Yay! It's Pocky Day!

Yay! It's Pocky Day!

by Michelle "Ms. Geek" Klein-Hass

Yes, I know today is a special day in the US. Veterans' Day, formerly Armistice Day, which started as the commemoration of the end of World War I. However, first in South Korea, then in Japan, it's Pocky Day! It is a commemoration of one of Asia's favorite sweet treats, the slim cookie sticks enrobed with chocolate or other sweet toppings. Pocky has become the favorite sweet treat of the international Otaku-zoku too, available at geek Cons and at retail stores all over the US, Canada, Europe and the Americas.

The South Korean confectioners Lotte put out their own take on Pocky, Pepero in 1983, 17 years after Pocky was introduced by Japanese candy and baking company Glico.

In 1994, high school students in South Korea began giving their sweethearts Pepero on 11/11, a day chosen because 11/11 looked like four Pepero sticks. Not to be outdone, in 1999 Glico introduced Pocky Day on the special day of 11/11/11: the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year in the Heisei Era, the era of the reign of Emperor Akihito.

In the past 15 years, Pocky Day has become more and more popular in Japan, particularly in Osaka, where Glico's headquarters have been since its founding. The Tsūtenkaku Tower, in the middle of the Shin Seikai amusement district, was the center of all the action. Around the large tower, displays and games celebrated the snack food.

And much as Harajuku spawned "decora" fashion, there is now a "decora" version of Pocky. You can't buy it pre-decorated, but it's fun to get out frosting and sprinkles and candies and decorate either bundles of Pocky or single Pocky sticks.

For more on Pocky Day, check out this article on Tofugu, which has way more than you could ever ask about this commercial holiday. Oh, and share some Pocky. With a friend.