Hiroshima's Hippo Car, Dispensing Sweets and Dispersing Sadness

Sweet hope in the shadow of Hiroshima's Atomic DomeSweet hope in the shadow of Hiroshima's Atomic Dome
It has to be the most incongruous photo you've ever seen. In the background, Hiroshima's iconic "Atomic Dome" which marks Ground Zero of the first atomic bomb dropped in anger. Cruising along the dusty road in front, circa late 1946: a Kabaya candy company Hippo sound & samples truck.

One might be forgiven for thinking the ludicrous truck is some bizarre mutant spawned by nuclear radiation, but in actual fact sound trucks like this one really did promote Kabaya (translated company website here) caramels in those difficult post-war years... and still do today!


How sweet it is: "Kaba" car calls for caramelsHow sweet it is: "Kaba" car calls for caramels
"Kaba" means Hippo in Japanese and "Kabaya" translates to Hippo Store, which explains the company's choice of mascot. They're also famed for introducing a weird hippo-crow to push their wares in a long-running series of Japanese TV commercial ads.

As for the sleek, Ferrari-red sound truck that now promotes Kabaya's candy, it's is as different from its dreary gray ancestor as can be, yet it speaks of Japan's nostalgia for a simpler time full of hope for a better, sweeter future. (via 3yen)

Aug 18, 2008
by M Dee Dubroff
M Dee Dubroff's picture

Hippo car


Bittersweet, indeed.

Very touching post, Steve.

Yours in Words,

M Dee Dubroff

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