Pocky Day: A Holiday Celebrating A Favorite Japanese Snack

Pocky Day: A Holiday Celebrating A Favorite Japanese Snack

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a diverse collection of Pocky flavors
A diverse collection of Pocky flavors, (Img source: Wikipedia)
Glico went above and beyond to establish November 11th as the day to celebrate Pocky. They aired commercials, held marketing campaigns, and even got a dance group of famous Japanese pop stars, The Sharehappi, to create a Pocky Dance!

It’s that time of the year again.  For the next few months, people of all beliefs and backgrounds will gather to celebrate a number of different year-end holidays all over the world. However, here’s a unique November holiday you probably haven’t heard of. November 11th is Pocky day in Japan!

What Is Pocky Day?

There are a number of famous Japanese snacks that have captured the attention and hearts of people around the world. However, none comes close to the beloved breadstick dipped in chocolate, Pocky. For starters, this snack has its own holiday!

a photo of Pocky
Glico’s famous biscuit treat, Pocky. (Img source: Wikipedia)

Pocky & Pretz Day (ポッキー&プリッツの) is an unofficial commercial Japanese holiday that takes place every November 11. Why this date? Just look at the numbers (11/11)! Don’t all those ones remind you of a certain Japanese snack? However, contrary to what one might believe, this trend did not begin in Japan.

The History of Pocky

Pocky finds its origins in 1963, when Ezaki Glico food corporation released its predecessor, Pretz. A simple breadstick, Glico decided to spice up the original recipe by adding some chocolate to it. In 1966, they created Pocky, which they marketed as “the world’s first-ever stick-shaped chocolate confectionery” (世界で初めての棒状チョコレート菓子).

(In case you’re wondering, the name Pocky comes from the Japanese onomatopoeia word, ‘pokkin’ (ポッキン), the sound of snapping a stick in half.).

The Origins of Pocky Day

Pocky quickly grew in popularity. However, it wasn’t only their fans who took notice. Rival company Lotte, a Korean snack company, decided to hop on the bandwagon with their own similar product, Pepero. Like Pocky, Pepero also took off in its own home country. It wasn’t long before the youth in Korea started their own snack-based trends, one of which included exchanging Pepero with friends on November 11. 

Lotte quickly caught on and began to promote November 11th as Pepero Day, a move which did more than simply irritate Pocky’s original creators at Glico. Not wanting to be outdone by their rivals, Glico followed suit and in 1999, started promoting November 11th as Pocky Day in Japan. Since then, the Japan Anniversary Association (日本記念日協会) even went on to recognize Pocky & Pretz Day as an official memorial day.

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Pocky Day Campaigns

Glico went above and beyond to establish November 11th as the day to celebrate Pocky. They aired commercials, held marketing campaigns, and even got a dance group of famous Japanese pop stars, The Sharehappi, to create a Pocky Dance! The dance went viral and even lead to a Pocky dance contest starring The Sharehappi on NicoNico Douga in 2015.

EXILE 三代目J Soul Brothers かっこよすぎるダンス!グリコポッキーCM集

貴方の夢を叶えてみませんか。→ http://www.lp-kun.com/web/lp_kun14577906326032【関連動画】・Sharehappi スペシャルムービー(小林直己、岩田剛典、登坂広臣)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL4e47iJhZ4・THE Shar…

Compilation of Pocky commercials featuring The Sharehappi’s famous Pocky Dance

A World Record-Setting Snack

As if Pocky songs and dances weren’t enough, Glico decided to reach for the stars with a campaign in 2012 aiming to set a world record for the most mentions of a brand name on Twitter within a 24-hours period. With 1,843,733 mentions that day, Glico reached their goal leading to certification in the Guinness World Records. They went on to break their own record the following year with 3,710,044 mentions.

As if one world record alone isn’t impressive enough, Glico actually has several other Pocky-related records. In 2014, Glico achieved another world record with the Largest Online Photo Montage of Cookies/Biscuits after holding a “World Challenge” inviting Pocky fans from all over the world to submit Pocky selfies. And in 2020, Guinness World Record also recognized Pocky as “the world’s best-selling chocolate-coated biscuit“. If Glico’s goal was to take back Pocky as the top snack stick worthy of the 11/11 holiday, I think it’s safe to say they achieved their goal.

a diverse collection of Pocky flavors
A diverse collection of Pocky flavors, (Img source: Wikipedia)

How to Celebrate Pocky Day

So how does one celebrate a holiday dedicated to a chocolate covered biscuit? Aside from the obvious, which is buying a bunch and eating them yourself, there are a number of creative ways people have come up with. You can watch Pocky commercials, upload Pocky photos on social media, or gather your friends for a Pocky party.

Then learn the Pocky dance, and show off your moves on the dance floor! 

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Krys Suzuki

Krys is a Japanese-fluent, English native speaker currently based in the US. A former Tokyo English teacher, Krys now works full time as a J-to-E translator, writer, and artist, with a focus on subjects related to Japanese language and culture. JLPT Level N1. Shares info about Japanese language, culture, and the JLPT on Twitter (SunDogGen).

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