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Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

Jello shots hit Japan–finally!


Feb 15, 2010

Almost any American who went to a few parties during their university days will be slightly familiar with the ubiquitous Jello shot, and Wikipedia tells me they exist in a few Commonwealth nations too, albeit under a different name. During my school days, I remember preparing endless trays of these for Japanese exchange students, most of whom remarked with slurred words what an amazing creation they were.

Hopefully they’ve got a few fond memories of the drink. But a new product known as “Tequila Balls,” born in Kabukicho and rising in popularity at Tokyo’s clubs and karaoke boxes, will likely drum up a few twinges of regret that they didn’t think of commercializing them first.

What are Tequila Balls?

According to Shukan Bunshun, which reported on the product in January, Tequila Balls are the brainchild of an ex-host working at Kabukicho bar “NASUKA.” Although they look suspiciously like the jelly candies that hit the news a few years ago both in Japan and abroad after a series of choking accidents, these little bombs are 20% alcohol and contain 1/3 of a shot glass worth of tequila each. Website J-cast quotes the marketing manager as saying, “These were created for men who are looking to get women drunk with something that’s stylish and easy to drink.”

The venue unleashed their creation in 2008, and the balls were met with rave reviews from what is arguably a bar in Kabukicho’s largest clientele: hosts and hostesses. Things stayed relatively local until a NASUKA regular–who happened to be a model for the massively popular cabaret-style fashion magazine, Koakuma Ageha–posted on her blog about the party goodies. Calls suddenly started flooding in from around the country.

Momoka Eri and Tequila Balls

NASUKA had been creating Tequila Balls themselves and selling them to local cabaret and host clubs, wrote Shukan Bunshun. With the attention that came through the high-profile blog posting, however, they could no longer keep up with orders, eventually branching out into a production and mail-order service that sells the items starting at ¥2,205 for a set of 10. The brand has stuck to its roots as well, choosing ageha diva, fashion model and entrepreneur Momoka Eri as the face of Tequila Balls.

The Tequila Balls Web site says they’re currently available in orange, blueberry, yogurt, cassis and strawberry, but we’re hoping they’ll branch out into “berry blue” and “strawberry-kiwi.” Tequila jigglers, anyone?

3 thoughts on “Jello shots hit Japan–finally!”
  1. Sarah-san,
    As your co-editor, I appreciate the amazing amount of research you put into this one, including testing out the product on yourself. It’s that kind of self-sacrifice and deeds derring do that make the you the finest writer on this blog.
    When you get a chance, bring back some to the office. If they have any that are flavored like clove cigarettes, please pick them up as well.


    Is my absolute favorite part of that website screenshot. I imagine it’s also been said by more than one groggy club-goer trying to make sense of the receipt handed to him after his credit card gets savaged at the end of the night.

  3. apparently the latest cool thing is vodka jello shots with a Viagara pill in the center.
    strangely, it’s popular among people in their 20’s….?????

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