What’s the interesting story behind Kerorin, the hidden big name in public baths?

If you have ever been in a sento before, you might have seen this yellow plastic bucket. Some  even wonder what Kerorin (ケロリン) means every time they go to a Japanese public bath. I too, have wondered for a long time why the bucket says Kerorin and why it is so popular in the world of Japanese public baths. Kerorin is actually aspirin manufactured by the Naigai Yakuhin Company (Naigai medicine Co.). The name came after its meaning kerori, which stands for ‘quick cure’ in Japanese. The Kerorin print is used as an advertisement for their merchandise.
The reason why Kerorin has sold so well all over Japan is because public baths needs, and Naigai medicine’s needs matched. Public baths needed washing buckets at a cheap price and Naigai medicine wanted to effectively advertise Kerorin. The cost of one bucket is 600 yen and Naigai medicine assumed half of that price for the advertisement, giving public bathhouses a cheaper price of 300 yen.

Public baths have been in a decline, but Kerorin is developing new ways to help!

The Kerorin bucket appeared in the movie “THERMAE ROMAE,” released in April 2012. This comedy’s story is about a bath ingineer from the Roman times traveling in time and getting ideas from the Japanese public baths.  Kerorin was mentioned in the movie, catching the public’s attention again. Kerorin has also collaborated with the Japanese popular animation “Sgt. Frog,” popular among fans. Japanese public baths have declined recently and it’s been very difficult for Kerorin to run their businesses by only selling buckets. Kerorin is developing a new marketing strategy by selling other items such as Kerorin-related towels and keychains.




In collaboration with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, Kerorin released its wooden buckets and soap!

Naigai medicine is also going to start selling wooden Kerorin buckets to financially contribute to forest conservation held by Nagano Prefecture. The conservational idea is that, for every tree cut down, a new tree will be planted. This collaboration is the result of the new Hokuriku Shinkansen line connecting Nagano Prefecture. The buckets are only sold in Nagano Prefecture and part of sales will be donated to a Public Interest Inc. foundation (水源の森基金) run by Kiso Regional Union. (Suggested retail price without tax: 4000yen)
They are also going to sell Kerorin soap, which is a first for them. The soap is made by a cold process method, which is optimal for making rich soap. It has a transparent yellow color much like the Kerorin bucket, and uses collagen as moisturizing ingredient that creates a rich, soapy lather. This soap along with many other soaps, are sold in Toyama Prefecture, where the Hokuriku Shinkansen line is newly connected. Online purchases are also available.(Suggested retail price without tax :580yen)
These retro looking goods are so cute, and best to buy for souvenirs!

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Writer / Translator

I’m a freelance translator from Tokyo who likes to travel right in the middle of the unpredictables in life. Through the translation of articles I hope to create points of contact between Japan and the rest of the world. As a writer, I want to add information that isn’t in the guide book, from a “wasabi” perspective!