Kangaroo meat is selling like hotcakes in Japanese convenience stores. Sales of protein-related products are skyrocketing against a backdrop of growing fascination for weight training.
All protein-related products grew 40% year on year at Natural Lawson convenience stores from fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2019.
And September 2019 sales increased 70% YoY, with kangaroo meat being a prime driver at the chain’s 143 stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Tokyo-based Vasel Inc. sells kangaroo meat under the RooMeat and Paroo brands throughout Japan, including the roo jerky selling strongly at convenience stores.
“Kangaroo meat is the pinnacle of red meats. Its saturated fats are 20 times better for you than beef and kangaroo meat is really popular among women with a strong awareness of beauty,” a Vasel spokesman recently told the Japanese media.
Vasel’s targets are those seeking an athlete’s diet of high-protein, low calorie foods, and women with a strong awareness of beauty and maintaining a healthy weight.
Kangaroo meat is not produced by keeping roos as livestock, but by capturing wild kangaroos and processing the meat. Vasel has imported kangaroo meat into Japan from Australia since the 1980s. Demand has grown significantly in recent years and it now imports 50 tons annually.
“There’s growing interest in red meat. Game is becoming increasingly popular within the dining industry. Women and athletes who are concerned with their health are eating kangaroo. We have focused on branding the meat as RooMeat since 2014, and the robust sales we’re seeing now are probably reflecting that,” the Vasel spokesman said.
Holden would make the cars in Australia and export them as Holden Premiers, the luxury version of the Kingswood, to Japan, where they would be given even further added attractions.
The car was supposed to be used by high-ranking government officials, but the timing of the enterprise could hardly have been worse.
The gas-guzzling Kingswood-derivative was first sent to Japan in 1975.
Sales weren’t ever as good as hoped for, however, and were not aided by the oil shock, which sent petrol prices skyrocketing throughout the 1970s.
After selling only 800 units in two years, Mazda withdrew the Kingswood from the Japanese market.
The main character of the show, Ted Bullpitt, routinely derided Japanese cars during the program’s run from 1980 to 1984, using such terms as “Datsun deviant” for drivers of Nissan vehicles.
Ironically, the Kingswood would soon become an even bigger icon in its home country with the debut of Kingswood Country, a TV comedy about a bigoted suburban Australian man and his family whose great pride and joy was owning a Kingswood.
But it wasn’t just Kingswoods, either, that Australian automakers (well, Holden) were sending to Japan.
Arguably the premiere Australian vehicle, the Statesman de Ville, had also gotten a run in the Land of the Rising Sun a couple of years earlier and uncannily left an almost identical record.
The de Ville, also made by Holden, had been added to the Isuzu lineup of passenger vehicles for 1973-4.
It retailed at a then hefty 3.48 million yen (when starting wages were just over 60,000 yen per month).
Though car enthusiasts and critics were generally upbeat about the de Ville, it failed to touch a nerve with consumers despite golf superstar Jack Nicklaus being used to plug the car in Japan.
The de Ville was removed from the Isuzu range in 1975 after having sold fewer than 250 cars in the then still booming Japanese auto market.
Alas, despite the best efforts of Australian workers, the Oz automaking industry would ultimately suffer the same ignominious fate as its luxury car exports to Japan had seen: humiliating ends.
Buffered by considerable protection into the 1980s, the Australian car manufacturing industry coughed and spluttered its way through the final decade of the 20th century and into the first years of the new millennium.
But by the second decade of the 21st century it was clear that Australian automakers had priced themselves out of the market, mostly by overpaying C Suite types, but also by being unable to compete with countries that did not pay workers a fair wage.
Holden and Toyota Australia were the last automakers to maintain manufacturing plants in Australia, but both closed in 2017.
Holden and Ford Australia still have design and development facilities operating in Australia, so the country is still theoretically capable of producing cars.
Jack Nickalus advertising the Holden Statesman de Ville in Japan
A long, long time ago, in a Straya far, far away, Australia briefly exported cigarettes to Japan.
It wasn’t that long ago, actually.
But for several months in 1994, Winfield cigarettes, one of Australia’s most famous brands (it marketed itself as “Australia’s No. 1 brand” in Japan, but it was actually only the second-biggest seller Down Under, behind Peter Jackson), was an unlikely competitor of mostly British and American Big Tobacco companies to tap into what was still then a thriving Japanese smokers’ market largely unregulated at the time. Winfield was on a downturn at the time in its home country.
