lifestyle

Makers of frozen snack apologize for Y10 price increase

15 Comments
By RocketNews24

The maker’s of Japan’s famous ice candy Garigari-kun have released an ad apologizing for a 10 yen price increase.

The new commercial, titled "Garigari-kun Neage" (Garigari-kun Price Increase), features Akaginyugyo President and CEO Hideki Inoue along with the company’s executive brass and the staff of the Fukaya City factory headquarters.

As the one-take segment nears the end, some titles appear on the screen. The text reads “We’ve worked hard for 25 years but,” followed by a discreet “60→70,” in reference to the price of a single soda flavored Garigari-kun bar going from 60 yen to 70 yen.

Now, you might be thinking this is a kind of tongue-in-cheek joke, but rest assured that it is not.

There’s no way the company’s president would put himself out on the line like that for what would be a lukewarm gag at best. The cute music you can hear was likely added because without it the tone of the commercial would have been much darker than a 10-yen more expensive candy would have warranted.

The response to the advertisement was mixed; some expressed support and others mild confusion as to why Akaginyugyu felt the need to apologize at all.

“Don’t worry, I’d still buy them even if the price were 100 yen.” “I never bought them before, but I might try this summer.” “I forgot those things were so cheap.” “Is this because they lost so much from the Napolitan?” “For a moment I thought they were apologizing for the Napolitan.” “It maybe just a promotion, but I see respect to customers, and also transparency. Thumbs up for this Japanese company.”

The Napolitan (spaghetti & ketchup) comments were in reference to the ill-fated Garigari-kun Napolitan bars which were a part of their 2012-2014 line of savory ice candies. While Corn Soup was a hit and Potato Stew had mixed reviews, the Napolitan – which tasted like frozen hot dogs, ketchup, and milk blended together – was unanimously despised.

On a side note: The same team responsible for the Napolitan disaster reunited this year to create the Garigari-kun Sakura Mochi flavor. We’re pleased to announce that they have successfully reclaimed their honor with this excellent ice candy featuring "anko" (sweet bean paste), mochi sauce, and sakura flavored crushed ice.

As for the apology, this type of behavior might seem unusual from other more litigious countries where a wholehearted apology is sometimes an admission of guilt, but in Japan, public apologies are both expected and scrutinized.

One might look to the recent woes of McDonald’s Japan as an example. Since the restaurant chain was implicated in a tainted Chinese chicken scandal in 2014, sales have been steadily on the decline. However, while other major fast food restaurants and convenience stores in Japan had also received chicken from the same supplier, only McDonald’s seems to have been hit hard by the scandal.

Some suggest that the ill will stems from the company’s official reaction to it — President Sarah Casanova condemned the chicken producer and issued a strong promise to take the appropriate steps to ensure such a health problem doesn’t happen again. In the West, her statements were par for the course and probably would have been enough to make people not care and go back to life as usual.

However, her firm eye contact as she apologized, despite being a sign of sincerity in the west, had the opposite effect on some Japanese people giving them little sense of remorse or humility. Compare that to this press conference held by the Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who’s no stranger to apologies, after one of his executives was arrested on drug charges.

Notice how the room becomes a veritable nightclub of camera flashes once Toyoda makes his bows as that is what everyone came out to see. Granted, sincere bowing is hardly a panacea for corporate wrongdoing and even if had Casanova done the same, McDonald’s Japan may still very well be in the same predicament as it is now.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that a proper apology has potent power here in Japan, for better or for worse. So when in doubt, you better get bent.

Source: YouTube/Akaginyugyo

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- We drink Japan’s spaghetti popsicle (seriously) -- Convenience stores still trying to recover from frozen snack brand’s flavors of horror -- “Sudden desire to eat ice cream may indicate cancer” – Author of book on the disease

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15 Comments
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When I first arrived in Japan it was during the blazing hot summer months. Garigari-kun was sort of my first Japanese friend. Definitely worth 70 yen.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It looks totally disingenuous, having the flavour of, "Let's turn our apology into an advertisement. The publicity and sympathy for our grim faces may even turn into sales."

“I never bought them before, but I might try this summer.”

