Lasting from 1989 to 2019, Japan’s Heisei era isn’t a particularly lengthy part of the country’s centuries-long history. It’s hard to overstate how formative the Heisei years were for modern Japanese society, though. The people growing up in the period were arguably Japan’s first generation ever to enjoy prevailing peace and prosperity, sparking an exuberantly expressive youth culture that drove changes in fashion and music.
Now that we’re four years into the current Reiwa era, there’s a growing sense of Heisei nostalgia, especially the buzzy energy of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. So to feed those nostalgia cravings, McDonald’s Japan is bringing back three of its hit menu items from the Heisei era, plus one of its biggest dance-pop smash hits, “Boys and Girls,” by legendary J-pop songstress Ayumi Hamasaki.
Originally released in the summer of 1999, “Boys and Girls” was Hamasaki’s first million-selling single. For a second, you might think that’s Ayu (as she’s known to fans) herself in the above video asserting “Even if the era changes, there’s a deliciousness that remains,” but it’s actually actress/model Elaiza Ikeda, who was just 3 years old when “Boys and Girls” came out.
Hamasaki isn’t the only '90s music/fashion icon Ikeda is paying homage to, either. The long, super-straight, chapatsu brown-dyed hair she sports in another video for McDonald’s Heisei revival menu, plus the sleeveless turtleneck and plaid miniskirt, are clear cues from Namie Amuro, who was so influential that an entire Japanese slang word, “Amura,” was created for those who adopted their look for themselves.
▼ Speaking of Japanese slang, Ikeda tells the guys in this video that the burger is “Choberigu,” which is how Heisei’s cool kids said something was “super very good.”
And in her third outfit/hairstyle, Ikeda appears to be channeling the auras of Heisei’s sporty, girl-next-door idols, such as Ami Suzuki or Ryoko Hirosue.
Oh, right, the sandwiches. Since Japanese fast food chains getting really crazy with their offerings is more of a recent development, there’s nothing too crazy in the McDonald’s Heisei Burger Big Comeback menu, as the lineup is officially known. The three returning items are the Juicy Chicken Black Pepper (450 yen) chicken cutlet burger, Tamago Double (460 yen), a two-patty burger with egg and bacon, and the Roasted Sesame Filet o’ Shrimp (450 yen), all of which debuted in the Heisei era but were later cycled off of McDonald’s Japan’s constantly rotating menu.
The lineup goes on sale May 31 at McDonald’s across Japan, with the exception of branches in Hiroshima Prefecture and the city of Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Insert images: McDonald’s Japan, YouTube/マクドナルド公式（McDonald’s）
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