History in the Making

A timeline of Morinaga® and HI-CHEW®

Taichiro Morinaga started the little candy company in Japan that was to become the largest confectioner in Asia.

View Morinaga Japan's Full History


Taichiro Morinaga, the future father of HI-CHEW

Our founder is born

Taichiro Morinaga, the future father of HI-CHEW®, enters the world on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. It's a tough world for young Taichiro. His father dies when he is 7...and he grows up poor, with no formal education.


Morinaga 1888 American Flag

Tachiro moves to America

Seeking to find his destiny, the intrepid Morinaga moves to America at age 23. A Good Samaritan offers him a piece of candy – a magical treat that Taichiro had never experienced during his impoverished youth. During his years in the States and vows to learn the secrets of candymaking.


Morinaga 1899

West Sweets Meet East

With hard-won candy-crafting skills, Taichiro returns to his home country and begins selling candy from a simple push cart. The sweets are such a hit that he’s able to open his own store in Tokyo: The Morinaga Western Confectionery Shop.


Morinaga 1918 Milk Chocolate

Hitting the big time

After nearly two decades of success, Morinaga & Company is formally established. It is the first modern candy company in Japan, and becomes the first to produce chocolates.


Morinaga 1923

Hope in the darkness

The Great Kanto Earthquake devastates Tokyo, leaving nearly two million people homeless. Our founder leads relief efforts, donating large quantities of candy to families displaced by the disaster.


Morinaga 1937

Sweets for the sweet

To celebrate motherhood throughout Japan, the first “Morinaga Mother’s Day Meeting” is held. We were the first to advocate this heartfelt tradition in the land of the samurai.


Morinaga 1956

Chewlets are born

Morinaga® was always trying to invent new candy treats. In 1956 Morinaga® came up with the predecessor of today’s HI-CHEW®, a tasty strawberry-flavored morsel that you could chew like gum. Since it dissolved as you chewed, you didn’t have to take it from your mouth to dispose of it -- which is, let’s face it, a little rude.


Morinaga 1957

Pass the syrup

Hotcake Mix packs the taste of American pancakes into one premixed box -- and it's still enjoyed in homes throughout Japan after more than half a century.


Morinaga 1964 Hi-Crown Chocolate

Candy fit for an emperor

Hi‐Crown chocolate debuts, and becomes a major hit from one end of Japan to the other. This was the start of a long string of hit Morinaga® candies -- including you-know-what.


Morinaga 1975

Chewlets are back! - As HI-CHEW®

New HI-CHEW® returns and starts becoming the fruity chewy phenomenon it is today. Believe it or not, HI-CHEW® has been crafted in over 170 different flavors over the years -- and the best ones are now in the U.S. HI-CHEW® becomes a cultural icon among all Japanese...and insiders all around the globe!


Morinaga 100 Years

We're 100 years old!

We celebrate our 100th anniversary -- a full century of creating tasty treats for the world.


Morinaga 2008

The spirit of Tachiro returns

In sunny California, we establish Morinaga America, Incorporated -- bringing things full circle from the days when Taichiro received that first piece of candy in America.


A bucket of Hi-Chew next to an LA Dodgers helmet

HI-CHEW® enters the dugout

Junichi Tazawa joins the Boston Red Sox, and is asked to stock the bullpen with gum for his fellow pitchers. He adds his favorite candy -- HI-CHEW® -- which proves so popular he can't keep up with demand, and asks Morinaga to supply the Sox. Our pleasure!


Morinaga in 2015

Factory opens in U.S and HI-CHEW® is approved for space

We open our first candymaking facility on the ground in North Carolina, and HI-CHEW® is officially approved as food for astronauts by JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. International Space Station, here we come!


Hi-Chew Sours and Bites

New HI-CHEW® arrives at new stores!

HI-CHEW® introduces all-new Sours and Bites, and thousands more stores throughout America rush to get on the HI-CHEW® train. Welcome aboard!


Various Hi-Chew sours and Fizzies candies

2017: Exciting new flavors!

HI-CHEW® introduces new soda flavored Fizzies, Sour sticks, and tropical Kiwi with real chia seeds. Now available at select retailers nationwide and online at Amazon.com.


10 Balloons

We're turning 10

It's our birthday! Morinaga America, Inc. is officially celebrating 10 years in the US. Help us celebrate by casting your vote to bring an exclusive HI-CHEW® flavor from Japan to the US.