Cigarette ad featuring smoking, bat-winged pegasus

They called 'em "Peacock cigarettes," but apparently the mascot was a bat-winged pegasus. Smoking a cigarette.

Peacock cigarettes


  1. Written on the horse’s stomach = “Umai” or “delicious”
    Japanese for Horse = Uma
    Japanese for Stomach = i

    Just a theory, the bat wings rock their own sensibility

  2. When you sell cigarettes to horses, you don’t need to worry too much about spelling the word “cigarette” correctly on the box. Horses can’t read.

  3. I’d just like to say how honored I am to be here at the birth of a new internet meme. The anti-unicorn – the cigarette-smoking bat-winged horse!

  4. that’s just silly…everyone knows bat winged pegasuses only smoke menthol lites!

    (btw. this is way cooler then a phallic camel in a suit)

  5. This is a famous turn-of-the-century ad. Murai Bros was engaged in an advertising battle with competitor, Iwaya, which apparently led to increasingly outrageous imagery. Murai Bros marketed its cigarettes globally (thus the Chinese, English, and Japanese on the ad; this is pre-war so the Japanese is written out right to left).

    My guess: a “night mare.” But if there were actually pegasi, they WOULD be more likely to have mammal (bat) wings than bird wings, no?

    1. Thanks, Peter O. I was wondering why the writing was right-to-left. What’s the leftmost katakana character? I’d expect ku, but it looks more like so to me.

  6. As the comments on the livejournal entry note, it’s not merely a cigarette-smoking, bat-winged Pegasus…it’s a smiling, cigarette-smoking, bat-winged Pegasus!

  7. I was smoking once, and for an instant I saw everything, all at once. Then the cigarette burnt my fingers and I forgot it all.

    The duality of nature once again.

    Then I got lung cancer.

  8. Smoking a cigarette way up there in the stratosphere must be particularity injurious to the respiratory system.

  9. There is a silly pun of the word horse with tastiness. “Umai” written right to left on the horse is a pun on “uma” which is horse and “umai” which is tasty. (as in umami, a more familiar word to recent` fans of cookery)

  10. This is a product I can get behind far more easily than these wussie Unicorn Cigars I’ve been smoking.

  11. I’m a little disappointed that our smiling, smoking pegasus with Nicholas Cage forelock hair isn’t being ridden by a wild-eyed, bat out of hell peacock. The one on the package seems a little too sedate.

    I also wonder how they managed, with such meticulous attention to detail, to spell cigarettes without an E on the side of the package?

  12. Japanese speakers: do you know roughly when Japanese stopped being written from right to left sometimes? Seems that posters and signs like this would usually have things written backwards quite often in the past. I was scratching my head for a bit trying to work out “kokkoupii” until I realised.

    BTW I can’t believe the “umai” pun is really a pun on horse’s stomach. If it is, then the Japanese must have rivalled the Germans in their sense of humour back then!

  13. Japanese speaker here. Japanese was written right to left before WW2. After WW2 they changed to the more common left to right.

    More recent devotees of Japanese trash-culture would probably have written this pun as “Mayu” (if you know, you know).

  14. A revolutionary in cigarettes industry? Peacok and pegasus?
    hmmm…by the way, what does the Japanese words of “ima” on pegasus mean here?

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