Iyokan is a Japanese citrus fruit widely produced in Japan. The fruit is apparently more bitter than orange, but more sweet than grapefruit.
Japanese farmers placed a pentagon mold on the citrus fruit to mold the fruit into the creative shape. Why go through the trouble of making the ‘Gokaku no Iyokan’ pentagon-shaped fruit?
Apparently, ‘Gokaku no Iyokan’ translates to ‘sweet smell of success in exams.’ You guessed it. The pentagon-shaped fruit were handed out as good luck charms to students for the entrance exam season in Yawatahama, Ehime.
In Japan, the National Center Test for University Admissions is a test given to third year high school students. Results of the exam will determine if the student moves on to prestigious universities in the country.
The students needed all the luck they could get. The Japanese entrance exams are notorious for their difficulty and the third year student often spends their entire year (and most of their other high school years) preparing for the exam. At one point, the saying “Yontou-goraku (four-pass, five-fail)” began spreading. It warns students that anyone who got more than five hours of sleep a night would fail the exam because they did not spend enough time studying.
We certainly hope the ‘Gokaku no Iyokan’ helps!