China screams for Tojo ice cream on war anniversary

SHANGHAI - An ice cream chain in China's commercial hub Shanghai is offering a lickable likeness of the head of executed Japanese war criminal Hideki Tojo to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Iceason parlours are selling ice cream bars on a stick with the image of Tojo, former Japanese army general and prime minister, in a campaign with the slogan "10,000 people together eat the Japanese war criminal." An advertising poster displayed at one store in central Shanghai showed a chocolate Tojo, complete with glasses and a moustache, with the words: "Never forget national humiliation." Another store in Shanghai's financial district on Wednesday offered five Tojo flavours: vanilla, blueberry, mocha, mango and tiramisu. But it had few takers for the ice cream, priced at 30 yuan (around S$6.70), even during the lunch hour.

Customers who buy 50 yuan-worth of ice cream can get a free Tojo bar if they use the online payment service of Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, store employees said.

Beijing will commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II with a huge military parade through Tiananmen Square on Thursday, amid tense ties with Tokyo over territorial claims and wartime history.

"It's just ice cream," one online commentator said of the Tojo bars. "There's no reason why you can't eat it." But another declined to partake. "It's hilarious, but I have always thought that phase of history isn't fit for consumption."