Matsuyukiso in Japanese and Galanthus in English (common name: Snowdrops).
Here’s more from Linda Inoki’s article in Japan Times:
One month is past, another is begun, Since merry bells rang out the dying year, And buds of rarest green began to peer, As if impatient for a warmer sun; And though the distant hills are bleak and dun, The virgin snowdrop, like a lambent fire, Pierces the cold earth with its green-streaked spire. – By Hartley Coleridge (son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge), written on Feb. 1, 1842.
Here is a delightful little flower that marks the transition from winter to spring. Snowdrops (Galanthus) originally came from the chilly hills of central Europe, Turkey and Iran. In ancient times these pure white flowers were linked to the pagan festival of light, which the early Christian church adopted as the ceremony of Candlemas, held on Feb. 2. Two other old English names for these flowers are Candlemas Bells or Fair Maids of February. In Japanese, matsuyuki-so means “snow-awaiting flower.” When the sleeping bulbs sense a warmer temperature in the air, they begin to stir. The green shoots have reinforced tips that help them pierce through snow. Snowdrops have three larger outer petals and three inner petals characteristically marked with green. This inner ring provides a drop of nectar for early flying bees. There are about 20 wild species of snowdrops and, as you might guess from their glistening petals, they belong to the shining Amaryllidaceae, or narcissus, family of plants.
By LINDA INOKI http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fe20060201li.html