Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Hariyama Honten advertisement

Something gives me the idea that the folks at the Harimaya Honten rice cracker company have a problem with nuclear power. That something is the company's homepage. While most food businesses try to use the information highway as a means for enticing consumers to buy their products with mouthwatering pictures that send ordinary human beings wild with desire, Harimaya Honten has taken a different route. Go to Harimaya's homepage (the main page) and you won't find even a crumb pictured on it. There's just no room. It seems the company has decided to devote an overwhelming amount of its web space to spreading an anti-nuclear power message (English speakers can type the URL into Google Translate to get a rough idea of that message). That's not the only unique business approach Harimaya Honten has taken in recent years. The company also operates a couple of free cafes in the Tokyo area where visitors can nibble on their tasty products and wash them down with a choice of either tea or coffee all gratis. It all sounds absolutely crackers from a business point of view. Then again Harimaya Honten has been in business for over a century, it probably knows  a thing or two about sustainability.

You can find pictures of Hariyama Honten's products somewhere on its webpage but you have to dig through a mountain of messages on peace,environmentalism and more. People say Hariyama's rice crackers are as good as gold. Despite the fact they give them away for free at some  locations, when it comes to getting a glimpse of those golden brown gems on the net, they make you work for it.

Appearing at the top of Hariyama's list of frequently asked questions is this: "Is it true that your company leans toward the right wing?" The answer is a resounding "no."

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