The Great Japanese Chocolate Snack War: Kinoko no Yama vs Takenoko no Sato
Jan 3, 2023
CULTUREThe Great Japanese Chocolate Snack War: Kinoko no Yama vs Takenoko no Sato
Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato are two insanely popular Japanese snacks that are pretty similar in flavor profiles, but did you know that there’s actually a civil war within Japan about which snack is superior?
During the Meiji era, chocolate was still considered an unusual and uncommon snack in Japan. Meiji (the company, not the era) had released Apollo chocolate snacks, but due to their poor sales, they were brainstorming ideas for chocolate biscuit snacks that could be produced using the Apollo chocolate mold they already had on the factory floor.
And that’s when it hit them – 1975 saw the birth of Kinoko no Yama. Literally translated as “mushroom mountain,” Meiji felt that this snack expressed images of nature, nostalgia and human kindness. Four years later, Takenoko no Sato (lit. “bamboo shoot village”) was warmly welcomed into the world of chocolate.
While both snacks use two layers of chocolate – milk chocolate for the tip and dark chocolate for the center – what sets them apart is how they’re classified. In fact, Kinoko no Yama is actually considered a “chocolate biscuit snack,” while Takenoko no Sato is a “chocolate-covered cookie snack.“
A battle begins to determine the superior snack
Don’t be fooled by their innocent appearances! These two snacks are actually the leaders of two opposing chocolate snack factions: The Kinoko-ha and the Takenoko-ha. This rivalry between the two factions is comparable to the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, minus a few musical numbers.
How did this turf war start, you ask? Well, it was all Meiji’s doing.
In 2001, sales of Kinoko no Yama started to drop, and Meiji had the idea to hold a popularity contest to see which snack was more popular. Consumers who were already arguing amongst themselves over which was the superior snack took the bait, and thus began The Great Kino-Take Battle.
Faction members sometimes take to Twitter to announce their allegiance to their team and denounce all naysayers, eventually leading to an interesting documentation of the war across Twitter.
The Great Kino-Take Battle of 2018: What were the results?
The Great Kino-Take Battle of 2018 was a poll held by Meiji and themed as a general election. To match the theme, they gave each faction its own political party, and even created a persona for neutral people. After five months of hard campaigning, holding speeches and hand shaking, member of Japanese band Arashi Jun Matsumoto announced that the winning party was…the Takenoko Party!
Since then, Meiji holds regular polls to see which snack is most popular and even collaborates with popular video games like Splatoon and Grand Blue Fantasy. Nowadays, fans can (literally) fight for the justice of their faction by beating down enemies in the game or spraying them with paint!
Which side are you on?
While it’s apparent that most of Japan prefers takenoko (except for Fukushima, which obviously has superior tastes), the battle between fans still burns strong today.
In the end, liking one snack over the other isn’t the end of the world (for most people), but the preference of takenoko over kinoko might be enough to divide friendships or break up couples if the individual is dedicated enough.
One Japanese Twitter user came to the conclusion that the only way to stop the two factions from fighting was to use alchemy to merge them into a single entity, but that definitely opens a whole new can of worms.
Are you kinoko-ha but your partner is takenoko-ha? How can you even survive Thanksgiving dinner when your snack snob relatives are sparring over which is best? No matter which team you support, we hope that eventually humanity will come together and realize that our time on this planet is fleeting and our lives should be used to enjoy our preferred snack. In fact, we’re sure that the kino-take war being resolved will help us take steps toward world peace.
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