Sakuma’s Drops, the candy that appeared in Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies, will be discontinued as its manufacturer Sakumaseika announced that the company is going out of business. The candy started production in 1908, which was then halted during World War II due to sugar shortages. They resumed production after the war.
A report from Reuters notes that Sakumaseika cited rising production costs, a labor shortage and a drop in sales as reasons to go out of business. The fate of its 100 or so employees remains uncertain. Despite the ongoing global economic crisis, Sakumaseika has stated that it never raised its prices out of fear of losing customers. This has resulted in a 150 million yen net loss in the 2021 financial year.
For readers outside of Japan, the name might sound familiar. Sakuma’s Drops candy has been immortalized in the Grave of the Fireflies movie, as it was one of the few prized possessions owned by the Yokokawa siblings. In the film, the younger sister Setsuko Yokokawa can be seen frequently eating Sakuma’s Drops and offering her brother Seita Yokokawa some.
Grave of the Fireflies was directed by Isao Takahata, who also wrote the screenplay. It was based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka and animated by Ghibli. It was released by Toho in April 1988 and earned around ¥1.7 billion in its box office release. It is considered one of Studio Ghibli’s critically-acclaimed works, and one of the best war films of all time.
© Studio Ghibli/Toho