Photo: Moraeru Jihanki official website

Tokyo has a new vending machine where everything inside is free

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

We naturally expect our vending machines to vend and to be machines. Those are the two halves of it. If you or I go stand on the street corner with a cooler full of cold drinks, no matter how many we sell, we’ll still just be vendors, not vending machines.

Being mechanical and filled with products, the new vending machine at the Tokyu Department Store in Tokyo’s Kichijoji neighborhood seems like it passes the “vending machine” qualification check. Actually, though, it doesn’t vend, because you don’t have to spend any money to get your hands on the items inside, since the machine gives them away for free.


It’s called the Moraeru Jihanki, which translates loosely to the “You Can Have What’s Inside Vending Machine.” At first glance, you might think it’s a machine that only works with cashless payment apps. There’s no slot in which to insert bills or coins, and there’s an illustrated diagram of a smartphone-involved process of some sort on the right side of the machine’s housing.


But while you’ll need a smartphone in order to obtain items from the machine, you won’t have to spend a single yen. Instead, using the Line messaging app, you friend the official Moraeru Jihanki (もらえる自販機) Line account. Then you take a look at the items the machine is stocked with, pick out what you want, and send its product code to the Moraeru Jihanki account. The account will then message you back with a URL to a short survey, and once you’ve filled it out you’re given a QR code. Bring up the QR code on your phone’s screen, place it in front of the vending machine’s scanner, and it’ll spit out the item you wanted, completely free of charge.


It’s the survey that’s the key to all this, since the purpose of the Moraeru Jihanki isn’t to earn money directly, but to aid with with marketing research, helping companies determine the demographic makeup and wants of potential customers who are interested in their wares. The machine just went into service at the end of October, and right now it’s stocked with items from grooming and beauty product company Kose Cosme Port, offering samples of the company’s shampoo, conditioner, and facial skincare masks.

As this isn’t a dedicated Kose Cosme Port machine, odds are it’ll be stocked with a variety of other products too as time goes by. It’s actually a pretty clever idea. Offering free samples through the mail to gauge consumer interest and determine the core market for a product is a strategy that companies have been using for years, but some would-be survey participants lose interest once they hear that they’re going to have to wait weeks until they actually get their freebies. In-person promotions where staff hand out samples on the spot for filling in a questionnaire offer instant gratification, but also come with the added cost of transporting the product to the venue, hiring event staff, and then hauling everything that’s left over back to the warehouse at the end of the day. Especially for non-perishable items like beauty products, the Moraeru Jihanki represents the best of both worlds, allowing people to get something for free right away at a minimal cost to the company.

The Moraeru Jihanki is located on the roof floor of the Kichijoji Tokyu Department store, next to its Sun Plaza section.

Location information

Tokyu Department Store Kichijoji / 東急百貨店吉祥寺

Address: Tokyo-to, Musashino-shi, Kichijojihoncho 2-3-1


Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m.


Source: PR Times

Insert images: Sukima Design Lab, PR Times, Moraeu Jihanki official website

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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This is genius!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It's not "free" if you are required to provide the company with research data in order to obtain the good. It's an "exchange" of your service for their product.

I've done a few online surveys for my airline mileage program and bank in exchange for some form of credit or bonus, and I've never considered the service I received to be "free."

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I suspect it will soon be ignored when everybody with time to waste has already completed the survey.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This is how most of the internet works. Facebook et al gather data on you in return for a 'free' service . Otherwise, you would have to subscribe to each service you use (to pay for bandwidth, storage, software development), and the subs would soon add up. That makes it a really good deal for online services.

So what are you offering in return for your 'freebie' here? If they wanted to, your phone number, smartphone ID, Line account details, physical location and preferences could all be gathered and matched together. In most cases these surveys are benign - they may genuinely only want a bit of survey data. But it depends upon how much data is harvested and matched, and by whom. Is there a CCTV camera nearby?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Remember, when something is free you are the product.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

JT - there are two instances of “Morearu” that I can see. They should probably be changed to the correct “Moraeru”

Moderator: Thanks. That has been corrected.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

its AS/sorry abt mistyping/

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Very smart idea behind the concept.

I'd like to see this idea copied, to provide daily essentials for the homeless in areas where they tend to live (for example, in Ueno in Tokyo). Having bottles of water in the summer, toothbrushes and toothpaste, fresh socks, and etc. would be a huge benefit to their lives, and allow them to receive these items anonymously without having to go to shelters to receive them. Allowing them to get these items anonymously and without registering would allow them to maintain a bit of dignity.

Yes, some people might abuse the system, and some who don't need them may steal the free items for fun. But if the signs specifically explain that these are for the homeless population, I think most people would respect that, and it'd end up helping more people in need.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"There is nothing more expensive than free."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

JeffLeeNov. 14  07:03 am JST

It's not "free" if you are required to provide the company with research data in order to obtain the good. It's an "exchange" of your service for their product.

I've done a few online surveys for my airline mileage program and bank in exchange for some form of credit or bonus, and I've never considered the service I received to be "free."

Nothing is really 'free'. And there's always some yo-yos who would try to get more out these vending machines by picking them up and shaking them to get MORE product. Of course not only would that be stealing but dangerous, the machine can fall on that person and kill them. I knew someone in HS who did that stunt to get two Pepsis instead of just one.

And just watch, somebody will try that stunt; even on these machines. Ain't nothing in this world that is truly free.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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