Taste Happiness with Milky!

Taste Happiness with Milky!

Taste Happiness with Milky!

Creamy and smooth and delicious, Milky is an iconic Japanese candy from Fujiya that’s been loved ever since it was created in 1951. Produced during the fringes of WWII, this sweet treat let Japanese children have a taste of luxury and happiness. Its mascot, Peko-chan, is also Japanese icon known for its cheerful smile that embodies the childlike joy of eating candy. Get ready because today we’re going to learn more about Milky, Peko, and the delicious mark that they've made in Japanese culture!

  • Japanese name: ミルキー ( mi-ru-kee) 
  • Creator: Fujiya 
  • Mascot: Peko-chan 
  • Slogan: Milky tastes like Mama! 
  • Fun fact: Peko-chan wears pants because children used to lift up the skirts of Peko dolls.

     

    WHAT IS MILKY IN JAPAN? 

    Milky is one of the oldest candy brands in Japan! A soft candy made with milk from Hokkaido, Milky was made by Japanese candy company Fujiya as a “sweet that mothers can safely give to their young children.” Its name was originally Jockey, but Fujiya later on decided to rename it Milky since it was made with condensed milk. The Japanese candy company wanted to make it clear to everyone that Milky came from actual milk.

     

    Why? Well, you see, Milky actually came out way back in 1951. Back then, Japan was still reeling from the effects of World War II and there were many food shortages. Milk was a luxury for many. However, even though its raw ingredients were expensive, Fujiya set Milky’s price low so children could afford it. Soft, creamy, and most importantly, affordable, it was a treat that everyone would look forward to!

     

    WHERE DID MILKY JAPANESE CANDY COME FROM? 

    Milky comes from the Japanese candy company Fujiya. It was originally a Western confectionery shop that sold cakes in the 1910s but as the years went by Fujiya tried its hand at creating candy. The company’s founder, Fujii Rinemon was at a factory in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture when he was experimenting with the combination of starch syrup and condensed milk to create Milky. When Fujiya decided to release Milky in 1951, it was only sold at Fujiya’s Ginza store in Tokyo. It wasn’t until a year after that Milky hit stores all across Japan!

     

    WHAT IS MILKY CANDY MADE OF? 

    Primarily, the original Milky is made of sweetened condensed milk from Hokkaido, the leading manufacturer of dairy products in Japan. This high-quality condensed milk gives these candies a lusciously creamy texture. Besides the condensed milk, Milky candy also has glucose syrup, vegetable oil, salt, and an emulsifier. Without any flavoring or coloring, Milky lets you enjoy the natural taste of rich Hokkaido milk.

     

    WHAT DOES MILKY TASTE LIKE?

    That's a pretty easy question to answer! The original Milky tastes like rich Hokkaido milk. However, over the years, Fujiya has introduced quite a number of limited-edition flavors for the brand. That includes special treats like Chocolate Milky, Coffee Milky, Fruit Milky (strawberry, melon, lemon, orange) and so many more. You can read more about it in our upcoming blog listing down all the Milky flavors.

     

    WHO IS PEKO-CHAN? 

    Japanese snack and candy lovers all know who Peko-chan is! This bright-eyed girl is the mascot of Milky. With her iconic pigtails and playful smile, Peko-chan has become an icon in Japan. Over the year’s she’s become so popular that Fujiya decided to promote Peko and turn her into the face of the entire company itself! Now Peko promotes all things Milky and all things Fujiya at the same time.

     

    THE MILKY-LICIOUS BIRTH OF PEKO-CHAN!

    In the world of Japanese snacks and candies, Peko was born in a “dreamland somewhere on Earth.” However, in real life, this cutie was created in 1950 by the founder of Fujiya, Fujii Rinemonand his son Seiji. The father and son duo wanted to create a cute character that mothers and children would love for their new candy, Milky! 

     

    You see before Peko-chan was born, Fujiya had already been using realistic foreign girl characters on the packaging of “France Caramel,” the very first caramel treat in Japan. Hoping to create a simple character with an easy-to-understand design for its milk candy, Milky, Fujiya created Peko-chan. She was so cute that eventually, she became the face that would help establish Milky as a household candy brand in Japan! 

