Hiroshima sauce maker sells out of its pencil sharpener

Hiroshima sauce maker sells out of its pencil sharpener

A Hiroshima-based sauce maker is having booming sales thanks to a pencil sharpener themed on okonomiyaki, a savory pancake dish whose ingredients include seaood, meat and vegetables.

The sharpener, which produces pencil shavings that resemble dried bonito flakes, was so popular among children that it sold out a week after its September release.

The round pancake-shaped tool features fake dried seaweed flakes, a streak of Japanese mayonnaise and other features of okonomiyaki.

The shavings pile up on the top of the sharpener when a pencil is inserted into the hole and rotated, creating the effect of a piece of okonomiyaki fresh from the hot plate topped with bonito flakes.

According to Otafuku Sauce Co., the nation's largest okonomiyaki sauce maker based in Nishi Ward, the project came to fruition thanks to Twitter user mitiruxxx, who introduces original product designs on the social media platform.

After the concept created a buzz online, the company decided to promote the food culture surrounding okonomiyaki and approached the designer to collaborate on commercialization.

It was an instant hit when sales started in September. The company ran out of stock in a week.

Otafuku Sauce was inundated with inquiries from parents and grandparents who wanted the sharpener as a present for their children and grandchildren. There was also interest from knickknack lovers.

The sauce maker decided to order a second batch of the product to cater to the demand, which shows no signs of diminishing.

According to a publicist, it has decided to order another batch in anticipation of going out of stock again.

The okonomiyaki-shaped sharpener, which measures about 5 centimeters in diameter, sells for 528 yen $3.60 including tax.