Garigari kun (ガリガリ君)

    If you are living in Japan, have you ever noticed that everytime when you go shopping in convenience stores or supermarket, you might come across this animation character called Garigari kun? So who is this character and why it is so popular in Japan? Today, we are going to find out about this cute Japanese animation character!

    What is “Garigari kun”?

    Garigari-kun (ガリガリ君, literally “Mr. Crunchy“) is the name of an ice pop brand and its mastcot, manufactured and sold by Akagi Nyugyo based in Fukaya. This is Akagi Nyugyo’s signature product, and as its name suggests, it has the crunchy texture of crushed ice and a refreshing taste. Usually you can find GariGari-kun in soda flavor.

    It is a long-selling product that is extremely popular with both children and adults. Thanks to the effects of the familiar TV commercial “Garigari-kun!”, Garigari-kun, now a nationally popular ice cream. It has celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2021.

    About GariGari-kun character

    Garigari-kun is a naughty elementary school boy. It is characterized by a large mouth on the head. It has appeared in the package since the product was launched in 1981.

    The big mouth expresses a cheerful appearance of deliciously chewing ice cream, and this is common to my sister Gariko. Garigari’s sister Gariko first appeared in the package of autumn and winter products in 2006.

    The popsicles handled by the two are divided into things such as Garigari-kun, a popsicle with shaved ice, and Gariko-chan, an ice candy characterized by a smooth texture with sherbet-like ice cream.


    The birth of a naughty elementary school student “Garigari-kun”

    The reason why the product “Garigari-kun” was born was that Akagi Dairy’s hit product “Akagi Shigure” released in 1964 was arranged and released so that children can eat it with one hand while playing.

    This reflects the background of the era when children often played outside in 1981. Aiming for a product that blended into the life scene at that time, it became the current form, which is hard to melt by coating shaved ice with popsicles and the stick can not come out.

    The godparent of the product name is Hideki Inoue, the chairman of the board of directors who was the managing director at the time. At first, it was planned to be only the onomatopoeia “garigari” that represents the texture of shaved ice, but in that case, I can only convey the texture. ” I added “you” from the thought of “to make customers feel closer and loved” and became “Garigari-kun”. And at the same time as the naming of the product, it also led to the birth of a character called “Garigari-kun”.

    Renew the negative impression! 

    Garigari-kun’s character design currently on sale is the second generation that has been renewed. Here is the first character design of Garigari-kun.

    Old package of Garigari-kun
    出典: gyutte

    The impression was quite different from the second generation, and the setting at this time was “third grade of junior high school”.

    As mentioned above, Garigari-kun was a product developed so that children who play outside could eat ice cream with one hand. Therefore, the character design also had a strong element of “the brat general” rather than the image of “a naughty boy”.

    In the 1990s, the outline of the character became thicker and the black eyes of the eyes became larger. In addition, the arm that held the fist strongly changed to a gesture such as a thumbs up sign, and the “strength” of the kid general became much softer.

    And it was a customer survey conducted in 1999 that triggered a major change in character design to the current one. When investigating “What should I do to be loved by customers more?”, women received negative opinions about the character, such as “sweat is dirty, gums are disgusting, and a country-smelling boy”.

    When it first appeared, it was designed in CG. While leaving “Genki, Fun, Igaguri Head” which is the uniqueness of Garigari-kun from the beginning of the release, the character was completely renewed and came to the familiar character design that is currently on sale.

    GariGari-kun ice cream’s flavors


    出典: Akagi 公式サイト

    This is the famous GariGari-kun signature flavor that has won the hearts of many in Japan. It’s a popsicle that combines the refreshing taste of soda ice cream with the unique crunchiness of soda shaved ice. Whether you’re walking through the lively streets or enjoying a sunny day outdoors, this delightful treat is a must-try for those seeking a simple yet satisfying frozen dessert experience.


    出典: Akagi 公式サイト

    A cola-flavored ice cream combined with cola shaved ice. This delightful frozen treat is popular for its distinctively crunchy texture, adding an extra element of enjoyment to each bite. Whether you’re craving a refreshing treat on a hot day or looking for a unique twist on a classic flavor, this cola popsicle with its characteristic crunch is a must-try for anyone seeking a delicious and refreshing frozen dessert experience.


    出典: Akagi 公式サイト

    Introducing a unique popsicle featuring grapefruit ice cream and grapefruit shaved ice, known for its distinctively crunchy texture. This refreshing frozen treat offers a delightful combination of citrus flavors, making it a must-try for grapefruit lovers.

    White Peach (For adults version)

    出典: Akagi 公式サイト

    A truly delightful popsicle made with 33% juicy white peach juice extracted from whole white peaches, including their skin. This exquisite frozen treat captures the essence of fresh, succulent white peaches, ensuring a burst of fruity goodness in every bite. Savor the natural sweetness and enjoy the unique flavor profile derived from the whole fruit, as this popsicle promises a refreshing and indulgent experience that will leave you craving more.

    Onsen Manjuu

    Onsen Manjuu Flavor

    If you’re seeking a new and unique ice cream flavor experience, look no further than this popsicle. With its combination of sweet bean paste filling and sponge dice, it offers a delightful texture reminiscent of the beloved onsen manju confection. Indulge in this innovative frozen treat and savor the enticing flavors that will surely captivate your taste buds.

