A variety of gorgeous chrysanthemum sweets made using the ``scissor chrysanthemum'' method.



“Kado Ikkaryu” Soke Junichi Mitsubori (Part 2)


Junichi Mitsubori's method of communicating Japanese sweets, ``Kado''.
Japanese spirituality and aesthetic sense behind it

A variety of gorgeous chrysanthemum sweets made using the ``scissor chrysanthemum'' method.

A love for sweets that resonates across countries and generations.
Confectionery that fascinates French chocolatiers.

One person who praises the activities and creations of Junichi Mitsubori, who travels around the world and conveys Japanese sweets culture in his own unique way, is French chocolatier Nicolas Bernardet. He is a recipient of the MOF (French National Artisan Award) and runs a chic chocolate and confectionery shop in a quiet town on the outskirts of Paris. As part of an event at Salon du Chocolat Tokyo in January 2019, a talk show between Mitsubori and Bernarde was held, in which the two, who are personally close to each other, talked about each other.


``I met Mithori three years ago, and he taught me how to make Japanese sweets at my shop in France.I learned that there is a lot of hard work behind making mellow and delicate Japanese sweets, such as slowly kneading azuki beans. His skill in creating elegant confectionery using his own sensibilities and tools was astounding, and I learned a lot from Mihori's Gateau Japonais. I'm glad that we were able to meet each other and become friends.'' (Bernarde)


``I get confused when I am praised by a great master.My first encounter with him was at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, when he ate me Renkiri made with Japanese sake and Dassai amazake.Nicola He is loved by the local community, cares about people, and has a deep love for both food and sweets, which is expressed in his sweets in different ways, but his passion for utensils and sweets is the same. He is my senior in the confectionery world that I respect the most.'' (Mibori)

A sweet made with the image of France. It expresses "freedom, equality, and fraternity." A sweet made with the image of France. It expresses "freedom, equality, and fraternity."

A sweet made with the image of France. It expresses "freedom, equality, and fraternity."

"Kado" is a way to convey Japanese sweets to the world in a new form, and its origins lie in the tea ceremony, which also has its samurai style. Mitsubori says he wants to use the tea ceremony, which was a samurai tradition, as a reference for the modern world of confectionery. They cheered each other, saying that Bernarde's warm and sincere personality, dignified creative work, and attitude toward work conveyed the spirit of chivalry and the samurai spirit that Mithori envisioned.

We value not only the novelty but also the “protection” of Shuhaari.
Sensitivity to find beauty in shadows

He says that the Japanese sensibility that he wants to convey to people around the world through Japanese sweets is simply the ``wabi'' and ``sabi'' that are at the root of this country's aesthetic sense.

``I feel that Asian countries have their own ``wabi'' and ``sabi,'' but Japan was an island country that was somewhat closed off from the rest of the world during the Edo period, and this sensibility was probably honed. ``Wabi'' and ``Sabi'' are ambiguous words, but if you compare Western sweets to the sun, they are sweets that make your heart sing and exalt. On the other hand, Mitsubori says that Japanese sweets are like the moon, and are confections that exude the emotion of being drawn into the tranquility and calming the heart.


Mitsubori, who freely creates three-dimensional and complex shapes, values ​​the shadow that dwells in Japanese sweets and the deep emotion that floats within them. It's a feeling that can only be experienced by someone who makes sweets themselves and looks at their creations from every angle. "This is similar to Junichiro Tanizaki's 'In Praise of Shadows,' but there are shadows in Japanese sweets. I feel that Japanese people have found tranquility and calmness in even the smallest shadows, whether soft or sharp."

Mitsubori's iconic work "Tripedal Crow" Mitsubori's iconic work "Tripedal Crow"

Mitsubori's iconic work "Tripedal Crow"

A lovely impression like a rose blooming in the field. Confectionery brand "Rose" A lovely impression like a rose blooming in the field. Confectionery brand "Rose"

A lovely impression like a rose blooming in the field. Confectionery brand "Rose"

Another thing that ``wabi'' and ``sabi'' imply is transience. ``Unlike stone culture, Japan's wood and paper culture decays and eventually comes to an end.The Japanese mentality of empathizing with and resonating with this and doing our best with things that will soon disappear is also unique to Japan. I feel that sweets are something that will run out.I feel that wabi and sabi are meant to express the fact that everything that has life comes to an end.


