Japan’s most punk rock candy store is in Tokyo

The owner is easily the coolest clown around.

As we reported earlier, Japan’s longtime popcorn snack, Umaibo, reluctantly raised its price for the first time in 42 years, from 10 yen to 12 yen (US$0.09). After the price hike took effect on April 1, Umaibo makers issued a series of newspaper advertisements apologizing for the inconvenience and thanking fans for their continued support.

Each ad featured messages of support from those most affected by the change, children and candy store owners, but there was one in particular that stood out in the crowd.

This Clown May Not Be Immediately Recognizable To Many, But His Band New Rote’Ka caused a stir during the heyday of ’90s pop punk. And with good reason too, as their songs were really catchy, thanks in large part to singer Atsushi, who also goes by the stage name Acchan.

His presence in an Umaibo ad decades later might seem like one of those intentionally goofy, non-sequential gags that Cup Noodle often employs, but Atsushi’s Connection to Snacks and Sweets Goes Much Deeper.

The singer literally grew up as a child in a candy store his family founded in 1951 in Hachioji, Tokyo. The Fujiya candy store – which is not related to “Fujiya” which makes Milky, but sells its candies – still exists after 71 years. Visiting it, you might be greeted by an older gentleman with a warm smile and no idea his alter ego is the Clown Prince of Punk.

Atsushi (center) in front of Fujiya

In 1998, Atsushi’s father passed away and he decided to take over the family business. However, he also remains very active as a musician and continues to perform live several times a month. Taking both careers seriously, he is in a unique position to enjoy admiration both as a pillar of his local community and of music fans across the country.

New Rote’Ka

New Rote’Ka fans often come to Fujiya hoping to meet Atsushi, and can even purchase concert DVDs from the candy shelves. Meanwhile, kids and grandparents who regularly shop for candy there always get a pleasant surprise when they see their local confectioner on TV.

TV segment featuring Atsushi’s PR song for the Hachioji region

However, the pandemic has been difficult for both companies. Of course, the opportunities to perform live have evaporated considerably over the past couple of years, but on top of that, local independent confectioners like Fujiya are earning a lot of revenue from wholesale purchases by festival organizers. Without events, it also became more difficult to sell so many candies.

Nonetheless, Atsushi persevered and both companies are still going strong. During the pandemic, he also graciously released Acchana 2015 documentary about his life on YouTube for free with English subtitles.

His two jobs are truly a testament to longevity and endurance. So when he lends his support to Umaibo and the classic snacks reply, “Let’s all stick together,” it hits a little deeper than the average ad.

Store Information
Fujiya / 藤屋
Tokyo-to, Hachioji-shi, Honmachi 3-9

Source: PR Times, Hot Pepper, New Rote’Ka
Images: PR Times
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Diana J. Carleton