     

    WHAT IS PEKO IN JAPANESE? 

    There are actually three different ways to explain the meaning behind Peko-chan’s name! According to the official Fujiya website, Peko comes from the word “beko,” a baby cow. This makes a lot of sense knowing that Peko-chan is the mascot for Fujiya milk candy, Milky

     

    However, other sites also explain that Peko-chan’s name could also come from the Japanese phrase “peko peko.” This is the onomatopoeia of the growling sound the stomach makes when it’s hungry. Milky Candy and Peko-chan were both products of the post-WWII Japanese food crisis, so it also makes sense that Peko’s name would come from Peko-Peko. 

     

    The third explanation for Peko-chan’s name is taken from the Japanese word “peko.” By itself, “peko” means to bob one’s head and bow lightly. When Fujiya started marketing Milky, it created a paper mache Peko-chan doll to stand in front of the company’s candy stores. The doll’s head was tilted a little, as if to “peko” or bow. 

     

    LETS LEARN MORE ABOUT PEKO-CHAN! 

    Like a lot of mascots in Japan, Peko-chan has her very own story. This young girl born in 1950 is eternally 6 years old. She’s a character that stays forever young! Standing at 100 centimeters tall and weighing only 15kg, Peko-chan is a bit of a small girl. Her favorite pastimes are playing baseball and hopping. Peko’s favorite animals are puppies! 

     

    THE CREEPY STORY OF WHERE PEKO WAS BORN 

    Earlier on, we learned that Peko was born in a “dreamland somewhere on Earth.” However, there is an urban legend that Peko-chan actually comes from Yakumo Town in Hokkaido. According to a story in a book about Peko, a Fujiya employee for Milky saw a girl wearing overalls and pigtailed ribbon hair at Asunaro Farm in Yakumo. The story suggests that Peko the character was actually based on this farm girl. 

     

    However, when Yakumo Town tried to investigate so that they could corroborate the story, the town officials found that Asunaro Farm didn’t exist. Fujiya has also tried to clarify the situation saying that they haven't been able to confirm this story. “We believe that it is merely an old story that remains in Yakumo town,” the company said. Till now, the truth remains unknown. 

     

    LEARN ABOUT PEKO-CHAN’S SCARY URBAN LEGEND

    Japan is a country rife with mystical stories. There are many urban legends in Japan, and one of them includes Peko-chan herself. As cute as she is, some people can’t just help create scary stories about Peko. According to the legend, Peko is based on the real story of a 6-year-old girl whose mother cut off a part of her arm to feed her during the famine after the war. This girl eventually developed a bloodlust for flesh. She eventually ate her own mother whole and became a cannibalistic girl-child. 

     

    This wild legend is based on the old Milky slogan “Milky Tastes Like Mama.” It also comes from the fact that one of the explanations for Peko’s name is that it comes from peko peko, the onomatopoeic word for the sound a starving stomach makes. Don’t worry though - there’s really no truth to the story at all. This urban legend has no factual basis. 

     

    MILKY AND PEKO'S PAPER TRAIL HISTORY

    Did you know that in the 1950s to 1960s, you could get a big box of Milky where Peko-chan’s eyes moved along with the box? It wasn’t till the 1970s that her eyes were printed to save on production in Milky's packaging. That’s not all! When Fujiya started selling Milky candy in the 1950s, they decided to place papier-mache dolls of Peko-chan

     

    In the 1960s they replaced these with more durable plastic dolls. At first, these dolls didn’t wear pants but skirts! However, Fujiya decided to update the design to pants since children would often lift up the skirts of the Peko-chan dolls. Childhood mischief really got the better of Peko.  

     

    THE ICONIC DESIGN OF PEKO

    While Peko has always been known for her braided pigtails and her tongue sticking out of her mouth, her design has had a few changes over the years. At first, she had red overalls that became slimmer in the 1970s. In the 1990s, Fujiya decided to put her in a pink suspender skirt. Then, she got overalls again in 2007.  

