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Calpico's Origin and History



Japanese product (left) and American product (right)


Did you know that Calpico is a different name than the original Japanese name? - The name in Japan is Calpis and it is still sold under the same name, so if you were to go to Japan and talk about Calpico, Japanese people would not understand unless you say Calpis. Why is the name different in Japan and the U.S.? You may have already noticed that if you say Calpis in English, it sounds like cowpiss, which is why they sell it under the name Calpico. This product is sold in more than 30 countries, including North America and Asia, but is sold as Calpico only in the United States, Canada, and Indonesia, three countries where English is commonly used. But how did it get the name Calpis in the first place? - The origin of the name is derived from "cal" for calcium and "pis" for sarpis, a Sanskrit word meaning the best taste. The name was chosen after consulting with a famous Japanese musician Kosaku Yamada (1886 - 1965) and Sanskrit language expert Kaikyoku Watanabe (1872 - 1933). Just by looking at the ages in which these two men lived, you can get a sense of the history of Calpis, but the history goes back even more. Kaiun Mishima (1878 - 1974), the creator of Calpis, visited Inner Mongolia in 1908 on business as a general merchant. When he became ill due to fatigue from the long journey, local nomads recommended him to try lactic fermenting beverage called kumis, which was made by fermenting livestock milk with lactic acid bacteria. After drinking it every day, his health recovered completely, and he realized the power of lactic fermenting beverage. The process was brought back to Japan and improved into Calpis. On July 7, 1919, Calpis was launched as Japan's first lactic acid beverage; in 2019, Calpis celebrated its 100th anniversary. The polka-dot pattern on the packaging was designed to resemble the Milky Way, as Calpis was born on Tanabata (the Star Festival). At first, it was a plain white dot on a blue background, and in 1949, the colors were reversed, and it became blue polka dots on a white background like what you still see on every packaging (in different colors depending on the flavors today) on both Calpis and Calpico. We believe that this tasty and healthy product will continue to make history.


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There is a lot of food items, housewares, stationery, and gifts available at the store and our online store, Maido! Kairashi Shop, where you can place your order for shipping or store pickup! Happy shopping. :)


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