Hello, this is TORA.

When asked about the most popular confections and sweets in Japan, many people would say chocolate.
In the store fronts of today’s Japan, chocolate treats are laid out in huge numbers.


Japan’s chocolate treats

There are Koala’s March, Pocky, Packncho, Koeda, Dars, and more. The list is endless. However, in Japan there is no stable supply of, or way to produce, its basic ingredient of cacao.
Despite that, chocolate is very popular and consumed in great quantities. It’s a puzzle, but I’ll come back to that later.

In recent times, both foreign tourists and expats living in Japan have taken a liking to the chocolate of Japan.
I often see tourists purchasing large amounts to take home with them. One of the most popular brands is Koala’s March.

It is thought that the introduction of chocolate into Japan began when prostitutes in Nagasaki in the Edo period were given it by Dutch merchants.
For a while after that it was known about behind closed doors, but did not take proper hold of the country.

The point at which the Japanese really took to chocolate was at the beginning of the Showa period.
It is said that this started with an advertisement by the chocolate company Morozoff, which encouraged people to give it for Valentine’s Day.

Other companies started to promote the idea that Valentine’s Day means chocolate, establishing the Valentine culture of today as well as cementing chocolate’s popularity. (A chocolate company conspiracy…)

A little piece of trivia is that February alone accounts for 20-30% of chocolate’s yearly revenue in Japan…
So, what exactly is the appeal of Japan’s chocolate treats?

Chocolate’s potency and efficacy

First, there are so many different varieties. I gave four examples at the beginning of this article, but there are innumerable others such as Tirol-Choco, Meltykiss, and Macadamia Nuts.
It’s great that one kind of food can be enjoyed in so many different ways. Another thing chocolate has to offer is its health benefit.
For sure, it contains a lot of sugar, so it is unhealthy to each too much of it. However, it can promote good health if consumed in moderate quantities.

First, the high concentration of sugar in a small piece of chocolate makes it a fast acting energy supplement. This is a great blessing for athletes.

Second, the flavonol and polyphenol contained in chocolate can beautify the skin. And thanks to a substance called theobromine, it also has a relaxing effect.

In summary

As we have seen, chocolate is a highly versatile food that can be enjoyed in many different ways and, to a certain degree, can promote good health. What’s not to love?

I trust this has deepened your knowledge of Japanese chocolate. Please enjoy the chocolate of Japan.

That’s all for today.

Otsukaresama deshita.