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Kirin Ramen gets new name amid trademark battle with brewer Kirin

A package of Kirin Ramen (Kyodo)

NAGOYA (Kyodo) -- An instant noodle maker in central Japan said Wednesday it has picked a new name for its mainstay product "Kirin Ramen," amid an ongoing trademark battle with major beverage maker Kirin Co.

    The ramen, styled by the company based in Hekinan, Aichi Prefecture, as "local soul food every single local person is aware of," will be newly called "Kirimaru Ramen" due to "various reasons," Ogasawara Seifun said.

    In an online poll over the noodle's new name conducted in July, Kirimaru garnered the largest number of votes at 6,670, followed by Ogasawara at 2,594 votes and Hekinan at 1,913 votes, it said.

    "Now we can sell the product feeling refreshed," a company official said.

    According to the flour product maker, Kirin Ramen was launched in the local area in 1965 and entered the nationwide market in 2010, with its "retro package design" -- a red giraffe with a black bow tie in front of a yellow background -- combined with its "nostalgic taste" proving popular among fans.

    Ogasawara Seifun originally named the instant noodle "Kirin (giraffe) Ramen" in the hope that it would become a longtime seller, which it said the giraffe's long neck symbolizes.

    According to beverage maker Kirin, its beer products bear an image of kirin on their labels, but the animal is not a giraffe but a mythical Chinese creature said to appear before an auspicious event.

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