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Japanese Company Apologizes for 9 Cent Price Increase

[GIF via Akagi]
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Akagi Nyugyo Co. is apologizing for increasing the price of its long-selling ice treat Gari-Gari Kun. Starting April this month, each popsicle’s price will be raised from 60 yen to 70 yen. This is the first price hike in 25 years. Sorry about that!

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As the Mainichi News points out, Akagi isn’t the only company raising prices (Suntory whisky, for example, will also be more expensive) this spring, but so far, the company is the first I’ve seen to apologize like this.

Playing in the background is Wataru Takada’s wonderful folk song “Neage” (値上げ), which means “Price Hike.” The lyrics talk about not wanting to increase the price, while the text reads, “We held out for 25 years, but [the price is increasing] from 60 to 70 [yen].” That’s a price increase of ten yen, which is around 9 cents. The reason for the hike, Mainichi News explains, is due to an increase in the cost of ingredients and labor.

Then the staff, executives and all bow before the camera. Apology culture can be seen through Japanese corporate culture, especially when there are fuck-ups, but here, this is different. It’s also a very smart way to introduce a price increase and drums up publicity. Case in point, the ad is all over Japanese websites and now, on this Western one.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

manuelsaez
Chambertlo

I’m guessing people in Japan don’t understand how economics works and how prices have to change according to several uncontrollable factors. Why apologize when it is outside of your control? I understand that Japan has an “apology culture”, but what I don’t agree with is that if it is not something you could control, you should not have to apologize.

Snickers bars in the States have been decreasing in size and increasing in price every year since I was a kid, and you will never hear Mars apologizing for any damn thing. If you are a consumer, and don’t like the change in price or size, don’t buy the product. I no longer buy Snicker’s simply because it costs twice as much and I get half a bar in 2016. It’s not fucking rocket science. Apologizing just to appease people irks me to no end.