For the second year in a row, this chain of Kyoto butcher shops is offering a bittersweet deal to those whose dreams were dashed.
Yamamuraya is a local chain of meat supermarkets consisting of five locations in Kyoto Prefecture and one location in Shiga Prefecture. The company is known not only for their quality cuts of meat, but also for their fun approaches to marketing, which include a staff member cosplaying as Woody from Toy Story and their very own driveable “cow-car”:
やまむらや (@yamamuraya) July 24, 2016
▼ Yes, we’ll take whatever the heck that is!
やまむらや (@yamamuraya) September 20, 2016
Late last week, Yamamuraya announced that they would revive a special campaign from last year in which students who “fail” their entrance exams can receive a present of a flat iron steak (also known as butlers’ steak or oyster blade steak) if they bring a hard-copy letter of rejection to one of the shops between March 13 and 30. Each steak weighs approximately 120 grams and is typically valued at 626 yen (US$5.50). Participants can receive one steak for each rejection letter they bring. A market staff member will also shred any letters on the spot while praying for the student’s future happiness.
This campaign may make more sense if placed in context. The Japanese academic and fiscal year runs from early April through March. Right about now, Japanese junior high school and high school students are reaching the climax of “exam season hell,” during which they must take a series of brutal entrance exams if they wish to continue on with higher education (yes, students must apply to high schools as well). In a very short time, students who pass their exams and are accepted into high schools and universities will be gearing up for the start of their new lives. For many who did not do so well, however, their immediate future will likely be full of sleepless nights as they agonize over the next steps to take. In Japan, newly matriculated students almost exclusively begin their studies in April, so if an applicant misses this critical window, he or she will oftentimes be forced to wait an entire year until having another chance.
Therefore, Yamamuraya’s steak campaign is their little way of encouraging those who did not perform as well as hoped to keep moving forward. The company reports that 190 people came to claim a free steak during last year’s campaign, including one particular “man of courage” who received 12 rejection notices. While we hope that this year’s campaign is a success, we also hope that not too many students show up–meaning they successfully got into their dream schools!