KitKats were introduced to Japan in 1973. However, it wasn’t until 1996 that the first flavored KitKat, almond, appeared, followed by strawberry and orange in 1998. In 2005, regional KitKats that featured the unique flavors of various cities and prefectures in Japan became popular, and the number of flavors increased dramatically.
Since then, over 100 different flavors have been produced, and the list continues to grow. Japan is famous for its regional specialties, and KitKats are no exception. Our KitKat exhibit features flavors from Hokkaido (the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands) down to Honshu (Japan’s main island) and as far south as Shikoku, Kyushu and even Okinawa (the southernmost islands of Japan).
But the appeal of the KitKat doesn’t stop at its numerous flavors. In Japan, KitKat is pronounced Kitto Katto, which is very similar to the Japanese idiom Kitto Katsu, or “you will surely win.” Consequently, KitKats have become a very popular gift for students, and anyone to whom you might wish good luck. The crunchy chocolate bars have become so popular that special boxes of KitKats – called KitKat Mail – are available only at Japanese post offices. Japanese well-wishers buy a special box of KitKats, write a note on it, and mail the lucky KitKats to anyone they choose.
Check out the video below for more on KitKat Mail, and be sure to stop in to see this delicious exhibit!