Bread. In A Can.

Bread. In A Can.

Mmm. Bread. Delicious (well, somewhat) canned bread. In Japan, canned bread is a tasty treat for otaku. Don’t believe me?

Among the t-shirts and hug pillows being offered at an upcoming event for Xbox 360 game Dream Club, there are cans of bread. The cans feature characters from the virtual hostess game.

If you’ve never had Japanese canned bread, there is a novelty factor. Hey, bread in a can! But with so many delicious bakeries in the country, there’s the simple question of why anyone would want it.

Which brings us back to the the novelty factor. Sure, you can carry it around, chuck it in your backpack. What canned bread does allow is the commodification of popular games or anime in way that bread wrapped in plastic bags does not. Slap an illustrated label on a can of bread, and bam, you’ve got Dream Club canned bread. Magic! It’s much more striking than, say, Pokémon bread.


Called “pan” in Japanese, bread has a long history in the country, dating back to when

Bread in a can became popular among otaku around 2006 or 2007. Pan Akimoto began selling Clannad canned bread; bread plays a role in the popular visual novel as the main heroine’s parents operate a bakery.

Around that same time, canned udon and canned oden were popular in Akihabara, because both were easy meals. Also, there was once again the novelty factor of being able to buy noodles in a can.

Clannad canned bread, which was available in Akihabara retailers and vending machines, came in several flavors: chocolate, green tea, strawberry, butter, raisin, blueberry, and milk. It set off a slew of canned bread clones.

Pan Akimoto started selling canned bread after the Kobe Earthquake in 1995.


Canned bread is not a Japanese innovation. It’s been available in New England for decades—B&M Brown Bread is a camping and emergency food stash stable. As Flak Magazine points out, canned bread is “a throwback to an era in American history when they canned whole chickens”.

Boston brown bread was born out of necessity. Colonists baked bread from the resources they had, and since not all settlers had ovens, they cooked the bread in cans. (Here is a recipe for Boston brown bread.)

But this time around, Dream Club, never one to shy away from innuendo, has a bread, or “pan”, joke—a pun on underpants.

Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.


  • Fuck japanese bread. Seriously. Fuck it. These people have no idea how to make proper bread. They mix in sugar and sawdust and all kinds of thing.

    I haven’t had a decent grilled cheese sandwhich since I got here 🙁

    • Look, I understand the issue, and I’m not singling you out by any means – but you know what you’re going to get when you hit an Ashcraft story, wacked out shit about living in Japan. It’s like one story per day, that’s it! I get that it’s not for everyone, but might as well just ignore it and go on to the next story!

      Or stay a while and bitch in the comments, whatever floats your boat!

      • If you have not noticed I do this for every non-videogames story. I actually have no problem with this as videogame culture often extends past just plain videogames… Just having a little laugh with myself.

      • I see your point mark, but I tent to agree with Stapler Pirate. Ashcraft shouldn’t really be using Kotaku to post his (often poorly written) blog musings.

      • I LOVE reading articles about Japanese culture and don’t mind that it’s on Kotaku.

        @Steven Bogos
        Have to agree with you about Japanese bread and Ashcraft’s poor writing.

          • Now we just need to agree the same for Ashcraft’s writing. 😛

            In all honesty I found very few tasty Western foods in Japan anyway, which makes sense.From my recollection the best coffee was from Starbucks.

            I went to Japan to enjoy all it had to offer, but unfortunately you find yourself with a hankering for foods you are used to. My wife is a cereal nut (and pregnant at the time) so she needed some. At least the shops actually had some Western foods.

    • @stapler bad day, eh?

      You can buy canned water too, if anyone didn’t know.
      I saw a picture of a human size can of water somewhere once…

  • “Called “pan” in Japanese, bread has a long history in the country, dating back to when

    Bread in a can became popular among otaku around 2006 or 2007. ”

    I think there’s something missing there…

  • Nobody has mentioned Yakitate Japan! anime yet? for shame!

    An anime about making bread and how a young up and coming baker with amazing powers and skill can make it to the top like Ash in Pokemon.

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