‘I’m actually a girl’! It has been 32 years since its birth! The inside story of “Tokyo Banana” that we didn’t know | FRIDAY DIGITAL

‘I’m actually a girl’! It has been 32 years since its birth! The inside story of “Tokyo Banana” that we didn’t know

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The year-end and New Year holidays are finally approaching. One confectionary that is often bought or given to people when they return home or on various occasions, such as when greeting friends, is “Tokyo Banana ‘Miitaketto'”, which is now the face of Tokyo souvenirs.

The texture of the moist and fluffy sponge cake and the flavor of the banana custard cream with just the right amount of sweetness are always delicious. It is always delicious.

However, although there is no doubt that the Tokyo Banana has always been as delicious as ever, I feel that, with all due respect, there are almost no opportunities to buy it for oneself, and it has remained in the position of “something to take with you” or “something to receive” for a long time.

We have long been familiar with the existence and taste of Tokyo Banana, but we actually know surprisingly little about the details. Perhaps we are too familiar with it, or perhaps we take it too much for granted, and have never really tried to learn about it. Now that we are likely to have more opportunities to buy and receive products, I would like to learn more about this familiar entity.

Tokyo Banana “Miitaketto” is the official name of the product (PHOTO: Keiichi Wagatsuma)

It is not a “Tokyo souvenir! The phrase “Tokyo souvenir” has been used for 32 years.

Asagaya, Tokyo. The confectionery store “Budenoki & Kamakura-za” is located in a corner of the Pearl Center shopping street, which is always crowded with shoppers. On November 22, 1991, 32 years ago, “Tokyo Banana ‘I found it'” was born here.

The people who greeted us were Mr. Mishima, Mr. Yamanaka, Mr. Murakami, and Mr. Yamada of Grape Stone’s Planning and Development Division, which operates the well-known “Silver Grape” brand at the store and in department stores.

Thunder Okoshi, Ningyo-yaki, and Western-style confections from long-established stores…… “Tokyo famous confections” and “Tokyo souvenirs” exist, of course, but they have been redefined as “Tokyo souvenirs”. Tokyo Banana was the one that made the term “Tokyo souvenir” a household word, he says.

When we first started selling it, we were a newcomer to the market, so we had to actively promote ourselves and get people to stop by,” he said. We have to be proactive in appealing to people and getting them to stop by. It is a sponge cake filled with banana custard cream.

I never said “souvenirs from Tokyo,” but rather “Tokyo souvenirs.

As people walked around airports and train stations wondering what to buy as a souvenir, they heard the same tone of voice over and over again, and I think it stuck in their ears like a phrase from a commercial. This is still true today, 32 years later.

A lineup of past “Tokyo Banana” series products (* Products with heart or leopard patterns are no longer on the market).

Why “banana flavor”!

How did Tokyo Banana become a banana-flavored confectionery?

The answer is: “Souvenirs are usually like local specialties of the area. They started from the question of what is Tokyo’s uniqueness and what are the specialties of Tokyo.

Tokyo is a place where many people gather from all over the country, so I wondered what is the common taste that is nostalgic for everyone, the taste that is familiar to everyone.

We decided that it should be bananas, bananas that everyone will remember.

Mr. Yamanaka (right) and Mr. Yamada (left) unravel the secrets of “Tokyo Banana,” which may seem familiar but are surprisingly unknown to most people.

The fact that the development of Tokyo Banana started during the bubble period also had an impact on the product.

The banana was a luxury item that was coveted in those days, and the taste of bananas, which have since become familiar and familiar to people, will remind people of those warm days, and will be loved by men and women of all ages. This is the thought that went into the creation of the banana.

Tokyo Banana “I found it”” is the official name of the product, but it was initially developed under the name “Banana Monogatari.

At the time, there were no souvenir confections with the straightforward name “Tokyo XX,” and there were some reluctant voices, but the president made the decision that he wanted to make the product a representative of Tokyo.

However, the president of the company decided that he wanted to create a confectionary that represented Tokyo.

The sponge cake with custard cream is what we call a fresh cake.

However, since it is a souvenir, it has to last a certain amount of time. We also wanted to make sure that the flavor was not too spicy. It should contain cream and remain soft and fluffy even after being stored at room temperature for a long time.

Especially overseas, people say, “This technology is ‘Wonderful! (laughs).

