An excellent friend of mine sent me a message about this recently, and I was unaware of it beforehand. Above I’m proudly displaying the two I got from the nearby 7-11, “mango pudding” flavor and “royal milk tea” flavor. And no, I haven’t tried them yet. I’m building up a small collection to see what I can get. Public Radio International aired a story about Kit Kats and how they’re wildly popular in Japan. I had noticed them, but because Kit Kat is an American brand, I didn’t pay close attention to them. The link to the article is here.

Here are some excerpts from it (all content is from PRI):

“….A trip to a Japanese convenient store can be overwhelming. There’s a drinks corner stocked with 30 different types of coffee drinks. Winter barbeque and tomato and garlic-flavored Pringles line the snack isle. Then there’s the chocolate section – specifically the Kit Kat section…”

“…Sachiko Fukasu doesn’t bat an eye when I tell her about Nestlé’s latest creation – the vegetables galore Kit Kat. She says it’s probably a good choice for vegetarians. Nestle Japan says it’s released 200 Kit Kat flavors in the past decade. The company credits its success in Japan to a marketing campaign it launched five years ago. The ad targeted high school students. It played on the similarities between the words Kit Kat and Japanese words “Kitto Katsu” which means “you will surely win.” Students started using them as good luck charms and sales soared….”

“…Fiorella says companies want to keep spending habits up by introducing unusual flavors and giving consumers reasons to buy. Many of the snacks only sell for a limited time or in specific regions. That caters to Japan’s “omiage” or gift-giving culture where consumers are expected to bring back something unique for friends and colleagues when they travel. For example the cherry blossom flavored Kit Kat is only sold in the spring. The potato Kit Kat was only sold in the country’s northern Hokkaido region, an area known for spuds. A nestle spokesman says the limited edition flavors stay on store shelves for average of two months before they’re replaced with new ones. Fiorella says the marketing cycle in Japan is unlike anything in the US….”

I’ve also included, for your viewing pleasure, an interesting video.


You may think that some of this video must be a joke – that it can’t be true – but it is. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! I’m in Japan, so information isn’t that hard to find – as quirky as it might be!