February is the month of love, and one of the most beautiful and heart-warming holidays of the year many certainly look forward to is Valentine’s day. It’s a day when time seems to pass slower, and the air seems to smell a little sweeter than usual.

If you ever had the chance to be in Japan on Valentine’s day, you’ve probably noticed how different and special it is for them. Aside from Valentine’s, they also have “White Day,” which is very much related to Valentine’s and is celebrated exactly a month after. 

Japan’s Valentine’s & White Day

The 14th of February is recognized as a significant cultural and religious celebration of love and romance honoring Saint Valentine. On this day in many countries worldwide, people give heart-shaped boxes of chocolates to each other as a sign of appreciation and especially love.

In the land of the rising sun, the holiday is a chance for young girls and adults to gift the men in their lives “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate) or “Honmei-choco” (sweet love) to show their affection. Of course, this can apply to either familial, romantic, or platonic relationships, or the lack thereof.

To impress and win the man’s heart, the lady needs to hit the kitchen and make the chocolate by herself. The amusing part is that exactly one month later, on the 14th of March on “White day,” if the guy feels the same for the girl, he is supposed to hand her white chocolates in response.

The White day tradition has also proliferated to other East Asian countries; in fact in Korea, a Black Day is observed exactly 31 days after White Day by people who were unsuccessful in finding a partner.

Lost in translation: A faux pas that led to a sweet tradition

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Japan could’ve had a typical kind of Valentine’s if not for a translation faux pas. When the holiday was first introduced in Japan in 1936, an executive member of a chocolate company Morozoff reportedly misunderstood and mistranslated the gift-giving tradition to be done primarily by women.

The translation failure, fortunately, turned out to be something good for business; the idea spread to the public, and soon enough other chocolate makers followed suit.

This was a lucky mistake, however. Almost always, translation misses can be a little messy and costly for companies. Read more about famous brands’ unfortunate mishaps here.

Romantic manga that make great Valentine’s presents

Flowers and chocolates are still the staple gifts during Valentine’s in Japan and in most parts of the world. In recent years, nonetheless, people have started to give well-thought-out and more creative gifts, be it matching clothes, books, handmade jewelry, and yes, in extreme cases, a bouquet of bacon.

becon roses for Valentine in Japan

To help make this special day of the year more unforgettable for you, our team at CCCI has listed the best romantic manga to either give as a gift to your beloved ones or simply for your cozy reading. ❤️

1. Fruits Basket

Among fans’ most recommended romance manga list, you’ll most certainly find “Fruits Basket.” The manga holds an intricate story that perfectly fleshes out every character.

A compassionate girl Tohru Honda, after a family tragedy, has been forced to camp out in the forest. Under some circumstances, her school friend Yuki Sohma invites her to stay in his place. Due to a family curse, a strange thing happens if someone from the opposite gender hugs him; he turns into the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The girl’s kind and strong heart may just help Yuki in his struggles.

The mysterious episodes and twists in the characters’ relationships make the “Fruits Basket” one of the romance bestsellers of all time.

fruits basket-romantic manga-ccci

2. High School Debut

The beautiful full-color illustrations of “High School Debut” tell the story of an athletic girl Haruna. The heroine of the romantic manga has devoted herself to baseball in middle school. This hardworking and not-so-feminine girl attempts to be viewed as attractive for boys but unfortunately can’t. In pursuit of an ideal boyfriend, she encounters Yoh Komiyama, one of the high school’s most popular upperclassmen. Finally, he agrees to be with her, only on the condition that Haruna won’t fall in love with him under any circumstances․

high school debut- romantic manga-ccci

3. Love Me, Love Me Not

Funny, cute, and with fascinating art along with a heart-touching romantic manga tale, “Love Me, Love Me Not” makes it to our top 5 list.

Childhood friends Yuna and Akari are two high school girls with opposite views on life and love. Yuna is a dreamy girl, while Akari has a rather pragmatic perspective. Meanwhile, two boys with also very different