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Japanese Meme: What Are Tokyo’s Cheapest Supermarkets?

Explore a funny Japanese supermarket meme that ranks based on their prices, from bargain hunters to royal decree.

By 6 min read

From budget-friendly to upscale imported stores, Japan boasts a variety of supermarkets to suit every shopper’s taste and budget. With such diversity, it’s no surprise everyone has their own rankings, which inspired this Japanese meme.

Recently, Japanese social media lit up with a hilarious meme where shoppers playfully rank supermarkets based on prices or the type of shoppers they attract.

Before you hit the aisles, don’t forget our handy guide to navigating supermarkets and our tips for saving money and the environment while you shop.

The Japanese Supermarket Meme

Are you a god?

Originally shared by Kiyo Yamauchi on X, this meme went viral across Japan. It humorously categorizes Kanto supermarkets, including some imaginative ones, based on prices and the kind of shoppers—like luxury-seeking members of the royal court or budget-savvy gods—who frequent them. The meme gained traction for its quirky and amusing categories.

Below, we’ll delve into these rankings and explore what made this meme so wildly popular.”

The Ranking System

Photo:
Kono mimu o mita koto ga arimasu ka?

Here is the vocabulary used in the meme.

Japanese English Romaji
特級階級 Tokkyuu kaikyuu The highest social class
富裕層向け Toyuusou-muke Appealing to wealthy people
セレブ向け Serebu-muke Appealing to celebrities
平民の日常 Heimin no nichijou Common people’s daily life
高くも安くもない Takakumo yasukumo nai Not expensive, not cheap
給料日前はここ Kyuuryoubi-mae wa koko Here are the ones to visit before payday
庶民の味方 Shomin no mikata The common person’s ally
価格破壊 Kakaku hakai Price destruction
価格成人 Kakaku seijin Price sage
価格ゼウス Kakaku Zeusu Price Zeus

1: The Highest Social Class of Supermarkets

Their top ranking is supermarkets aimed at the highest social class. Judging from the picture that shows a man dressed in the clothing of the Japanese Imperial Palace, the class commentary here is apparent: only those as rich as royals, lords and ladies buy their milk and bread here.

These are mostly high-end groceries and gourmet items, including options not seen at many standard stores like gluten-free and vegan:

Supermarkets in this ranking:

  • Kinokuniya Entree
  • Meidi-ya

2: Supermarkets For The Wealthy

The next two tiers of supermarkets are marked with ~向け (~muke), which means they are created to appeal to a specific group. The upper of these two classes is supermarkets appealing to wealthy people. As the image is a guy dressed in a tuxedo literally burning money, the type of people that shop at these stores are definitely not your average shoppers.

These supermarkets are places to buy imported goods and the more expensive brands.

Supermarkets in this ranking:

  • Seijo Ishii
  • Bio C’ Bon
  • Queen’s Iseten
  • Miuraya

3: Appealing to Celebrities

The other ~向け supermarket is stores appealing to celebrities. The image shows a beautiful female star surrounded by flashing camera bulbs as she completes her daily shop.

(I’m unsure about the veracity of this, as LIFE, my local store, apparently belongs in this category, putting me among their esteemed ranks!)

Supermarkets in this ranking:

  • Ville Marche
  • Maruman Store
  • LINCOS
  • Kitano Esu
  • Tokyu Store
  • LIFE
  • And, erm, 魔女ご用達  (Majo goyoudachi, magician’s bazaars). A (hopefully) imagined supermarket by the meme’s creator especially for witching goods.

4: Supermarkets In The Middle

These are the types of supermarkets that are suitable for totally average people. The face of the character who looks neither happy nor sad nor, well, anything really, sums it up perfectly: these supermarkets get the job done but are not likely to satisfy your culinary desires.

As most of us aren’t celebrities, money-torching rich people or members of the Japanese Imperial Palace (I assume, apologies if Your Majesty is reading), these are the stores that most of us are familiar with like.

Supermarkets in this ranking:

  • Yaoko Marketplace
  • Izumiya
  • Maibasuketto
  • Keio Store
  • Ito-Yokado
  • Big A
  • AEON
  • Co-Op
  • Samitto
  • BeLX
  • Olympic
  • Inageya
  • Maruyasu

5: Supermarkets You Use Before Payday

We’ve all been there, you want to eat at the fanciest restaurants or shop at the fanciest stores, but you’ve used up all your money. This is when you start to look at this group of supermarkets suitable for visiting, but only before payday.

The meme’s author wants you to know not to worry if you find yourself at these, as they are described as the ally of the common person. Nice to know that at least the supermarkets are on our side!

When they created the meme, the creator was probably thinking of the expression shomin no aji, which is spelled similarly (庶民の味) and describes the tastes that common people like. In this rank, supermarkets sell the sort of goods you need daily.

Supermarkets in this ranking:

  • Maruetsu Petit
  • Belc
  • ATTACK
  • ALPS
  • Rico’s
  • Miraberu
  • APiTA
  • Gekiyasu honpo
  • Sanyou,Akore
  • Oozaki

6: The Supermarkets That Destroy Prices

The next rank uses the word hakai (破壊), which is an especially strong word, usually used to refer to the sort of damage that Godzilla and his monster pals consider a fun time in the city rather than simple breakage. Complete and utter destruction!

Yep, these supermarkets don’t just ‘slash prices’ but obliterate them by performing price ‘destruction.’ The image is of a warrior wearing a cutlass and a presumably recently killed bear as a cape.

The author of the meme cheekily describes these supermarkets as デフレの原因 (causes of deflation), as their low prices help to keep the prices low in the increasingly expensive capital.

Supermarkets in this ranking:

  • Niku no Hanamasu
  • Trial
  • Don Quixote
  • Gyomu Super

7: Sagely Prices

From the destruction of prices to the more enlightened ‘price sage.’ This is a fun way to describe exceptionally frugal people, like a wise old cynic.

Seen as a peaceful, holy person in Western countries, the one in the meme is closer to the type of sage seen in animes or the Buddhist warriors of Japan’s feudal period. Clad in armor and holding a spear by his side, he is presumably about to engage in more price-cutting or massacring!

Supermarkets in this ranking:

  • OK supermarket
  • Beisia
  • LOPIA

8: The King (Of The Gods) of Prices

Finally, what could be used to define the fall in prices better than from a holy man to a god himself? Much as Zeus is the king of the gods, this ranking suggests that he is the king of this category. In this case, the king of prices.

This may also be a play on the words of the popular character Super Zeus, as, in  Japanese, スーパー (super) has the same spelling as スーパー (supermarket).

Supermarkets in this ranking:

  • ABS Oroshiuri Center
  • 異次元の世界 (Ijigen no sekai, or “another world” i.e., supermarkets found in another dimension)

What is Your Ranking?

Photo:
This couple is definitely top-tier.

If you are wondering how most Japanese people usually rank supermarkets, generally speaking, they use categories like these:

Japanese English Romaji
高級スーパー High-priced supermarkets Kokyu supa
輸入食品スーパー Imported food stores Yunyu shokuhin supa
中価格帯スーパー Middle-priced supermarkets Chu kakaku-tai supa
一般スーパー Supermarkets targeting most people Ippan supa
格安スーパー Cheaply priced supermarkets Kakuyasu supa
ディスカウントストア Discount supermarkets Disukaunto sutoa

What is your favorite Japanese meme? How would you rank the supermarkets? Have you got any other rankings for the big brands? The zanier, the better! Let us know in the comments.

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