Traditional Japanese Sweets

Place : Kyoto
Taken by : Y. S. (Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School)

Japanese sweet expresses the beautiful design and the name of the sweet, which have weaved the four seasons of Japan into, in the space of about 4cm radius, and it is called the art of the five senses. Besides, Japanese sweet is mainly made by beans like red-beans and grains like glutinous rice, so it may say that Japanese sweet is a healthy food which is rich in vegetable protein and fiber.

This Japanese sweet is called "Natsugoromo". "Natsugoromo" is a kimono without lining, which looks cool and see-through and we wear in the sultry summer. We harden the glutinous rice, which is steamed and powdered roughly, so that it looks clear and rolls the bean-jam. It shows us an atmosphere like wearing the kimono.

This Japanese sweet is called "Hanabi". We knead the powdered glutinous rice which is mixed with sugar and wheat gluten, make it thin and color it in gradation from navy to light blue so that it looks like night. Then we paint on it with pink- or yellow-colored sugar to show an atmosphere of the fireworks.

This Japanese sweet is called "Kikyo". There are small, square and clear bean-jams on the green mashed sweet bean. It shows a look that the morning dew shines on the Chinese bellflowers blooming in the thick grown grass.

This Japanese sweet is called "Hozuki". The stick which is put in is made by burdock and it shows ground cherry.
Every year in July the "Ground cherry market"is held at Sensoji Temple, Tokyo, and it is famous for summer features. Ground cherry is a season word of summer in haiku.

Some analysts think the archetype of Japanese sweets is the processed grains like rice or millet, but the foreign foods influenced these origin Japanese foods three times. The first thing that can be said as foreign food is the Chinese sweets which was brought to Japan in Nara era to Heian era and was made by kneading powdered rice. The second one is the habit of the tea and "Tenshin" (Chinese fast food) that was introduced into Japan with the Zen sect in Kamakura era to Muromachi era. Further it is the sweet, the sponge cake and "Konpeito" (sweet that uses only sugar), which was brought to Japan in the trade with Portugal in the end of Muromachi era. It was the middle of Edo era when Japan's original sweet was completed with the color, shape, name and material like today.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Yohei Shimomura, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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