Local Japanese candy stores get ready for a bittersweet goodbye.

One of the hallmarks of vintage Japanese culture is the dagashiya or local candy store. Paneled in wood and metal, typically run by an elderly community member, and with shelves stocked with all kinds of delicious, cheaply priced treats, the local candy store is a source of nostalgia for adults, after-school respite for children, and once in awhile, controversy.

Regardless of their status and role in their respective communities, small-time local candy stores nationwide will soon be losing a trademark sweet: Amehama candy drops.

▼ Some candy wholesalers such as this one, located in Okayama, announced online the imminent departure of the 111-year-old candy maker.

Established in 1910 near the end of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Amehama Seika is a confectionery company for small-time candy stores based in Aichi prefecture. While the company produces an assortment of delightful sweets, they are most famous for their ten-yen (US$0.095) hard candy drops.

▼ Typically packaged in transparent containers, Amehama drops come in the following flavors: cola, cider, grape, coffee, and Hokkaido milk.

Citing growing operational costs, the deterioration of its factory machines, and the overall economic burden of COVID-19, the company has declared its closure and will be shuttering its operations by April 2020. Netizens gathered online to mourn the loss of the iconic candy giant:

“For real?”
“Another one lost…”
“I remember growing up and buying a lot of these from the local candy store… feels a little lonesome.”
“These are such a necessity for me! I even bought some the other day…”

While it’s a sad day for traditional Japanese candy shops and sweet lovers alike, luckily the drops will still be in production until the latter half of February. For the time being, feel free to hit up your local candy shop and soak up those sweet, sweet memories.

Source: Amehama via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Amehama
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