Toraya is one of the oldest makers of traditional confectionery in Japan, with 480 years of history. According to an archive, they were already supplying Wagashi confectionery to the Imperial Family in the 16th century as they still do today. Wagashi confectioners from this preeminent establishment and Takram design engineer Kotaro Watanabe, an external researcher of ifs Future Laboratory, collaborated towards the confection of the future.
Hitohi: one day
From the moment we awake until the depth of slumber, “Hitohi” is comprised of five wagashi Japanese confections, each to be eaten at specific time throughout the day.
The wagashi confections are typically “luxury items” that enrich our daily lives, but here, new functional aspects were embedded to approach the realm of “commodity” that can be rooted in our everyday. As such, each wagashi confection contains appropriate ingredients and nutrients for different times in a day. In addition, while wagashi is primary meant to express the “annual transition of four seasons,” Hitohi explored the combination of form and coloration to express the “daily transformation of light,” from dawn until dusk. One wagashi, one interlude; For each time your body needs nutrients throughout a day.
For the beginning of your day. Inspired by the image of faint but brightening sunlight peaking through the midst of clouds. The outside is made from white glutinous rice paste, and inside from sweet white bean paste dyed with a hint of vermillion dye. By consuming saccharides together with various nutrients and minerals in the confection for breakfast, necessary neurotransmitters required in a single day are produced.
For the morning snack. The gentle light that changes from morning to noon is expressed by the color gradient between red and green. As with traditional Japanese candies, Ikitsugi is made from granulated sugar and glutinous starch syrup. Its function is to stimulate the stomach before lunchtime and to generate enough energy to continue with work or studies.
For after lunch. The motif comes from midday’s sunlight filtering through the foliage. A layer of verdant paste is sandwiched between the top layer of white sugary foam and the bottom layer of clear crystalline gel. The constant transition between transparency and green hue, based on one’s viewing angle and sliced section, engenders a soothing appearance. Sleepiness can be shaken off by consuming a snack with an appropriate amount of sugar after the lunch.
For sunset. This confection expresses a sea of clouds lit by the setting sun. The ginger-flavored foam candy was inspired by sunset with an ever-changing hues of orange, yellow and pink. In preparation for the conclusion of day’s work or studies, the spicy scent of Yu-tsukata warms one from inside. It is said that obesity can be prevented by avoiding drastic increases in the blood sugar level during dinner time.
Izana-i (Beaconing to Slumber)
For a post-dinner dessert. The faint light barely seen from around the new moon is captured in this confection. Jun’ichiro Tanizaki once described the yokan cake as “a single sweet mass of darkness.” This yokan is a sphere also made from the condensed darkness of night. It is said that the scent of anise relaxes us, and here, this confection beacons one towards serene slumber at the conclusion of a day.
Concept, Art / Creative Direction and Design: Kotaro Watanabe (Takram)
Manufacturing: Toraya Confectionery Co., Ltd.
Package Design: Kotaro Watanabe (Takram), Kotaro Yamaguchi (Takram)
Crest Design: Shoryu Hatoba
Package Manufacturing: KAMI NO KOSAKUJO
Photograph: Takashi Mochizuki
Photograph: Yosuke Suzuki
Hitohi was realized as a collaborative project between Toraya Confectionery Co., Ltd. and ifs Future Laboratory.
Chief of ifs Future Laboratory: Yoko Kawashima