Japan: Takashimaya apologises for 807 collapsed Christmas cakes

Takashimaya strawberry Christmas cake
Image caption,A viral photo of one of the damaged cakes as posted on X, formerly Twitter

A Japanese luxury department store has apologised for delivering hundreds of collapsed strawberry Christmas cakes.

Some 807 out of around 2,900 strawberry cakes delivered in the run-up to Christmas were damaged on arrival, sparking a social media backlash.

Takashimaya, Japan’s answer to Harrods, said it had “betrayed the expectations of many” and was taking responsibility.

Senior managing director Kazuhisa Yokoyama bowed deeply at a news conference in Tokyo to show remorse.

Takashimaya said on Wednesday that the cakes were made and frozen by Win’s Ark, a confectionery firm in the city of Saitama. A separate company, Yamato Transport, handled the delivery.

However, an internal investigation has failed to determine why the cakes arrived in various stages of collapse.

Only about 1% of Japan’s population are Christians, but many in the country celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts and sharing festive meals with loved ones.

The colours red and white, as in a strawberry cake, represent celebration. Aside from cakes, the Japanese also serve KFC fried chicken on Christmas Eve.

Takashimaya’s strawberry shortcake has layers of chiffon and fresh strawberries, covered in white icing that is carefully piped to resemble the frilled hem of a dress. The cakes cost 5,400 yen ($38; £29) each.

But many of the cakes were sent to customers in a less than picture-perfect state.

Photos shared on social media showed sliced strawberries sliding off melted icing and messed-up chiffon layers.

One user on X, formerly Twitter, said the cake arrived in a collapsed state, which they then tried to camouflage with fruits and chocolate sprinkles. The post has so far gained 16.1 million views.

Referring to the redecorated cake, http://horeoraduwe.com/ one X user said: “It is the foundation of free creation.””The idea of ​​decorating it is wonderful. You have the best wit to shake it off and enjoy it,” another user said.

Takashimaya apologised on Christmas Day and again on Wednesday.

“In future, we will strengthen our relationship with our business partners to improve our management system and prevent it happening again,” Mr Yokoyama said.

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