One month after St. Valentine’s Day the Japanese celebrate White Day. In most of the cultures that I know of Valentine’s Day men and women exchange presents with one another, this is not the case with Japan. There the women give presents to the men in their lives, both romantic as well as none romantic such as co-workers and managers. To counter this White Day was created.

Now there were two stories that I found regarding the origin, one was from 1965 the other in the 80’s. Both involved a confectioner who saw an opportunity to sell more candy because the men were just receiving gifts. By playing off the duty of the Japanese he thought he would be able to guilt them into giving gifts to the women who give them something. This seems to have worked out well as there is a saying the roughly translates to “return thrice fold” so that the return present is three times more expensive.

I found that all the stories of the beginnings had that the first person to come up with this was a marshmallow confectioner, therefore he advocated the giving of marshmallows. Eventually this has fallen out of favor and been replaced by white chocolate as well as other candies and cookies.
There is also conflicting indications that different return presents mean different things, such as one says if the person only likes the other as a friend then you should give cookies but another said this would mean you love them. With this in mind if you are going to give White Day presents, be careful and read the links I supplied closely, you may want to even send the person a copy of the link that you used as your guide.

General links: