Business

Brave Blossoms jerseys and other goods prove popular as Japan hosts World Cup

JIJI

Jerseys and other items related to the Japanese national team for the 2019 Rugby World Cup have been flying off the shelves due to the Brave Blossoms’ impressive run in the tournament.

The team’s jerseys were almost sold out, with many of some 20 stores operated across Japan by Canterbury of New Zealand Japan Inc. seeing empty shelves.

The Tokyo-based company, which makes and sells Brave Blossoms jerseys, prepared 200,000 units, about 15 times the usual level, for the World Cup. But about 95 percent of them have already been sold, leaving only a handful of jerseys for kids and in size XXL available.

Demand for the jerseys is strong among visitors to Japan, who buy them as souvenirs, as well as domestic fans.

“We are crying in joy,” said an official of Goldwin Inc., the parent of Canterbury, while offering an apology to customers who could not get the jerseys. Canterbury is rushing to increase production.

More than 100 titles related to rugby have been on the shelves at a Kinokuniya Co. bookstore in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. Rulebooks sold well after the World Cup kicked off on Sept. 20, a store worker said. As Japan racked up victories, an increasing number of customers have been bulk-buying books focusing on each player, according to the worker.

Such customers are mainly men in their 40s to 50s, who enjoyed the 1980s-90s television drama series “School Wars,” which featured high school students playing rugby.

Sales of beer have also been strong, as it became a staple drink for Japanese when watching rugby games.

Kirin Brewery Co. expects beer sales to more than double during the six-week World Cup period from the year before. The Kirin Holdings Co. unit makes and sells Heineken beer in Japan on behalf of the Dutch brewer, the tournament’s official beer sponsor.

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