A full-page newspaper advertisement that appeared in December 1991, shortly after the product went on sale. This is the only time in the company’s 32-year history that it has run such an advertisement.

Tokyo Banana also had a “gangro-animal-patterned gal” period!

Although the number of units sold per year is not disclosed, the number of units sold per year is shown in the package,

“I can go from Tokyo to Hawaii (laughs).

(laugh). The most popular flavor is still the classic “Tokyo Banana,” but over the past 30 years, the company has introduced not only the classic banana flavor, but also caramel, honey, strawberry, lemon, and even rice-flour sponge cakes. Not only sponge cakes, but also gaufrettes, cookies, and baumkuchen have been introduced, and to date, 157 variations have been introduced in the series.

One of the most popular flavors is chocolate banana. Choco-banana is familiar at fairgrounds, crepes, and parfaits, and needless to say, it is an “ironclad” combination.

The development of the product itself was already underway, as it was a flavor that would definitely go well together,” said Mr. Kurokawa. We had already made progress on the development of the flavor, and we were just trying to figure out where and when to release it.

That was the opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree in 2012. The new flavor was introduced at a store (now closed) in the “Tokyo Solamachi” commercial facility, which was also attached to the Tokyo Skytree, in time for its opening. The chocolate banana flavor was, for some reason, leopard-printed. The reason for the leopard-printed look can be found at ……

The background was the “gyaru” (gal) boom. Everyone was wearing short skirts and leopard print. I myself used to go to 109 in Shibuya during that era (laughs).

(laughs). Tokyo Banana also had its own “gang-robust” animal-print gal era.

The character “na” in the name “Tokyo Banana” is a very popular girl’s name,

The “N” in the name “Tokyo Banana” is a popular girl’s name, like “Yuna,” which means “I’m a girl!

Did he mean the “N” of Mina, Kana, Rina, Reina, Aina, etc.?  Was it a girl named “Banana-chan”?

So the illustration of Banana on the package always has a ribbon on it. She’s a little fashionable Tokyo girl.


……I’ve been eating Banana for a long time and never noticed that.

Tokyo Banana, which is actually named after a girl, has cute ribbons on it!
The leopard-patterned chocolate banana flavor (*not currently available) was launched in response to the “gal” boom.

Sales actually increase in March.

The flagship “Tokyo Banana’s” store, which opened in Tokyo Station Ichibangai, sells store-specific products such as shakes, curry buns, and cream-an doughnuts, which are also gaining popularity.

Since many offices are located in Yaesu, many customers buy several curry buns for home or for their families on their way home from work.

Tokyo Banana’s Raisin Sandwich” won first place in an in-house popularity contest.
Members of the Planning & Development Division of GrapeStone Co. From left: Mr. Mishima, Mr. Yamanaka, Mr. Murakami, and Mr. Yamada.

The most popular souvenir in Tokyo, sales are said to be higher in March than during the Obon and year-end and New Year’s holidays.

Many people buy these souvenirs to say hello as they begin their new lives and many people are on the move,” says Mr. Yamanaka.

Tokyo Banana is a great gift to receive and to buy yourself. It is recommended to eat it chilled or frozen. On the other hand, if you eat it slightly warmed up, you can feel the freshly made atmosphere, which is not usually possible, and discover a new charm of this classic. The soft and fluffy texture of the dough is said to be intact even when frozen.

Finally, we asked the bakery to analyze itself as to why “Tokyo Banana” has been loved for so long.

I can say with confidence that the best thing about Tokyo Banana is its taste, which is delicious no matter how many times you eat it.

The design, the ease of purchase when you have to catch a plane or a bullet train in 10 minutes, and the responsiveness of the sales staff are all things that have remained unchanged since the product’s launch.

I feel as if I have learned a lot about my friend that I didn’t know before.

If everyone eats Tokyo Banana while sharing their knowledge, it is sure to be even more delicious and enjoyable.

Miniatures released for capsule toys have also become popular.
Tokyo Banana’s” directly managed store in Tokyo Station Ichibangai (PHOTO: courtesy of Grapestone)
  • Interview and text Satoru Ota

    Writer, editor, interviewer. He started his writing career as a student, and currently writes mainly entertainment articles and interviews for websites and magazines.

  • PHOTO Keiichi Wagatsuma

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