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Jun. 1, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Jun. 14, 2012

Confectionery

Various sweets first came to Japan from the West, but the Japanese put their own distinctive stamp on them. Today, this "Western-style confectionery" is an important part of Japanese culinary culture. The first Western confectionery that came to Japan was brought by Christian missionaries from Portugal and Spain in the mid-16th century. In the mid-19th century, after being closed off for centuries, Japan opened to foreign commerce. New confections poured in from the West, and original recipes were adjusted to suit Japanese tastes. In the last 50 years, Western-style Japanese confections have earned popularity and acclaim in the West, and Japanese chefs have won top prizes in the world's most prestigious confectionery competitions.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, we look at Japan's own brand of Western-style confectionery and what it reveals about Japanese culture.