It is said that Japan has the world’s largest number of companies that have been around for more than 100 years. In fact, there are more than 33000 companies. One of them is a company that makes this candy. How did it become such a long-lived company? Let’s look back at its history.
- Sakuma Drops
- Sold in a palm-size red tin can evoking a feeling of nostalgia and known also for their appearance in the anime “Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka),” Sakuma Drops were born during the Meiji era (1866 to 1912). Although Sakuma Drops disappeared temporarily during the war, they were brought back by the current Sakuma Candy Co. and have become a long seller enjoyed by people of many generations. So let’s take a look at the history of Sakuma Drops that still preserve their traditional taste.
- These are good.
- Sakuma Drops still taste the same as before.
- Sakuma Drops
End of the Meiji era, Tokyo
Sojiro Sakuma working as a Japanese-style confectioner was studying about drops.
- The drops in England are a hard candy. I want to create this flavor.
- Drops made from sugar and starch syrup become sticky in summer from the heat.
- Sprinkling the drops with powdered sugar will prevent them from sticking together.
I’ll use some tart flavoring to create the fresh taste of fruit.
Sojiro Sakuma who developed Sakuma Drops became independent establishing Sojiro Sakuma’s Store.
- From now, we will export drops instead of importing them.
For the company mark, I’ll use a boat leaving three ports.
- These are good. They taste like fruit.
They also look refreshing.
Their unconventional flavor quickly became popular. The company also changed its name to Sakuma Candy Co.
- Sakuma Drops were sold in tin cans.
- The tin can will protect the drops from humidity and will also add to the fun of eating the drops because the contents cannot be seen.
- When the Pacific War began some time later, it became difficult to procure sugar. Managing the company also became difficult because of the “readjustment of enterprises” ordinance.
The factory was burned down in a bombing raid. Sakuma Candy Co. was dissolved.
- End of the war
- Rebirth of Sakuma Candy Co.
I want to revive Sakuma Drops.
- Nobunosuke Yokokura was a businessman born in Tama. He had managed several businesses including the manufacture of pharmaceutical products in Taiwan. It is said that he also had a deep relationship with Sakuma Candy Co.
Sakuma Candy Co. was revived in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.
- In a time when sweet things were in short supply, Sakuma drops became a big hit.
This taste brings back memories.
- Around that time, several other makers were making similar drops. However, people loved the Sakuma Drops because they kept their traditional taste.
- While keeping alive the uniqueness of Sakuma Drops, we’ll make efforts in proportion to the strength of our business.
Canlop Cocktail, Japan’s first candy using real fruit juice, and its sister product Canlop Yogurt went on sale.
- This new product has the features of candy and drops.
Because there were many individually-owned stores, Sakuma’s sales people traveled around together with wholesalers using advertising vans to open up the market.
- The company was also quick to begin TV commercials. When the commercials were aired, the tune composed by Taku Izumi became a popular hit.
Can Can Canlop
- We’ve got a problem! Trucks are lining up in front of the company.
We can’t keep up with demand with production at this plant only.
A modern factory capable of mass production was built in Hachioji.
- Soon after that, various products including Sekidome Bon Bon and Yogurt C were developed. However, Sakuma Drops in tin cans did not lose their popularity.
When Sakuma Drops were used in the anime “Grave of the Fireflies,” the drops in commemorative old-time tin cans were put on sale becoming a popular topic of conversation.
The Healthy Life series was released.
Sakuma Candy Co. will also develop products that combine food and health.
- Around that time, the company received a booklet created by pupils of an elementary school in Shikoku containing their feelings and thoughts about Sakuma Drops.
Sakuma Drops are being enjoyed beyond generations.
- With their various flavors, Sakuma drops are really enjoyable.