Did you know? Hershey’s Kit Kat Wafer Bar is considered to be lucky in Japan!
In fact, the Japanese are the world’s leading consumers of Kit Kat, eating more than five million bars every day. It may seem odd to think that anyone would even question what candy bar is considered good luck in Japan. We don’t usually associate luck with confectionary, but this seems to be a uniquely Japanese thing that is too big to overlook as a craze. And it has been going on for years!
The History of the Kit Kat in Japan
It all started in 1973 when Kit Kat, a British made chocolate wafer bar made by Rowntree, was first exported to Japan. The Kit Kat name sounds very similar to the Japanese phrase “Kitto Katsu,” which means “you will surely win.” Because of this, people started giving Kit Kat bars as good luck wishes for exams, driving tests, or anything else.
Nestle, who bought out Rowntree, began noticing that Kit Kat sales soared in January when students took their university entrance exams. They even partnered with the post office in order to send Kit Kats in the mail to thousands of students. What candy bar is considered good luck in Japan in the same way? The answer is none. This whole phenomenon is only related to Kit Kat because of the name.
Flavors of Kit Kat in Japan
In Japan, the most popular sized bar is the mini bite sized bar. This is available in a massive range of over 40 flavors with new ones being bought out for the market on a constant basis. Flavors include Sake, Blueberry Cheesecake and even Baked Potato. If you are outside Japan, all this is hard to imagine.
Today, you can find Kit Kat snack bars just about everywhere in Japan from corner shops to department stores, and according to social commentators, this is not just a desire for a sweet treat; it is a national obsession.
Cedric Lacriox, the managing director of Nestle Japan, is understandably extremely happy about the craze. “It became part of the company mission to play this lucky charm. So, Kit Kat’s mission in Japan is really to encourage people.”
Funnily enough, the craze is catching on outside Japan too as people get to hear about the wide array of Kit Kat flavors and are eager to try them out for themselves.
Back in 1911, when the Kit Kat was invented in England and originally called Kit Cat, nobody could have ever imagined that this name would have far reaching implications on the other side of the world.
Had it not been for this happy accident of naming the humble confectionary bar, the Kit Kat, it would never have achieved such status. If what candy bar is considered good luck in Japan is based on a name, it seems that confectionery manufacturers should not have been looking out to space with Mars Bars and Milky Ways, but identifying markets on our home planet.