     

    The placement of Peko-chans tongue wasn’t always the same either (it was drawn by multiple illustrators). Though Fujiya would usually place it to the left starting 1968, sometimes the tongue placement would change depending on Peko’s pose. 

     

    Eventually, Fujiya decided to standardize Peko’s design. In the 1980s the company decided to create the “Peko Manual.” The “Milky Peko,” meaning Peko-chan meant for the Milky brand, always had to have blue overalls and a yellow shirt. The Peko meant to represent Fujiya on the other hand wears red overalls and a yellow undershirt. 

     

    MEET POCO, PEKO-CHAN’S BOYFRIEND

    Yep, you heard that right! Peko-chan has a boyfriend. Created around the same time as Milky in 1951, Poco-chan is forever 7 years old. His name comes from the Westernized version of the Japanese Muromachi word “boko,” which means baby. Like Peko, this cutie stands at 100 centimeters in height. Poco doesn’t have his tongue out like Peko though. 

     

    Besides Poco, Peko also has a friend named Dog. This male dog’s tongue sticks out just like Peko-chan, though the direction varies depending on the pose. Unlike Peko-chan and Poco-chan, we don’t really get to see Dog that often in Fujiya’s marketing for Milky and its other products. 

     

    HOW POPULAR IS PEKO-CHAN? 

    She’s super-duper popular!  Japan loves having cute characters and mascots and apparently Peko-chan is just as iconic to the Japanese people as the Running Man from Glico. In November 2020, Japan did a character survey to see which company mascot was the most popular and Peko-chan took the number one spot! It beat out Shiroto Family (the father dog) for Softbank, Yanmaru’s Yanbo and Marbo, as well as NHK’s mascot Chico-chan. 

     

    WHAT MAKES MILKY AND PEKO SO ICONIC? 

    One of the biggest reasons that Peko-chan is so loved is that she’s a nostalgic character. Born in the 1950s, Peko is one of the oldest mascots in Japan! Not only that, but you also have to understand that Peko was the face of Milky, a culturaly significant candy. Created right after World War II when luxuries like milk and candy were scarce, Milky brought joy to the Japanese. As a result, Peko became a symbol of childlike happiness! 

     

    LET’S CELEBRATE PEKO’S 70TH ANNIVERSARY! 

    In the magical land of Japanese candy, Peko-chan remains 6 years old. However, in the real world, she’s actually pretty old. In 2021, Fujiya celebrated Peko’s 70th anniversary with tons of cool merch. There were tons of collectible items like figures, mugs, and home goods. 

     

    Not only that, but Fujiya teamed up together with multiple companies to give fans fun new items. There was a Peko watch from Seiko, a series of perfumes from Aqua Shabon, and a special figure from Be@rbrick. Fans were deleted by all the items they could get featuring their favorite cheerful girl. 

     

    GET SPORTY WITH MILKY!

    Japan loves baseball, and so does Milky’s poster girl, Peko-chan Over the years Milky has proven Peko’s love for the sport by teaming up with different Japanese baseball teams. In 2015, Fujiya collaborated with the Hiroshima Toyo Carps, the Hanshin Tigers, and the Yomiuri Giants. During the campaign, Fujiya sold special Milky boxes showcasing the baseball teams’ mascots together with Peko-Chan. The company also sold special drinks featuring Peko-chan during the teams’ games! 

     

    PEKO AND POKO ENTER THE SUMO ARENA 

    Baseball isn’t the only sport that loves Fujiya’s cheerful girl, Peko. In 2022, sumo wrestlers Ozeki Shodai and Maegashira Toyoyama from the Tokitsukaze stable wore Peko and Poko mawashi (sashes) during their ring entering ceremony. Shodai wore the Peko design while Toyoyama wore the Poko one. These designs were such a big hit that sumo fans cheered the two on saying they wanted to see the wrestlers win and “smile like Peko-chan.” 

     

    GET BUFF WITH PEKO-CHAN AT THE MILKY GYM!

    It looks like Peko’s gained a lot of muscle after eating tons of Milky! Fitness brand Be Legend did a collab with Fujiya in 2020 and produced a series of shirts featuring a very healthy Peko-chan. Fitness enthusiasts loved the design a whole lot! 

