A kangaroo was one of the earliest live animation advertisers of cognac.
An artist called Georges Maresté (1875-1940) made the above advertisement to promote Prunier Cognac sales in Australia early in the 1920s.
Many Maresté works featured his birthplace of Cognac, France, which is, of course, itself the birthplace of cognac brandy.
Prunier has a history of 250 years of selling cognac, so it’s unlikely to have rued the day it roo-d the day by using Australia’s national animal to plug its wares down under.
Japanese have been legally eating kangaroo for longer than most Australians. Kangaroo meat was imported to Japan and being served in Tokyo restaurants from 1988, five years before meat from the national symbol was legalized for consumption by Australians in all states other than South Australia, where kangaroo could be eaten legally from 1980. (Indigenous Australians had continued eating kangaroo, a traditional food, regardless of the ban.)
Despite the head start, kangaroo meat never really kicked on in Japan, despite its reputation for being a healthy, high-protein, low-fat alternative to beef or pork. RooMeat was promoted in Japan as being a preferred choice of athletes and models, but the “stars” called upon to plug the meat were not household names. Moreover, the meat was promoted with the somewhat mysterious catch copy of “it’s tasty if you cook it.”
Kangaroo meat can still be purchased in Japan, probably most easily from The Meat Guy, purveyor of fine meats.
Kangaroo meat is also promoted as an environmentally friendly choice as kangaroos produce less methane than cattle.
Some people have also adopted kangatarianism, which is essentially a vegetarian diet that allows for the consumption of kangaroo meat. Japan’s kangaroo business was also involved in the kangaroo industry, which focuses around the marsupial’s leather, which is regarded as the strongest source of leather for shoes and gloves. K-Roo kangaroo meat promotions Premium kangaroo meat promotions
Japan has a strange affinity when it comes to using Australian animals for its advertising.
A number of major Japanese corporations use koalas and roos to plug their products and services.
One with a difference is Hayashi Corporation, a construction company with a history of over 100 years and based in suburban Tokyo.
Hayashi Corporation’s Fuchu branch office entrance is adorned with photos of a family of cartoon kangaroos decked out in soccer gear, just like Australia’s national football team, the Socceroos. Japan’s next opponent in World Cup qualifying is Australia, but there’s no connection.
What is interesting to note, though, is that the kangaroos had been painted over until quite recently. They were restored after many years and now stand out prominently.
The reason for why this marsupial touch has been added to outer suburban Tokyo remains a mystery, though.
The cartoon told the story of Lucy-May Popple and her family, who had emigrated from Yorkshire to live in Adelaide, Australia. The story was based on a book called Southern Rainbow by Australian author Phyllis Piddington. The anime would be translated into numerous languages and aired in many countries outside of Japan.
The DVD cover
The cartoon introduced Japanese audiences to all sorts of Australian animals that were then largely unknown. Among the Australian creatures featured on the show were kangaroos, platypuses, wombats, kookaburras and koalas. There were no koalas in Japan when the cartoon aired, but the marsupials would sweep the country of its feet with their cuteness when the first koalas arrived at the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya two years later.
Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow was part of the World Masterpiece Theater, a yearlong series that featured an anime adaptation of a famous book. Among those who worked on the series were Hayao Miyazaki, who had already left Nippon Animation before Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow aired. World Masterpiece Theater aired from 1969 to 1997, then resumed after a 10-year hiatus and continues to air now.
Continuing on from yesterday’s entry, there’s more Maruishi Cycle brilliance on show.
Here is a bicycle crank featuring a kangaroo motif.
This work is especially notable as it was done before World War II.
Also note the kangaroo print on the pedal shaft.
Pretty amazing bit of work, though the kangaroo connection remains a bit of a mystery, yet once again forms a link between Japan and Australia.