Japan is a food hub with a wide array of delicacies, including sushi, ramen, and onigiri. Yet, its snack game shouldn’t be overlooked, as the country is also home to mouthwatering candies, cakes, and cookies that you can’t often find anywhere else. But there is one Japanese snack that has become a global phenomenon, and that’s Pocky.
The beginnings of Pocky
First introduced in 1966 by the Japanese food manufacturer Ezaki Glico Co., Pocky snacks are thin, chocolate-dipped cookies that are shaped like sticks. According to the brand, the name (pronounced like rocky, but with a p) was inspired by the Japanese word pokin, which is the “onomatopoeia for the snapping sound made while eating Pocky sticks.” Although they were originally marketed to young women as a convenient snack to eat on the go, Pocky quickly became popular among all demographics throughout the country.
As a company, Glico’s story starts earlier. It was founded in 1922, after Riichi Ezaki created his popular caramel candy, Glico Caramel. Originally sold in Osaka’s Mitsukoshi Department Store, these candies were the first ones to come in the iconic red box now associated with Pocky. In 1925, Ezaki opened a factory in the Kita ward in Osaka and later expanded to Tokyo in 1936. However, both factories, along with the Dalian factory in China, were destroyed during World War II. Glico Co. wouldn’t reopen until 1951, but the brand’s popularity didn’t diminish during the hiatus.
When Pocky was released