     

    The team received lots of great reviews. As a result, Be Legend together with Fujiya was able to come up with shakers featuring buff Peko as well as shakers featuring regular Peko. They also produced multiple flavors of Milky whey protein - Milky candy flavor, coffee latte flavor, strawberry flavor, and matcha flavor! 

     

    PEKO-CHAN IN ANIME

    Yes, that’s right! Peko-chan was an anime star. Well, sort of. From August 1965 to March 1969 (around four years) She made an appearance in the opening and ending themes of different anime series that appeared on the TBS channel sponsored by Fujiya. This includes the shows Obake no Q-Taro, Perman, and Kaibutsu-kun. One appearance that stands out a lot is the ending theme of Perman where Peko actually gets to sing a duet with Perman No. 1. 

     

    Besides her anime appearances during the 60s, Peko’s also gotten a few fun anime collabs over the years. In 2023, Peko turned into a rabbit while teamed up together with virtual anime artist Usada Pekora. A year after that, she also got to work together with One Piece. Both collaborations resulted in a ton of fun new merch and limited-edition Milky packs that fans could collect! 

     

    LET'S PLAY WITH PEKO-CHAN!

    Peko-chan might be busy as the star of Fujiya and Milky, but that doesn’t mean she can’t make time to play! Peko has a few puzzle games Japanese candy fans can try out like Pekopop: Match 3 Puzzle,  Milk Match: Peko-chan Puzzle Game, and Peko-chan Doki-Doki. These games are a bit similar to the popular puzzle app, Candy Crush, but this time with Peko-chan and Milky as the central design. 

     

    Besides her puzzle games, Peko also has a few gaming collabs. Back in 2019, the popular SNS app LINE decided to team up together with Peko-chan and place her in the cooking game, LINE Chef. As a result of the collaboration between them, LINE users could get fun Peko-chan LINE stamps. The team-up was so successful that LINE continued to have Peko in its other games like Line Bubble 2 and Line Pokopong Town. 

     

    MILKY GETS A KAWAII TWIST

    With her big bright smile and her cute ribbon pigtail hairstyle, there’s no doubt that Peko can also make a good kawaii character. That’s why it should come as no surprise that kawaii megagiant Sanrio didn't hesitate to collaborate together with Peko and Milky. During the collab campaigns, Fujiya was able  to create fun Milky chocolate treats showcasing Peko and Sanrio characters like Pompompurin, My Melody, Cinnamoroll, and Hello Kitty

     

    This team-up with Sanrio also produced special merchandise like fun Milky x Sanrio-themed plushies, bags, and pouches. During a special Hello Kitty x Peko campaign, fans were also able to get special phone filters together with a slew of home goods featuring the two iconic characters. 

     

    JPOP STARS TRY TO BE LIKE PEKO! 

    Everyone wants to look like Milky's poster child, even big names in the Jpop industry. During Halloween in 2023, Jpop group Ideal Peco decided to dress up as the cutesy candy icon, Peko-chan. All seven members dressed up in cute Peko-inspired outfits and got ready for a special Halloween photoshoot. It was absolutely adorable! 

     

    PEKO-CHAN BECOMES A MILKY RAPPER 

    Jpop isn’t the only musical genre that Peko-chan has dabbled in. In 2023, Milky had a fun team-up with Japanese rapper KT-chan. The duo came up with a bright and cheerful rap song where KT-chan sings and raps while Peko does the DJ-ing on the turntable. This collab also resulted in fun commercials for Milky as well as super cute merch for Peko fans to collect. 

     

    STAYING PRETTY WITH MILKY AND PEKO

    Milky is the flavor of youth. Want to stay forever young like Milky's Peko-chan? Well, with Peko’s help, there are a lot of ways to stay beautiful. Quite a number of Japanese beauty companies have worked together with Peko-chan over the years. That includes big Japanese names like Holika Holika, Shu Uemura, Popteen 5, and more.

