Life is like a “tin can of fruit candy”, you never know what flavor it will shake out. Although this is not a real movie line, the jar of Setsuko’s favorite candy in “Grave of the Fireflies” is still a childhood memory for many people. On November 9, Sakuma Seika Co., Ltd. announced that due to the impact of the epidemic, rising production costs and labor shortages, the production of Sakuma-style fruit candies will be suspended at the end of the year.
After Sakuma Confectionery Co., Ltd. announced the discontinuation of Sakuma-style fruit candy (サクマstyle ドロップス / Sakuma’s Drops), the other side, サクマ Confectionery, simultaneously stated, “Sakuma Fruit Candy (サクマドロップス / Sakuma Drops) is sold as usual, please continue to support.”
One is Sakuma “style” fruit candy in red packaging, and the other is Sakuma fruit candy in green packaging. Why are there two manufacturing companies with similar products and packaging?
“Grave of the Fireflies” Setsuko’s Favorite Candy
Sojiro Sakuma, a Japanese confectionary manufacturer, imported boiled sugar and spices from the United Kingdom in order to make candy that is not inferior to foreign countries, and “dropped” them to the baking pan to solidify to make Drops. With his efforts, he finally produced fruit candy with a unique flavor in 1908. Unlike traditional Japanese Drops, サクマstyle ドロップス has two characteristics of “not easy to melt even in summer” and “crystal clear and transparent”. The production method of fruit candy is named “Sakuma method” and registered as a patent. In 1913, the candy was sold in tin cans, and it became a fruit candy jar loved by both adults and children in Taiwan and Japan, and became the first fruit candy in Japan to add natural juice.
In 1988, Takahata directed the “Grave of the Fireflies”, which depicts the story of brothers and sisters during the war. The younger sister Setsuko’s favorite candy, the older brother even poured water into the jar and dissolved it into sugar water, which made Sakuma-style fruit candy again attract attention, and it was released later. A reproduction of “Grave of the Fireflies” with Setsuko’s picture on the box.
It was another company…#sakuma drops #Sakuma Confectionery#sakuma drops #sakuma confectionery pic.twitter.com/THJMQhuWkU
— Kaname (@sichihachiji) November 9, 2022
▲ The green packaging is Sakuma Seika, and the red packaging is Sakuma Seika. Both founders are Sakuma Sojiro, but they are now different companies.
Red Founding Team vs. Green Split Team
Fruit candy became popular because of animations depicting war, and the reason for Sakuma’s trademark twins is also war. In the 1940s, when the Pacific War heated up, the Tokyo Ikebukuro Head Office, Osaka and Manzhou factories of Sakuma Confectionery were all reduced to ashes due to the war. The lack of supplies of materials and sugar, and the Japanese government’s promulgation of a corporate reorganization order forced them to close.
Although Sakuma Seika made a comeback after the war with the help of entrepreneur Yokokura Shinnosuke, the president’s son opened サクマ Seika (サクマ is the katakana pinyin of Kanji Sakuma) in Ebisu, Tokyo a year ago.
The dispute between “Founding Store” and “Founding Branch” eventually went to court, and both parties wanted to fight for the registered trademark of “サクマstyle ドロップス”. In the end, the founding shop Sakuma Seika obtained the trademark rights; Sakuma Seika retained the company name and changed to “サクマドロップス”. But after all, it was born from the same root, and the two companies decided to take a step back, and now the trademark “サクマstyle ドロップス” is jointly owned by the two companies.
Could the Sakuma version of fruit candy come back to life?
In order to distinguish, the candy jars of Sakuma Seika and Sakuma Seika are distinguished by red and green, and the taste of the candy is also different. In addition to strawberry, lemon, orange, pineapple, apple, and mint, the other two flavors of Sakuma are grape and chocolate; サクマ is plum and cantaloupe.
Different from Sakuma Seika’s focus on selling fruit candies, Sakuma Seika continues to develop new products, such as chocolate candy (チャオ) and bite-sized strawberry milk candy (いちごみるく), which are all popular products of the company. In recent years, it has cooperated with animations such as “Demon Slayer” and “Curse Return”.
Although Sakuma Seika and Sakuma Seika are independent companies with absolutely no capital and personal relationships, after Sakuma Seika announced its closure, Sakuma Seika, which also holds the trademark rights of “サクマstyle ドロップス”, may still make the red candy jar “サクマstyle ドロップス” “Resurrection.
Don’t fight, go to the trademark registration office to fight
Trademark disputes are actually very common, and the most famous trademark case in Japan is the SONY chocolate incident.
In 1964, the owner of a candy seller in Asakusa, Tokyo found that the nationally well-known SONY company only applied for the registration of the “Sony” brand name to obtain the trademark right of the ninth category (technology and computer related), so he set up a “Sony Foods” food company on a whim. , and applied for the registration of the company name to obtain the trademark right of Class 30 (food related), and sold Sony Chocolate in a packaging similar to the SONY trademark.
The chocolate’s popularity after its launch led to confusion among many consumers, thinking that “Sony is entering the food world”.
According to the Trademark Law, a trademark applicant can apply for the registration of trademarks with the same or similar names as others in different trademark categories to obtain trademark rights. Therefore, Sony Foods’ behavior seems to be legal, but the SONY trademark was widely known at that time. In order to defend the trademark rights, SONY filed The civil lawsuit is also Japan’s first “Unfair Competition Prevention Act” lawsuit.
After more than 5 years of litigation, Sony Chocolate finally agreed to change the trademark and stop selling the goods, and the two parties reached a settlement. SONY has also learned its lesson and registered all trademark categories in 170 countries around the world.
(This article is written by Earth Atlas Team Reprinted with permission; source of the first image:Shinobu Machida）