Finally, we asked them about their future plans and their thoughts on current Japanese sweets. ``As I travel overseas more often, I feel that I want to be proud of my own country's culture.Wagashi (Japanese sweets) are constantly changing, but I don't forget the ``shu'' part of ``shuhari'' and remain humble and traditional. I want to move forward by accepting Japanese people's culture and the wonders of Japanese sweets.It's the same as conveying the wonders of Japanese sweets to people from other countries.That's why I want to convey Japanese sweets not only as a food culture, but also as a culture that can be experienced.'' We maintain the attitude that it is okay to have Japanese sweets made with mascarpone, but we will protect the aspects that should be protected as Japanese sweets.


In the future, we aim to hold live events that resonate with the space itself, set in castles, churches, temples, museums, etc. ``Although Japanese sweets are small, I am convinced that they can condense and infinitely reflect each space and time, the human heart, and the aesthetic sense of Japan, both ancient and modern.''


One Japanese sweet. Through their shape, color, flavor, shine and shadow, and the passion of their creators, these small sweets quietly and richly speak to Japanese sensibilities.

Recent trends in Japanese sweets

Since ancient times, Japanese people have reflected the scenery of the four seasons in small sweets, enjoyed them elegantly, savored the changing seasons with all five senses, and found peace and joy in moments of tea.


In ancient times, the word "sweets" meant fruits and nuts. Eventually, with the introduction of Buddhism and the arrival of Portuguese ships, a variety of sweets were introduced from other countries, and sweets made from special products from all over Japan also appeared. From the Muromachi period to the early Edo period, manju, rakugan, and yokan appeared in completed forms.


With the development of the tea ceremony, tea became especially glamorous in Genroku culture, and has been associated with tea in a variety of ways, beautiful to look at, delicious to eat, luxurious, and sometimes humble. While the classics that have remained unchanged have been loved since ancient times, Japanese sweets are still evolving and changing by incorporating foreign cultures and ingredients into their shapes and flavors.

Kingyokukan confectionery brand ``Wave'' that conveys freshness Kingyokukan confectionery brand ``Wave'' that conveys freshness

Kingyokukan (Kingyokukan) that conveys the freshness
Confectionery name "Wave"

According to Yukiko Taka, a Japanese confectionery journalist, ``Traditionally in Japan, modesty has been a virtue, anonymity has been valued, and individuals have not expressed their individuality in Japanese confectionery.However, in the past 10 years or so, individuals have been making Japanese confectioneries on their own. The craftsmen and artists who make them are emerging. Young people today look at Japanese sweets with the same perspective and sensibilities as foreigners, so they find them to be refreshingly appealing."


``We are also seeing new trends that are spontaneously occurring, such as using herbs and spices in Japanese sweets, and enjoying Japanese sweets and sake together.First of all, we are starting with products made from natural ingredients born in Japan's climate that will soothe your mind and body. I want people to enjoy Japanese sweets that taste like Japanese sweets.I think that only by honing your taste buds can you enjoy delicious Japanese sweets without any tricks.''


――Although it has changed over time, Japanese sweets have been made in the shadows for a long time and enjoyed in the secluded seats of tea rooms and in the intimate tea rooms of homes. Japanese sweets are entering a new stage with the emergence of artists like Mr. Mithori, who demonstrate their confectionery making in public and take on the bold challenge of creating creations that resonate with the space in which they are created. (Titles omitted)



Junichi Mitsubori
Kado-ka Ichika-ryu Iemoto

Born in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1974. After graduating from Tokyo Confectionery School, he worked at his family's Japanese confectionery shop ``Izumiya'' in Yokosuka City, and in 2003 became the third generation to take over the business. Drawn to the expressive power of his fresh confectionery called ``renkiri'', he established his own method of ``renkiri'' as ``Kado Ikka-ryu.'' He makes Japanese sweets in a beautiful manner similar to the tea ceremony ceremony, and strives to spread the art of sweets around the world through Renkiri workshops both in Japan and abroad. In 2018, his first book ``KADO-New Art Of Wagashi-'' was published in Japanese-English, Japanese-French, and Japanese-Chinese versions. In 2019, events are scheduled to be held in Canada, North America, and Japan.



Click here for Junichi Mitsubori (Part 1), head of “Kado Ikkaryu”


Text by Misuzu Yamagishi
Photography ©︎ Junichi Mitsubori, Wagashi-Izumiya
Special Thanks to Kanami Okimura, Mitsukoshi-Isetan

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