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The History of Japanese Sweets

The Japanese sweets made for tea ceremonies are sophisticated and beautiful. They are finely crafted and are normally given poetic names based on a season or classic Japanese literature.

However, the Japanese word for “sweets” originally meant fruit. Sugar is not native to Japan, and it was very expensive in Japan until it became possible to grow it at the end of the 18th century.

At tea parties held from the 12th to the 14th century, boiled mushrooms and seaweed were served as accompaniments. In the same period, a fish or meat jelled broth called yôkan and a savory bun called manjû were imported from China. They have now become sweets in Japan.

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