Valentine's Day (February 14) in Japan is slightly different from its counterpart in the United States and Europe. In Japan, the day is reserved for girls to give chocolate to boys that they like. This tradition began in 1958, when a Japanese chocolate company proclaimed Valentine's Day "a day for girls to give guys chocolate and tell them that they love them." Today, women often give chocolate not only to the object of their affection, but also to their boss and colleagues at work. Young girls, meanwhile, give them to their school friends. Chocolate that women give to men at their workplace, or that girls give to boys in their class, is known as "obligation chocolate," because these gifts don't have any romantic meaning. Recently, "friends' chocolate" (chocolate exchanged between female friends, particularly high school students) and "reward chocolate" (high-quality chocolate bought as a gift to oneself) have also appeared.
White Day (March 14) is an original Japanese invention. This day was established in 1980 by Japan's candy industry as a day for guys to give chocolate, cookies, and other sweets to girls from whom they received chocolate on Valentine's Day. This day is not as well-established as Valentine's Day, but many guys can be seen out shopping for sweets around this time.