Calpis(Calpico) in Japan


Calpis(Calpico) is a drink loved by people of all ages, from Japanese children to adults. A TV commercial is also playing with the catchphrase “Karada ni Peace CALPIS.”

It’s a popular drink that almost all Japanese people know, but the name “Calpis” is not well known overseas, especially in the English-speaking world.

The reason is in the name “Calpis.” In this article, we will introduce what kind of drink Japanese Calpis is and why there are two ways to call it.

What Kind of Drink is Calpis?

Source: Calpis Official Website

Calpis is a lactic acid bacterium drink. It is a drink with a white appearance and sweet and sour taste made by fermenting lactic acid bacteria. Since the stock solution is highly concentrated and has a strong taste, it is common to drink it diluted with water. In the English-speaking world, it is known as CALPICO.

For more information about fermentation, see this page.

The Difference between Calpis and Calpico

Why are the names different in Japan and the English-speaking world? The reason is in English pronunciation. The word CALPIS sounds like COW + PISS to English-speaking people.

Therefore, in the English-speaking world, they sell it under the name CALPICO to avoid misunderstandings.

How is Calpis Made?

Calpis is a drink made by fermenting lactic acid bacteria, as described above. It is made through the following process.

  1. Use a centrifuge at the factory to remove fat from domestic milk. Milk from which fat has been removed is called skim milk.
  2. Add “Calpis bacteria,” which is an aggregate of lactic acid bacteria and yeast to skim milk and fermented.
  3. Ferment skim milk by the power of lactic acid bacteria to produce a high-quality sourness. (First fermentation)
  4. Add sugar and ferment with yeast. Fermentation creates a refreshing scent. (Second fermentation)

Calpis produced by these processes has a refreshing scent and is characterized by being white and sweet and sour.

The origin of Calpis lies in the sour milk that its founder, Kaiun Mishima, drank when he visited Mongolia. He had a weak stomach after a long trip, but his body and head were refreshed when he drank the sour milk that the Mongolian nomads were drinking.

Kaiun Mishima, who was surprised by its deliciousness and health benefits, returned to Japan and released Calpis in 1919. Since then, it has been a product that has been loved by Japanese people for more than 100 years.

Calpis Beverage Lineup

calpico lineup
Source: Calpis Official Website

You can purchase Calpis at supermarkets, drugstores, convenience stores, etc. Various drinks are using Calpis, so here are three representative products.

Calpis Stock Solution

It is an undiluted solution that we mainly dilute it with water to drink. We don’t recommend you drink it as it is as it has a strong taste.

It is also popular as a dietary education tool for children because it allows you to adjust the taste yourself and makes it with your family and friends.

According to a survey, more than 60% of the respondents answered that they “have made Calpis with their friends,” and more than 80% answered that they “have made it with their family.” From this result, you can see that people in Japan love Calpis as a national drink.

Calpis Water

Calpis needs to dilute the stock solution with water, which can be a hassle. “Calpis water” was developed to eliminate such inconvenience.

Calpis water is a drink prepared by diluting the stock solution with water to an appropriate concentration. It is a popular product that almost all convenience stores sell.

It’s easy to think that this is a simple product just diluted with water, but it took a long time to commercialize it. It seems that it was difficult to commercialize the Calpis particles diluted with water because they settled over time and the quality deteriorated.

Calpis water succeeded in maintaining the freshness by making the particles finer to 1/8 the size of the stock solution and enclosing nitrogen gas. Calpis was first released in 1919, but Calpis Water was released in 1991, more than 70 years later.

The fact that new products were developed over such a long time is also an episode that shows Calpis’ popularity.

Calpis Soda

Calpis Soda is a carbonated drink made by adding carbonate to the stock solution. It was released in 1973, earlier than Calpis Water.

At that time, vending machines became popular, and there was a demand for drinks that could be drunk easily outside. Calpis water was not yet developed at that time, and Calpis soda, which was carbonated to prevent particles from precipitating, was released.

It enabled people to easily enjoy Calpis outside and became a popular product. Even now, new flavors’ products are regularly released, and many people love them.

Trivia about Calpis


From here, we will introduce some trivia about Calpis.

Origin of the Name of Calpis

The name Calpis comes from the calcium “Cal” and the Sanskrit word “pis.” “Pis” comes from the word, which means the highest level of taste in the world of Buddhism, and the word, which means the next highest level.

As a result of the consultation of musicians and Sanskrit authorities, Kaiun Mishima adopted the name “Calpis.”

Package Design of Calpis

Calpis has a design with polka dots. This is because the Calpis release date was July 7th.

Japan has an event named Tanabata on July 7th, and it is said that if you write a wish on a strip, it will come true. It originates in China and is famous for the stories of Vega(Orihime) and Altair (Hikoboshi) near the Milky Way flowing in the sky.

The Calpis design is based on the image of the Milky Way. A polka dot pattern is drawn on the package to represent the Milky Way.

Calpis Bottle

Calpis was previously sold in glass bottles. Today’s bottles are called “peace bottles” and have been devised in various ways.

This bottle has a four-layer structure and is impermeable to “light” and “oxygen” to keep the flavor.

The shape of the bottle is also characteristic. With a constriction in the middle, it has a shape that makes it easy for everyone, including women with small hands, children, and the elderly, who are weak.

Besides, the bottle is made of plant-based plastic, which is environmentally friendly.

Catchphrase of Calpis

As we mentioned at the beginning, Calpis has a catchphrase “Karada ni Peace CALPIS.” You can see this phrase in TV commercials as well.

This catchphrase was created in 2007, and at the same time, it became a corporate slogan.

Even before that, Calpis had an impressive catchphrase. In 1922, the founder, Kaiun Mishima, published a newspaper advertisement of Calpis with a slogan of “the taste of first love.”

His acquaintance said that the sweet and sour taste is the taste of the first love, and the word “first love” has the dreams, hopes, and longings of people. These words convinced Kaiun Mishima, and he decided to use the copy.

Large companies have impressive catchphrases (eg, NIKE’s “JUST DO IT”), and Calpis is one of those companies with such copies.


Calpis is a drink that has been loved by the Japanese for over 100 years. Many people have been drinking it since they were children and have memories of making it with their family and friends.

It’s easily available at supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores, so if you haven’t tried it yet, why not give it a try!