【Culture】“Kintaro Ame,” the Japanese traditional candy2015.11.04

Kintaro Ame” was invented in around the Edo period (1603- 1868) in Kansai region where Osaka and Kyoto prefectures belong to. It is a sugar candy with a cylinder shape, and officially called “Kumi Ame” (assembled candy). Almost all of Japanese have eaten it at least once when we were children. So this candy has a nostalgic taste for us.

Kintaro” means “The Golden Boy,” who was a child like Superman and to have defeated a bear in “Sumo” wrestling in the folk tales. He was considered as the real man, probably based on Sakata No Kintoki, who lived during the Heian Period. Nowadays, “Kintaro” is one of the famous Japanese folk tales.

The characteristic of “Kintaro Ame” is that the face of “Kintaro” appears on each slice of candy. The original motifs were Okame (a funny-faced woman) and Fukusuke (a man with a big head), symbols of good fortunes. It is very interesting to see the process of making these candies because of its old traditional technique. It is made by layering different colored and melted candy materials, rolled together into a long white candy, elongated while hot and then cut into cylindrical slices. It takes around 30 minutes to make these candies because it has to be done while the temperature of the candies remains about 60- 70 degree Celsius. Even now almost all process before cutting down is done by human’s hands.

Recently this candy has been featured again, and the specialty stores have been open. The colorful candies in cute packages have been sold with various messages and lovely printings for small gifts.


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