     

    DRESS IN RETRO MILKY FASHION

    You can’t go wrong with dressing up in retro fashion in Japan! Prints of iconic characters like Peko are always in style. Lucky for Japanese candy lovers, Fujiya has tons of Peko and Milky apparel. From jackets to shirts to pajamas - Peko has a lot of great clothes to wear. There's even a line of lingerie based on Peko-chan and Milky! 

     

    That’s right! In 2023, lingerie company Peach John collaborated together with Milky to release a line of classy, retro underwear and pajamas. Don’t worry though, the pieces weren’t too sexy. They were just as cute and understated as Peko herself. 

     

    PEKO-CHAN DOLLS AND FIGURES

    It really should come as no surprise that there are tons of Peko-chan dolls and figures in the market. After all, Fujiya started out with their own Peko-chan dolls outside of their stores and they sell specialty Peko dolls in their shops. Some of the most notable Peko-chan dolls come from Pullip and from Blythe’s Dear Darling collection. Blythe is known for its beautiful figures and the Dear Darling series is no exception. 

     

    Besides the Blythe doll, Peko-chan also has her own Nendoroid figure from the Good Smile company. Not only can you pose it and dress it up, but you can also deck it out with accessories. Collectible designer toy brand Be@rbrick also has a ton of Peko figures. Some have the regular Peko-chan design, others are decked out as lucky cats, while others yet are dressed as Daruma dolls. 

     

    PEKO-CHAN GETS HER OWN EXHIBITION! 

    Celebrating Peko-chan’s contribution to Japanese culture, fifteen different artists decided to hold a special exhibition for the Fujiya poster child in 2015. Held in the Hiratsuka Museum of Art back in 2015, the art exhibit showcased the artist’s interpretation of Peko. It also featured some rare Peko-chan dolls as well as Milky items. 

     

    Six years after the exhibit, Peko got another art showcase, this time at the Yokohama Doll Museum. The doll exhibit displayed Peko-chan dolls that were installed in Fujiya storefronts, head-bobbing Peko-chan dolls, Peko-chan Years dolls, and a ton of Milky-related items. It was like walking back in time. 

     

    FIND HAPPINESS AT THE  MILKY HOTEL

    Themed rooms are a big deal in Japan. A lot of major mascot characters like Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, Rilakkuma, and the Sumikko Gurashi all have their own hotel rooms all around the country. Being one of the most iconic mascots for one of the biggest candy brands in Japan, it stands to reason that Peko has her own themed room too! 

     

    For a limited time in 2021, Hoshino Resorts offered up a new accommodation plan called the Milky Sweet Room Stay. Guests can decide between the “Sweet and Sweet” room and the “Milky Sweet Room.” Not only do you get rooms with Milky and Peko-chan designs, but you also get a “Milky Snack Set,” sweet -smelling “Milky Bath Salts,” and the “Peko-chan Best Friend Coordination Set” which allows you to dress up as Peko and take photos in the room. 

     

    LET’S VISIT THE PEKO-CHAN PARK!

    It might sound a bit odd, but Peko-chan actually has her own park in the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan. Called the Peko-chan Park Hadano, this public space has fun Peko and Poko attractions as well as photo spots. Why does Peko-chan have a park you ask? Well, that’s because Fujiya’s tasty cookies Country Ma'am are manufactured at the Fujiya Hadano Factory. Since Fujiya has deep ties to Hadano, the city decided to add Peko and Poko to the park.  

     

    PEKO-CHAN’S GARDEN PARTY

    It seems like Peko is pretty fond of nature because in 2021 Fujiya’s cheerful poster girl got her very own garden party from the Kana Garden in Hiratsuka. The garden center was celebrating its 10 anniversary at the same time Peko-chan was celebrating her 70th year, so the two decided to collaborate with one another. Peko displays were placed around Kana Garden while special merch was sold around the site. It was a great time to bring kids to stroll around the park.

     

    PEKO-CHAN GETS COOKING 

    Like we mentioned earlier, Peko-chan isn’t just the face of Milky. It’s the face of Fujiya too. That’s why when the company decided to create its own restaurant in Shibuya and Ginza, Peko became the poster girl for the place. Not only does the Fujiya restaurant showcase fun Peko-chan interiors, but they also sell cute merch that can’t be found anywhere else. Plus, you can also get a big Peko-chan cake when you celebrate your birthday at the restaurant! 

