Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective


In 1965, food company Glico launched ‘Chocoteck’, thin sticks of wheat dipped in milk chocolate. They sold 60 billion yen’s worth in two years, and the snack became an essential 60s fashion accessory.

The name was soon changed to Pocky – from the crunching ‘pockin’ sound that a hard-core Pocky scoffer makes. Japanese onomatopaeia seems to allow a lot of artistic interpretation (Japanese pigs say ‘boo boo’).

Now, there are countless flavours and an international Pocky-holic community, comparing notes on Pocky experiences, Pocky poetry, and sharing secrets about where to find “rare” Pocky.

Pocky’s popularity is spreading outside Japan, to the extent that Thai counterfeiters are making fake Pocky (‘Chocky’) in Bangkok.

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