out of love, to a boyfriend, husband, or crush
ともチョコ Tomo-choco, chocolate exchanged between friends on Valentine’s Day
上司じょうし Boss
手作てづく Hand-made
To go out, to date
同士どうし Among, between, fellow, mutual
友達同士ともだちどうし Among friends, mutual friends
おく To send (a gift), to gift someone something
おく To exchange gifts
える To increase
えてくる To gradually increase
三倍返さんばいがえ Triple return (referring to the value of White Day gifts)

Recommended Links

Would You Like to Have a Native Tutor Guide You?

Since we are providing online lessons, you can learn Japanese with native speakers and our well-designed curriculum from anywhere in the world. Our lessons are;

  • -One on one lessons for 50 minutes once a week

  • -JPY7,560 (About USD 66 or EUR 63 -22th Nov 2016) per month

  • -Continuous support from the same tutor

  • -Regular lesson time selected by users

We can be sure that your Japanese will enhance further. Please join in Wasabi today via the following.

How to Enroll