Although a popular drink around Asia, it can be difficult to turn the younger generation on to the simple pleasures of tea. In order to compete with the likes of colas and energy drinks, Bangkok tea makers have come up with Chakuza.
Chakuza combines the nutrition and refreshment of tea (“cha” in Japanese) with the rugged attitude and danger of organized crime (“yakuza” in Japanese). And according to a clerk at a Bangkok 7-11, it’s selling really well.
Chakuza is available in three carbonated flavors each represented with a different yakuza soldier to fit your own unique personality.
First, the original green tea flavor can is designed with Origi. He may not look tough with his long hippie hair, but by the way he’s waving that bat he’s probably one of those Joe Pesci types who’s small but will stab you in the neck with a pen when you’re not looking. Then there’s Darku, looking hardcore on the black-tea-with-lemon can and sporting his studded leather jacket and gold chain. Finally, the lemon honey tea features Hachi, with his yellow jacket and club-kid headphones… and a… cute… smile… What the hell is this?!
Whoever designed these cans apparently doesn’t have a good grasp on who the yakuza actually are. Sure they’re way over in Thailand, but they must have seen at least one of the hundreds of thousands of movies and TV shows featuring yakuza type characters.
Not only that, but we can’t help but question how this design concept got through marketing. I mean, at no time did one single employee speak up and say, “umm, excuse me, but I think you are confusing one of the most powerful crime syndicates in the world with some naughty boys that my little sister could beat up?!”
On the other hand, I guess I would feel more comfortable knowing that the company who makes my tea isn’t intimately knowledgeable about the criminal underworld. Right from the get-go these Thai tea producers were sailing into bizarre waters with their bold idea of yakuza themed teas. Just look at the commercial that shows Darku and Hachi (wearing heavy make-up) doing what all yakuza are infamous for – playing guitar hero at the local arcade.
[ Read in Japanese ]