Valentine’s Day in Japan sees women giving 3 different types of chocolate to friends, family, coworkers, and lovers as presents. There is giri choco or obligation chocolate, tomo choco or friendship chocolate, and honmei choco or love chocolate given out depending on the familiarity with the receiver and the giver’s true intentions.
Female friends might give tomo choco to each other while saving their honmei choco for someone they wish to date in the future. Giri choco may also be given to male classmates or coworkers as a custom or nice gesture.
This may seem unequal, but fret not. Just a month later on March 14th, or White Day in Japan, is when it is customary for men to return the favor and give gifts to everyone they received something from on Valentine’s Day. Check here for more information about Japanese Valentine’s Day chocolate and the traditions around them.
With Valentine’s Day being marketed mainly to women, the chocolate and candies found on department store shelves throughout the season tend to be extremely cute and visually stunning. After all, Japanese sweets themselves are almost always as aesthetically pleasing as they are tasty.
Here is a list of kawaii treats and popular collabs happening for Valentine’s Day 2022 in Japan.
Sanrio is a company built around the idea of giving small gifts, as you can see from their tagline, “Small Gift. Big Smile.” So it comes as no surprise that they would partner with chocolate companies for a holiday also based around the idea of gifting. This year, Sanrio has continued 2 popular Valentine’s Day collaborations.
Two of the most popular characters from Sanrio partner up with world famous Belgian chocolatier Godiva for kawaii merchandise and sweets. Hello Kitty dons a super cute pink beret, bow, and ribbon with Godiva’s golden logo. Special packaging will also find her with a G Cubes box, which for her is Godiva’s milk chocolate with salted caramel ganache.
For My Melody’s collaboration with Godiva, she comes with a pink lace headdress, bow, and ribbon with the Godiva logo. Included with this set is a G Cubes box of traditional milk chocolate candies.
My Melody shows up twice on this list. Partnered with her friend and sometimes rival Kuromi, the two collaborate with famous Bourbon brand chocolate Goncharoff for a box of Valentine’s Day sweets. The theme of this collaboration is “Tea Party in the Rose Garden,” where different chocolates and candies are set in a limited-edition tin case.
Aside from chocolates, Sanrio has also announced a special Valentine’s treat for fans of the popular Sanrio amusement park, Sanrio Puroland. Located in Tama City in Tokyo, Sanrio Puroland hosts different types of live stage performances all around the park, but usually you need to buy a ticket to experience any of them.
However, Sanrio has announced that this year they would livestream their original drama VIVA LA Valentine online and hold a live performance at Sanrio Puroland. The show stars many Sanrio favorites like Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel, My Melody and more for a production about love, friendship, and Valentine’s Day.
Another popular franchise in Japan to look out for this Valentine’s Day is Pokemon. Pokemon Centers around Japan are offering different Valentine’s Day items from pre-wrapped chocolate and treats to silicone chocolate molds for anyone brave enough to try making their own sweets for the day of love.
Non-edible gifts include a plush Eevee and Pikachu squishing their cheeks together while holding a heart, sitting in a fuzzy heart shaped box surrounded by other plush cookies in the shape of each character. A dream Valentine’s Day present for any Pokemon fan. Many cookie and candy sets come in reusable tins, so not only are they super cute, but there is a lot of versatility after the treats are gone!
For a more classic design, Pokemon has partnered with Mary’s Chocolate, a Tokyo-based chocolate company. Face the age-old question of which starter to choose from with sets of beautifully designed pixel art chocolates and tins. Although not an official starter, Pikachu is included in the set with Bulbasaur (Fushigidane in Japanese), Charmander (Hitokage in Japanese), and Squirtle (Zenigame in Japanese). Who will you pick?
For more on other popular chocolate brands in Japan, check out this article about the seasonal delight of Melty Kiss.
Starbucks Japan announced a line of multiple Valentine’s Day chocolate drinks Valentine’s-inspired products for 2022. On the menu for Valentine’s Day is the Triple Pavé Chocolate Frappuccino and the Double Nama Chocolate Mocha. These drinks can be customized by adding a nama (ganache) chocolate whipped cream, extra chocolate chips, and chocolate sauce. I guess you can never have too much chocolate in Starbucks’ eyes.
Classic Starbucks tumblers are also decorated in the Valentine’s spirit, with plenty of pink and hearts for this year’s release. The mugs have heart shaped handles and phrases like, “You are the sweetest.” With these cups you can start the day with a warm drink and some positive affirmations to boost your mood.
It is a popular belief that hand made chocolates are more meaningful than store bought chocolates. But even if they’re not made by hand, that doesn’t make these cute character candies any less meaningful! Whether you go for handmade or store bought on February 14th, make sure you have fun and eat something yummy!
Which collab are you most excited to see (or eat)? Let us know in the comments below!
Kawaii culture lover since birth, I am beyond excited to share my passion for cute with the world!
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