March 20, 2018

Wagashi demonstration, Japan Embassy

Wagashi demonstration, Japan Embassy – Friday, February 23rd, 2018 

By Roy Strik.

The Department of Cultural Affairs, Press and Information of the Embassy of Japan in the Netherlands hosted a lecture and demonstration of “Wagashi”-making.

Much of Japanese art, culture, and cuisine draws on the principles of aesthetic beauty and the passing of the seasons. “Wagashi” too has a strong seasonal character. Each season brings its own delights, techniques and flavours.

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The style of “Wagashi” we see today, was developed between the 17th and 19th century.

European countries (like Holland and Portugal) had introduced sugar to Japan. It meant a new way of sweetening, which had a profound effect on the manufacture of “Wagashi”.

In time “Wagashi” became an indispensable part of the tea ceremony and as such, spread not only among the high social classes but among the common people as well.

Mr. Takanori Murata, a “Wagashi” craftsman, currently working in Paris, showed how the traditional ingredients of “Wagashi” (bean paste – from various beans – and sugar) and a large variety of utensils are used to create beautiful shapes and forms.

After the demonstration, the guests were invited to try their own hand at making “Wagashi”.

Mr. Tomohiko Murakami, a master carpenter from Hokkaido and representative of the Gen Company told us a little about the design of Wagashi tools and equipment.

Tea and “Wagashi” was served.


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