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Kintaro ame

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Kintaro ame is a type of candy craft which uses different colors of candy to make candies with a face of Kintaro, who is a character from a Japanese folk tale. The character Kintaro, in the folk tale, is a strong kid who can wrestle with bear. He only wore a red bib with a kanji character for gold, which is read in Japanese kin, and carried a big axe on his shoulder. He did not get along with other kids, so he made animal friends in mountain Ashigara.

The technique to make kintaro ame is also called kumiame, meaning candy put together, and was started to be practiced in the Edo period (1603-1868). The first step to make kintaro ame is to boil down starch syrup and sugar, and add food coloring. The Different colors of candy, while they are hot, will be made into different sizes of sheets to use for different parts of the face, such as eyes, nose, and mouth. The candy sheets will be put together, and will be rolled with hand until it gets long and narrow. The elongated candy will be cut into pieces, and on the side of every piece has a pattern of a face of kintaro.

In Osaka, the typical pattern of kumiame candies were Okame, which is a homely woman with small flat nose, high forehead, and bulging cheeks, and Fukusuke, which is a large headed dwarf statue that brings good luck. However, in Edo, present Tokyo, the character Kintaro was very popular, and since the legendary mountain Ashigara is not far away from Edo, the candy artisans decided to use the pattern of Kintaro instead of Okame or Fukusuke to sell more candies.


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