     

    That’s not all. Peko-chan also has a shared restaurant chain with another popular Japanese character, Anpanman! Found in Sendai, Yokohama, Fukuoka, and Kobe, these family restaurants are popular places to bring kids who love Anpanman and Peko. They have a pretty great Anpanman and Peko-themed menu for parents and children alike! 

     

    HAVE TEA TOGETHER WITH MILKY PASTRIES

    Before it developed candies like Milky, in the 1910s when it was first established Fujiya was originally a Western confectionery store. It sold tasty cakes, cream puffs, and other Western-style pastries. Though its focus has shifted towards candies and cookies over the years, Fujiya still has a few shops that sell confections centered around Milky and Peko. One is Fujiya Ginza which has long since been selling pastries in Tajimi City. It has so many different sweets on display - from Milky cake rolls, whole cakes, sliced cakes, puddings, and jellies.

     

    LET’S GET PEKOLICIOUS!

    In 2023, Fujiya decided to create a new pastry shop brand focused on Peko-chan called Pekolicious. It sells a lot of Peko-centered pastries and cakes. Pekolicious can be found at the Abeno Harukas Kintetsu department store. Its signature product is “Peko-chan’s Hoppe Premium.” 

     

    "The Hoppe Premium" is mini sponge cake that’s  the evolved version of the classic “Peko-chan’s Hoppe” which Fujiya has been selling in its cake shops for years! It has many different flavors for fans to try. These cakes are always made fresh in the store, that way fans get the best-tasting Peko cake.

     

    HAVE A TASTE OF MILKY AT MCDONALDS

    In 2021, Fujiya decided to bring the delicious taste of Milky to McDonald customers with a fun Peko-chan collab. Though it was a limited-time campaign, Peko’s fans in Japan got to enjoy two different Milky treats. The first was the “McShake Milky” with the signature creaminess of Milky candy. Meanwhile, the second was the “Waffle Cone Strawberry Milky” topped with strawberry chocolate bits. 

     

    FIND PEKO-CHAN IN THE KONBINI

    Konbini or Japanese convenience stores are a big part of Japanese culture. You can find a lot of strange and interesting things in the konbini. Hoping to create something special for the konbini, Fujiya decided to work together with 7-Eleven to create special Milky Peko-chan ice cream bars. They can only be found in 711 stores around Japan. These bars are super duper creamy! 

     

    WHERE CAN I BUY MILKY & PEKO-CHAN GOODIES? 

    Milky and Peko are household names in Japan. That’s why you can find tons of Milky products all around the country. From groceries to department stores, Milky candies can be found nearly everywhere. Fujiya also has specialty Peko Stores where you can find tons of cute items featuring Peko-chan. 

     

    One of the most prominent Peko shops though is the one that Fujiya opened in 2022 called Peko-Chan’s House. Located in Ginza, the premiere upmarket spot in Tokyo, this specialty shop has special Peko and Milky products that can’t be found anywhere else in Japan. Fans line up outside the shop almost every day! 

     

    Worried that you can’t book a ticket to Japan? That’s no problem. You can also find Peko and Milky merch online. Take time to check out our collection here in Japan Candy Store. We’ve got all sorts of Milky snacks for you to add to your stash of treats at home. There's also a ton of Peko goodies for you to choose from too! From Peko-chan pouches, Peko-chan socks, to Peko-chan gift items. Go wild and add everything to your cart! 

     

    Phew, there you have it! Today we’ve learned about all about the nostalgic Japanese treat Milky and its cute poster girl, Peko-chan. Symbols of childlike happiness and joy, both Milky and Peko deserve a place in Japan's hall of fame. One for Japanese candies, and one for cute mascots. 

     

    What about you? What do you think of Milky and Peko? Have you ever tried of Milky before? What kind of flavor would you like to try? Would you like to start collecting Peko-chan goodies! Don't be shy and let us know in the comment section below. 

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