Kirin Ramen gets new name amid trademark battle with beer giant

Kyodo

Noodle-maker Ogasawara Seifun said Wednesday it has picked a new name for its mainstay ramen product, Kirin Ramen, amid an ongoing trademark battle with major brewer Kirin Co.

The ramen, styled by the company based in Hekinan, Aichi Prefecture, as “local soul food every single resident is aware of,” will now be called Kirimaru Ramen due to “various reasons,” the company said.

In a online poll in July to choose the product’s new name, Kirimaru garnered the largest number of votes at 6,670, followed by Ogasawara at 2,594 votes and Hekinan at 1,913 votes, the company said.

“Now we can sell the product feeling refreshed,” a company official said.

According to the noodle-maker, Kirin Ramen was launched in the local area in 1965 and entered the national market in 2010, with its “retro package design” — a red giraffe with a black bow tie in front of a yellow background — combined with its “nostalgic taste” proving popular among fans.

Ogasawara Seifun originally named the product Kirin Ramen after the Japanese word for giraffe in the hope that it would become a longtime seller, symbolized by the animal’s long neck.

According to beverage-maker Kirin, the animal found on their beer labels is not a giraffe but a mythical Chinese creature said to appear before an auspicious event.