cool Japan Wagashi
by 010 Takahiro on June 8, 2014 - 4:32am
Cool Japan – Japanese sweets
Japanese sweets, Wagashi is the sweets which are made by the making way in Japanese tradition and they can be called as “Wagashi”. In Edo Era, the word of Wagashi was born to compare with western confectionary but it was not popular. After the Second World War, “Wagashi” became popular all over Japan and “Wagashi” was written on Japanese dictionary – it was mean, Wagashi became really Japanese sweets.
Wagashi was born as the sweets which were eaten with tea – there were two type of tea, Koi-cha and Usu-cha. Koi-cha means “strong tea”. When master makes a tea, he or she uses a lot of powdered of tea, Matcha. So, on the other hand, Usu-cha means “weak tea”. Wagashi was made to match their two types of teas. Wagashi has weak taste because it was thought to make the people who are given a cup of tea feel a sense of the season when they eat it. For example, in March, we eat “Sei-ou-bo” – it looks like peach with Koi-cha or “Hina-arare” with Usu-cha.
Wagashi was made just a little of ingredient – sugar, rice, flour, adzuki and midzu-ame. In addition, we don’t use any oil because when it was thought better to eat plain food when drinking tea. In Edo era, Wagashi market had revolution. Wagashi confectioner discovered new sugar – wa-san-bon. It doesn’t have much sweetness but it only has special flavor. Before they use white sugar, the sweetest food is Kaki, persimmon, so we can understand how confectioner difficult to get sugar.
In summer, Wagashi confectioners sometimes use kudzu because they found they can make special sweets which make people feel cool. Kudzu is made from starch of kudzu root. Kudzu sweets are looks like a firm jelly. All over the world, a lot of sweets have kind of jelly which makes people feel cool.
Wagashi goes to a lot of country. For example, we can eat some Wagashi in Republic of China, Taiwan. In the Pacific War, Taiwan was commanded by Empire of Japan. Then, Japanese sweets culture was firmly fixed on Taiwan. In previously day, we can eat Man-ju, Monaka and Daifuku. There are Dorayaki, Sembei and Imagawa-yaki but these taste are not resemble to Japanese one.
In Japan, we have the day of Wagashi. In Heian Era, epidemic was sometimes happened. In 848, then Emperor, Jin-mei prayed to avoid epidemic and become country healthy with offering 16 sweets before the tablet of the Gods. After then, June 16th became Sweets day. In previous day, at Meiji-Jingu shrine has an event to deal out Wagashi.