When a manga, anime or game franchise in Japan becomes a hit, chances are companies begin lining up to produce special collaboration goods. And when a franchise becomes a mega-hit, with a huge international fan base, as Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has, even individual characters get their own exclusive collaborations. For example, we've introduced products such as a Demon Slayer Bowl inspired by Tanjiro Kamado, a bamboo-shaped ice cream sandwich inspired by his sister Nezuko and a replica of Inosuke Hashibura's Nichirin blades.

Ever since the Mugen Train Arc, however, flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku has been in the limelight. In particular, his ravenous appetite has made him a favorite among food brands eager to get his "Umai! Umai!" (Tasty! Tasty!) seal of approval in their campaign visuals and packaging.

However, we were initially perplexed when we saw Rengoku-san's latest collaboration with Yamaya Communications Co., Ltd. on a seafood-flavored bread spread.

Although most grape Japan writers live in Japan and are relatively proficient in Japanese, just like many of our readers who are learning the language, we sometimes come across expressions that throw us for a loop. This was the case today.

The name of the product ends with フランス風 furansu-fū, meaning "French style," so we initially assumed it referred to the ingredients. Based on the creamy orange color, we thought it might be rouille, a garnish for bouillabaisse, or perhaps even a shrimp or lobster bisque flavor.

However, on closer inspection, we realized that we had parsed the product's name incorrectly. The entire product name is 煉獄杏寿郎のぬって焼いたら明太フランス風 rengoku kyōjurō no nutte yaitara mentai furansu-fū, which literally means "Kyojuro Rengoku's 'if you spread it and toast it, it will be like Mentai Furansu' (bread spread)."

明太フランス Mentai Furansu

フランスパン furansu pan is the general term for French bread in Japan, and often specifically baguette. Although バゲット bagetto is also used at bakeries, furansu pan is the more boradly recognized term. However, when it's a baked product made by spreading something on French bread, it gets abbreviated to フランス furansu, which is also the word for the country of France.

So then, 明太フランス mentai furansu, shown below, is 明太子 mentaiko, brined and seasoned cod roe, spread on a baguette bread and baked, sometimes with strips of nori seaweed on top. Popularized in the early 2000s in Fukuoka, Mentai Furansu has become more popular nationwide in the last five years and can now be found in convenience stores and bakeries throughout Japan.


Mystery solved! The product name wasn't implying it was "French style" but rather "Mentai Furansu style."

As you can see in the image below, you don't even need a slice of French bread. Japanese shokupan milk bread, available at any convenience store or supermarket in Japan, will suffice. Just slather some of this mentai-flavored spread on it, pop it in the toaster oven, and you'll enjoy a bread and mentai combination that will have you enthusiastically shouting "Umai! Umai!" like Rengoku wolfing down bentos as if there were no tomorrow.

Since you won't be using French bread, however, the end result will have nothing to do with France. Mentai on shokupan, two very Japanese foods, put together. It might be umai but it's not Français. To all our Francophone readers who may feel left out, sorry for getting your hopes up.

Kyojuro Rengoku's Mentai Furansu-style bread spread

No matter what country you hail from, if you're a Rengoku fan, a Mentai Furansu-lover or are simply curious about this taste combination and want to give it a try, you can look for 煉獄杏寿郎のぬって焼いたら明太フランス風 rengoku kyōjurō no nutte yaitara mentai furansu-fū bread spread in stores throughout Japan or buy it at their online shop here.

Blended with garlic, the spread has a rich taste that goes well with beer, sake, white wine or lemony drinks, and comes with a sticker featuring Kyojuro Rengoku's likeness. A 130 g container costs 432 JPY (incl. tax) and can be stored in the refrigerator for 180 days after opening.

You can also join their Twitter campaign between now and August 29th, 23:59 (JST), in which one of 30 lucky winners will get a gift package including one tub of 煉獄杏寿郎のぬって焼いたら明太フランス風 rengoku kyōjurō no nutte yaitara mentai furansu-fū bread spread, one jar of アニメ鬼滅の刃 うちのめんたい切子150g anime kimetsu no yaiba uchi no mentai kireko mentaiko and original stickers. Follow their Twitter account at @yamaya_fan for details.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.