    Melon Pan

    Melon Pan Flavor

    “Gari Gari-kun Rich Melon Pan Flavor” is the first-ever bread-flavored popsicle. It debuted as a new addition following the success of the “shocking trilogy” flavors of Corn Potage, Stew, and Napolitan. Released as a limited edition in November 2016 and later revived in September 2017, it combines a melon pan-flavored candy blend with roasted butter and melon pan skin (cookie) to recreate the delightful aroma of freshly baked melon pan. The result is a unique ice candy with a distinctive texture that adds a unique touch to the indulgent experience.

    Kuromitsu Kinako Mochi

    Kuromitsu Kinako Mochi

    Another addition to the “Gari Gari-kun Rich” series is the “Gari Gari-kun Rich Kuromitsu Kinako Mochi,” inspired by the classic souvenir from Yamanashi, “Kikyō Shingen Mochi,” which features a sweet black syrup called kuromitsu. To recreate the flavor of the black syrup, they use black sugar, known for its rich and complex taste. This ice candy combines the flavors of kinako (roasted soybean flour) and mochi, while also adding a unique texture by incorporating shaved ice.


    Cheesecake Flavor

    Joining the lineup as a new flavor for the summer of 2017 is “Gari Gari-kun Rich Rare Cheesecake.” This ice candy aims to maximize the deliciousness of a dessert by finely crushing the ice to achieve a smooth texture. It incorporates two types of cream cheese, cream cheese and mascarpone, resulting in a rich and creamy taste. The addition of lemon cheesecake provides a refreshing and tangy accent, allowing for a delightful flavor experience until the very last bite.

    Green Smoothies

    Green Smoothies

    The “Gari Gari-kun Rich” series showcased limited edition flavors that skillfully incorporated vegetables. One of these flavors drew inspiration from the popular green smoothie, which gained traction among women. The creators of the ice candy aspired to freeze the very essence of the smoothie. They combined a total of 10 vegetables including kale, celery, parsley, watercress, cabbage, radish, spinach, trefoil, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach), and carrot. To recreate the invigorating taste of a drinkable smoothie, they also added apple, lemon, and kiwi. With its convenient one-handed format, this frozen treat may have become a dependable companion for busy mornings.

    Click here to see all products.

    The Secrets Behind Garigari kun’s Success

    Engaging Packaging and Branding

    Garigari-kun’s packaging design is instantly recognizable, featuring a vibrant and playful aesthetic that appeals to both children and adults. The use of bold colors, eye-catching illustrations, and the iconic Garigari-kun character creates a strong brand identity that resonates with consumers. However, the brand had to address initial feedback from female consumers who found the large character illustrations on the packaging embarrassing. This led to the development of the “Adult Garigari-kun Series,” which featured a smaller Garigari-kun image on the packaging, addressing the concerns and preferences of the target demographic.

    Targeted Advertising Campaigns

    Garigari-kun has employed targeted advertising campaigns to reach specific consumer segments. By leveraging various media channels such as television, social media, and outdoor advertisements, Garigari-kun has effectively captured the attention of its target audience. The advertisements often highlight the unique flavors and refreshing qualities of Garigari-kun, creating a strong desire to try the product.

    Collaboration with Popular Characters and Influencers

    To further expand its reach and appeal, Garigari-kun has collaborated with popular characters and influencers. These collaborations help Garigari-kun tap into existing fan bases and attract new customers. By featuring beloved characters or partnering with influential individuals who resonate with the target audience, Garigari-kun creates a sense of connection and excitement, driving interest and sales.

    Limited Edition and Seasonal Offerings

    Garigari-kun keeps consumers engaged and eagerly anticipating new releases through limited edition and seasonal offerings. By introducing special flavors and variations for specific occasions or seasons, Garigari-kun creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency among consumers. These limited-time offerings generate buzz, encourage repeat purchases, and keep the brand relevant and exciting.

    Interactive and Engaging Social Media Presence

    Garigari-kun’s active presence on social media platforms has been instrumental in building a strong and engaged community. Through creative and interactive content, including contests, polls, and user-generated content campaigns, Garigari-kun encourages consumer participation and fosters a sense of belonging. This social media engagement helps create loyal brand advocates who actively promote Garigari-kun to their own networks.

    Where to buy Garigari-kun icecream?

    Opened Garigari kun

    As we mention above, this product of ice cream has now become a symbol of Japan. Therefore, you can find it anywhere near your house. You can buy it at convenience stores nationwide such as 7-Eleven and Lawson.

    Supermarkets such as Summit also provide this products. It can also be purchased at drugstores that handle food, such as Welcia. You can also buy it at traditional candy stores.


    With over 400 million units sold annually, “Garigari-kun” by Akagi Dairy Products is the best-selling popsicle in Japan. The greatest strength of a food brand’s character is its unparalleled name recognition, and a number of marketing strategies that leverage this strength make a strong brand even stronger. With this cute and naughty character, Garigari-kun can be considered as a cultural recognition of Japan. If you have a chance to visit Japan, please take this chance and try this popsicle to enjoy the feeling of the local!

    If you like Japanese sweets, we also recommend some dishes below!

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