Cigarette advertising had been banned from TV and print media decades earlier, but by the mid-1990s in Australia had also been outlawed from outdoor displays and sporting events that tobacco company sponsorship had largely kept afloat.
Japanese Winnie Reds
Like many Western companies faced with growing anti-smoking sentiment at the time, the owners of the Winfield brand decided to flog their fags off to Asians. It didn’t work too well in Japan.
Japanese Winnie Reds and Winnie Blues could be found in the country’s ciggie vending machines (then ubiquitous, now becoming rarer) over what was a record-breaking hot summer and autumn, but were mostly gone by the Christmas of that year.
Winfield owed its chance overseas to many factors, at least one of which was the role played by Paul Hogan, a sometime comedian better-known to international audiences as the star of the Crocodile Dundee film series.
Hoges had been the face of Winfield when it first came out in the 1970s and he was beginning his ascent toward becoming one of Australia’s best-known stars. He became synonymous with the brand even as its presence was being limited, but his famous catch copy of “…anyhow* have a Winfield,” entered the lexicon of ordinary Aussies.
Japanese Winnie Blues
…anyhow*, Australia outlawed packaging displays on cigarettes from 2012. Although punters could still ask for their different types of Winnies, which had been branded according to colors such as Red and Blue, the packaging was no longer actually red, blue or any other color.
Even Hoges, whose rise to fame was at least partly inspired by a sharp set of movie theater and print ads he’d made for Winfield in the 1970s, came out a few years ago to say that he deeply regretted the commercials for having inspired so many people to pick up a durry. Hoges and Stropp Winfield Ad from 1971
Punk Doily, a recently opened cafe, offers a heavenly touch of Australia made by a Saint in a small nook in Oyamadai, Setagaya-ku.
Punk Doily’s sausage rolls are authentically Oz, faithfully providing not only the flavor of the tuckshop, but also adding pleasures for the gourmand that the Japanese excel at. パンクドイリーのソーセージロールは本格的なオージー味であり、学校売店の懐かしい料理を誠実に再現する上に日本人の特異な上質なグルメを加える。
Available in sage and fennel flavors, the sausage rolls use pork from exclusively potato-fed pigs, and have a hearty, mouth-watering meat that tastes perfect without the need of excessive herbs, spices or other additives.
セージとフェンネル味があり、ジャガイモが飼料の豚から得る豚肉使用によって濃厚な美味しさがあり、余計なハーブやスパイスなどが使用不要。 Wash down the delicious savory snack with one of the selection of Punk Doily’s coffees. The Australian-style, rich brews are sublime, the hand drip providing a strong flavor and delicious aroma.
Sweets are another highlight of Punk Doily! On the day of our visit there were delightful salted, triple chocolate cookies, sake-infused cherry tarts and rum raisin brownies. Sublime! The cafe serves up some utterly amazing treats. Check out their Facebook page for some of the other fabulous fare on offer. また、パンクドイリーのもう一つのハイライトが何と言ってもスイーツ！訪問した当日提供したのは日本酒に浸けたチェリータルト、ラム酒漬干しブドウブラウニーと三種類のチョコが入っているトリプルチョコレートクッキー！何と言っても最高にうまかった！その他にもたくさんの美味しいご馳走を提供するので、詳しくは同店のフェースブックページを参照にしてください。
Enjoy Punk Doily’s delicious coffee and culinary delights on site or take out.
Punk Doily is located about the Tamagawa Christ Chuo Church at 3F, 3-28-21 Oyamadai, Setagaya-ku Tokyo 158-0086, Tokyo 158-0086. Tel: 090-4702-7959 Open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. パンクドイリーは玉川キリスト中央教会の上３Fにある、所在地が3ー28ー21尾山台東京都世田谷区。電話が090-4702-7959。営業は土日の11時から5時となっている。
Incidentally, if you’re interested in finding our more about the connection with the saints, go to Punk Doily yourself.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (left) and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, at a meeting in Tokyo this week
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Japan this week, but you’d barely have known it.
Despite repeated claims of the Japan-Australia relationship being stronger than ever, Turnbull’s trip went almost unnoticed by the Japanese media.
Turnbull toured an Air Self-Defense Force base with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seeing first-hand the Australian-made Bushmaster vehicles that Japan uses. The two right-wing leaders also threw a joint luncheon made using pricey Australian ingredients with Japanese-influenced dishes.
Tickets for the invitation-only luncheon held by the Japan-Australia Business Co-operation Committee were a hefty 35,000 yen per person.
Turnbull might not have done much, but he got a decent feed out of the visit.