Meiji Merry Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, c. 1930.

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Meiji Merry Brand Condensed Milk, c. 1930.

Meiji “Merry Milk” Brand Condensed Milk, c. 1930.

“After 1868, the Meiji Restoration introduced Western dietary and cultural influences, which paved the way for a native dairying industry. In particular, the introduction and rapid acceptance of coffee drinking provided an important avenue for exposure to milk and a considerable source of demand.

Backside of advertising postcard, c. 1930, promoting Meiji Merry Milk brand "Kona Miruku" (Condensed Milk).

Backside of advertising postcard, c. 1930, promoting Meiji Merry Milk brand “Kona Miruku” (Condensed Milk) with mail-in contest instructions. First-prize: a ¥1000 (US$500 ca. 1930) “restoration” bond awarded to five people.

“Streetside cafés were joined by milk ‘parlours’ as fashionable niches for refreshment in Tokyo and the other large cities. By 1890, the nation was devoting scientific research to the development of a native condensed milk industry. In time, the production of condensed milk would exceed Japan’s needs; the market was expanded into China and the South Sea islands after World War I.

“Boso Condensed Milk, the first major dairy company in Japan, was first established as a subsidiary operation of Meiji Seika (Japan’s largest confectionery company) in 1917 to produce milk-related products, including evaporated and sweetened condensed milks, ice cream, cheese, butter, margarine, and powdered milk for babies, all marketed under the ‘Meiji Milk’ name.

“Boso pioneered the marketing of dairy products in Japan and played an important role in growing the industry. It became independent of Meiji Seika in 1940. Reincorporated as Meiji Milk Products Company, it began to diversify, adding a line of chocolate, candy, gum, snack foods, and other confections to its consumer products.”


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  1. Pingback: Royal Dutch Chocolate Cocoa advertising postcard, c. 1920. | Old Tokyo

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