Kyogashi (Kyoto confectionary) is a wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet) served at ceremonies and rituals. Since kyogashi is custom-made for special occasions, each piece is a “one-of-a-kind artwork” that will not be recreated. In the following interview, a confectioner from Kyoto’s Oimatsu Kodokan shop explains his work:
1. Unique Oimatsu process
Recipes are made-to-order for each customer. This requires a combination of chemistry and physics. The design skill to draw a sketch and create a 50-gram 3D form is essential. A piece is completed only after it is given a name. So, we have a group of science, literature, and design experts working together on each assignment.
2. “Eat by Ear” quality:
Unlike confectionary from Tokyo or Osaka, kyogashi can be savored by hearing. For example, there is a purple-and-white cake called Karakoromo. The name reminds the guest of a poem from the Tales of Ise that starts with the word karakoromo. Weaving together the initial syllable of each line in the poem makes up the word ka-ki-tsu-ba-ta, the Japanese name for Iris laevigata, a purple-and-white flower. Every kyogashi is created this way. So we must know all of the famous classical Japanese poems.
3. Kyogashi in the future
When people get together regularly at night to socialize, there may be fewer disturbances. We believe kyogashi has the potential to help revitalize the community. So, in a broader sense, it may help contribute to world peace.