7 ( +8 / -1 )

As for the apology, this type of behavior might seem unusual from other more litigious countries where a wholehearted apology is sometimes an admission of guilt, but in Japan, public apologies are both expected and scrutinized.

I would say that also in Japan apologies are equally seen as "an admission of guilt" or feeling sorry for one's acts or behavior. No difference there. But it is true, in Japan lots of focus is given to the contrite bow, the lower the better with hands and head on the floor 'dogeza' groveling the best, played endless loop on the evening news.

It is also a big thing here to force an apology through harsh bullying and intimidation even for fairly minor or even non-existing transgressions by the person who has taken offense. The apology mindset here is rife with power-trip politics and petty tyranny.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

You know it's amazing. I've been in Japan a long time, and have never seen the food price situation quite this bad. Some of my favourite snacks have not only increased in price, but also downsized somewhat. Chocolate bars are the worst offenders here.

My local supermarket has aisle upon aisle of savoury & sweet snacks, yet very little leave the shelves these days. The consumption tax increase has really hit families hard, and it's very clear to me that the first thing they're cutting back on is 'luxuries' such as these.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

There's no need to apologize for reacting to inflationary pressures. The question is whether the wages of the employees who work at these companies are rising too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that a proper apology has potent power here in Japan, for better or for worse. So when in doubt, you better get bent."

No, it's worth noting that many think, and this article kind of backs that up, a proper apology can only be offered by a Japanese, and if you criticise that you just "don't understand because you are not", etc. And, sorry, but apologies in Japan have become as much as admission of guilt as elsewhere, they are just still for the most part completely devoid of sincerity.

I'd take a sincere apology that is slightly clunky or that perhaps a person makes eye-contact when they should not over an obviously cold, uncaring "moushiwake nai" that has the proper movements but ZERO intent to change and absolutely no meaning in terms of contrition.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Yuck. Nothing screams "phony" more than a Japanese corporate "apology." I'm sure it really comes from the heart...sorry, I meant to say, " za haato."

And why apologize when this is exactly what your Dear Leader demands?! We've got an inflation target to meet, you hard working Hundred Million! Higher prices and higher taxes are GOOD for the masses! Because? Er...Because! So do your duty to the "Kokutai," jack up prices on the yen-pinching citizenry and be done with it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I guess when Abe rises the consumption tax, their apology performance will be off the charts

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I prefer fish flavored ice cream but might try this.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I would say that also in Japan apologies are equally seen as "an admission of guilt" or feeling sorry for one's acts or behavior. No difference there. But it is true, in Japan lots of focus is given to the contrite bow, the lower the better with hands and head on the floor 'dogeza' groveling the best, played endless loop on the evening news. It is also a big thing here to force an apology through harsh bullying and intimidation even for fairly minor or even non-existing transgressions by the person who has taken offense. The apology mindset here is rife with power-trip politics and petty tyranny.

Interesting points Sensato. Does such analysis fit in with apologies towards international neighbors?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

i will keep buying gari gari kun even if it hits 100 yen

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's no need to apologize for reacting to inflationary pressures.

What inflationary pressure? Inflation in Japan is at 0% and potentially again dropping into deflation. This is probably more from the 5% to 8% raise in the consumption tax. Many companies and businesses bit the bullet and stayed away from raising costs, they can not keep up with import costs for ingredients needed for their products, with the yen rate changing and forcing them to pay more for production.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The video is amazing. All that creativity, energy and business savvy for a useless product that causes dental cavaties and Type 2 adult onset diabetes. Amazing. I bow to that kind of chutzah, which I don't know how to translate into nihongo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What inflationary pressure?

Starbucks coffee...up 20-30% in the last 15 years. Newspapers ... up in the last 15 years (not that I buy them much). Nearly all baked good (bread, etc.) ... up 25-40% in the last 15 years. Taxi fares ... up from 500 yen to 730 yen (first 2km) since I have been here (don't ride them much) Other food prices ... up in the last 15 years

I missed some items here, so feel free to ad to the list anyone.

Any other questions?..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nice story to mend the world, never preserve foods for that is the beginning is for all diseases then you run for drugs a rigmarole.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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