Company Selling Iconic Japanese Candy Goes Out Of Business, Sweets Appeared In Studio Ghibli Movie

Beloved Japanese Candy No Longer Selling To Customers Due To High Production Costs

Fans of Studio Ghibli would recognise Sakuma’s Drops, an iconic Japanese candy that appeared in its 1988 flick ‘Grave of the Fireflies’.

Source: Nikkei Asia

Consisting of hard fruit drops of various flavours in a red steel can, the 114-year-old snack has earned a cult following.

Unfortunately, the company manufacturing Sakuma’s Drops is now going out of business. As such, it will no longer be selling it to customers.

Company stops distribution of Japanese candy

Reuters reports that on Wednesday (9 Nov), Tokyo-based Sakumaseika Co said it would cease operations on 20 Jan.

Source: Reuters

This is due to an unlucky combination of increasing production costs, labour shortage and falling numbers of customers purchasing its main product, Sakuma’s Drops.

In 2021 alone, Sakumaseika suffered a net loss of more than S$1.4 million (150 million yen).

As such, it will no longer be able to sell the candy.

The company stated that they have not increased the product’s price. Japanese firms are generally hesitant to do so as they worry about losing customers.

A representative from Sakumaseika told Reuters that the future of its 100 employees at the business remains uncertain. They declined to comment further.

Fans mourn loss of popular candy

In 1908, Sojiro Sakuma established Sakumaseika, producing Sakuma’s Drops during World War II.

Keen movie buffs would have spotted it in Studio Ghibli’s 1988 film “Grave of the Fireflies”, whereby an orphan carries it around with her.

The 114-year-old candy was thus very much a staple among local confectionery shops. Once news of the discontinuation emerged, tributes poured in from fans of the product.

“We always had a can at home when I was in grade school,” Naoe Watanabe, a 53-year-old sweets shop owner, said.

It feels like a sign of the times. There are so many choices now, compared to when I was a kid.

He recalled how he would use a 10-yen coin to open the lid of the red steel can.

Older consumers bought candy

Another snacks store owner, Hiroshi Matsuzawa, said older customers mostly bought the candy, while children had newer products to choose from.

Source: SoraNews24

Teruyo Ishiguro, who runs a similar establishment, said she stopped selling Sakuma’s Drops after noticing the older ages of its consumers.

“It’s very sad to see something disappear that’s been around for so long,” she said, speaking to Reuters.

On the other hand, rival firm Sakuma Confectionary Co will continue selling a similar product in a green can named Sakuma Drops — yes, without the apostrophe s.

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Featured image adapted from Anime Trending and Reuters.

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