What (Japanese) Women Don’t Want.

Heart-shaped Ema (prayer/wish plaques) at Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Nara, 2008. A favorite Shinto Shrine for lovers and the love-lorn.

Happy White Day:  ハピーホワイトデ

Most Westerners don’t know and don’t really “get” that Japan has two Valentine’s Days.  There’s the traditional Valentine’s Day, imported from the U.S. decades ago, on February 14.  Thing is, in Japan women give gifts to the men in their lives.  I kid you not.  But hold on — there’s a follow-up:  on March 14 there’s “White Day,” where the giving is reversed and men give gifts to their girlfriends.  The consensus is that this was merely an ingenious marketing ploy by Japan’s retailers.

A recent survey in Japan (Japan’s very big on surveys) found what women didn’t want, what they didn’t like receiving, on White Day.  The Top 5 out of 20 listed disliked-to-not-so-disliked gifts were:

     1.  A gift obviously cheaper than the one given to the guy back on Valentine’s Day.

     2.  A towel, handkerchief I don’t like.

     3.  An accessory I don’t like.

     4.  Undies.

     5.  A small item with a character design I don’t really know.

Here’s the whole survey.  A word to the wise:  study it, men.


  1. Very interesting, particularly the position of expensive chocolates and flowers near the bottom of the full list. Cultural difference there, for sure.

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