Experience with girichoko?
January 11, 2006 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience or knowledge of the Japanese tradition called girichoko?

It comes from the Japanese "giri" meaning duty or obligation, and "choko", a shortened from of "chokoleeto" or chocolate, and it refers to candies that women give to men who are not their spouses or significant others on Valentine's Day. I need to find out more about this tradition, though - are there any other days that women give girichoko? It seems that men do not give girichoko on White Day, just to their girlfriends, or do they and it's called something else? Is it still pretty popular or is it dying out? Any info at all would be appreciated (日本語でどうぞ)
posted by greasepig to Society & Culture (5 answers total)
Do a search inside the book of Office Ladies and Salaried Men for "white day" and you'll find more info on both white day and the valentine's day chocolates. It does say that men give white day gifts to the "office ladies" in their companies.
posted by duck at 2:39 PM on January 11, 2006

Yeah, girls give chocolate to people that they are obligated to give it to, but aren't in love with or anything. Like their boss, for example. Or anyone at the company who's been especially helpful or kind to you. The name pretty much says it all, obligation chocolate. It's pretty much only Valentine's Day as far as I know. I've always interpreted it as a way for girls to give chocolate to guys, without having to be so outright about whether you are in love with them or just want to thank them for a nice year. And it's a good cover if you are in love with someone, but you aren't supposed to show it because they are your boss or teacher or something. Guys are supposed to give something in return on White Day to everyone who gave them chocolate on Valentine's Day, but it's not such an obligation if it was only girichoco. (Note: This is all only from personal experience.)
posted by donkeymon at 2:51 PM on January 11, 2006

From what my sensei from Japanese II to IV explained to us, giri choko is given out by girls on Valentines Day. While men are supposed to return the favor on White Day, she said it wasn't as common as girls giving it out on Valentines Day. Girls typically get a bunch of giri choko, and then get one big gift for their crush. I think it's less about romanticism than it is in the US though. Hope I helped, sorry I can't add more, as I don't have personal experience in the area, just what I've been told.
posted by phr4gmonk3y at 7:04 PM on January 11, 2006

From my experience living in Japan most men who get girichoco give something back on White Day, especially if it is a working relationship. The higher the position, the better the return gift. I have seen bosses give name brand scarves to their office ladies, but most of the time it is something not so expensive. White chocolate is the quintessential White Day return gift.

There are other days where one my be obligated to give gifts to a superior (like New Years), but Valentines day is the one day to get/give chocolate and is generally only observed by younger women.

Also, girichoco will never be homemade. If you get something like that then you will have a different problem.
posted by Alison at 7:05 PM on January 11, 2006

Others have already covered this, but I'll corroborate it. Giri-choko is strictly F>M, on Valentine's day, between co-workers. And while giri-choko is obviously a sort of pop-cultural term, it has even mutated to "gimu-choko" (compulsory chocolate), so entrenched has the tradition become.

The gifts that men give to women on White Day are not (AFAIK) referred to as giri-anything, and occasionally have been an opportunity for a clueless boss to give hilariously inappropriate gifts to his subordinates (especially panties).
posted by adamrice at 7:04 AM on January 12, 2006

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