The plot thickens: A third lover appears

In a previous post (here), I wrote about a trademark dispute between the makers of “White Lover” cookies and “Funny Lover” cookies. Now there’s a “Black Lover” on the scene:

White Lovers (Shiroi Koibito) are cookies made by Hokkaido-based Ishiya Co. Funny Lovers (Omoshiroi Koibito) are cookies made by Osaka-based Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. And Black Lovers (Kuroi Koibito) are little bars of chocolate-covered corn made by Hokkaido-based Sapporo Gourmet Foods.

The design on the Black Lover box features the silhouettes of a man and a woman beneath and old-fashioned streetlamp with a block of text hovering above them. I hoped the text would describe some classic old love story, but here’s how I’d translate what it really says: “Grains of love. These are the jewels of a vast land — sweet and crispy snacks of corn and Asahikawa-grown black beans coated in chocolate to fascinate lovers.”

I brought my Black Lovers to the office, ate one, and shared the rest with coworkers — one of whom remarked on their similarity to a “Corn Chocolate” product made by another Hokkaido-based confectioner called Hori. So, in the name of research, I dropped by the Hokkaido antenna shop in Yurakucho, Tokyo, to buy some of those:

They certainly look similar. But to my palate, Corn Chocolate is tastier Black Lovers. The Hori product has a more disctinct corn taste — especially the white chocolate variety, which has a milder-flavored coating.

Considering that Ishiya decided to fight Yoshimoto Kogyou over the Funny Lovers, I wonder what is going on in Hokkaido right now among Ishiya, Hori, and Sapporo Gourmet Foods over the Black Lovers.

Is it sweet love or bitter  hate?

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