|Century-long spirit of being a “wagashi” shop loved by the people|
The Japanese-style confectionery with a history of over 100 years in Hiroshima has overcome many difficulties, including wars and depressions, together with the city of Hiroshima. Now in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, they continue to raise people’s spirits with their beautiful Japanese-style confectioneries, which are part of the traditional Japanese culture.
Beauty of seasonal sweets can be enjoyed at home
Interviewer： “Otezukuri (handmade)” wagashi making kit series “Sakura” You launched this kit in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. What was the background to that?
Mr. KATO：In the spring, when people had to stay home because of COVID-19, we thought it would be nice if people could make Japanese seasonal sweets of spring at home and enjoy both the beauty of cherry blossom and the taste of the sweets. In these difficult times, we wanted to encourage people to enjoy the seasonal beauties of Japan by making Japanese sweets and to become interested in wagashi, or Japanese confectioneries. We made a video on how to make them and disseminated it on SNS. I hope children will also be able to feel the attraction of making sweets with their families.
We want to support the local community in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis
Interviewer： Please tell us about the specific actions you have taken for the local community and your passion that lies behind them.
Mr. KATO：We participated in the Sweets “Mirai (future)” Ticket project organized by the Hiroshima Prefecture Confectionery Association, and donated, from the sales of our tickets, confectioneries of our company to the Kodomo-Shokudo cafeterias. I think it is a wonderful project that can transform our customers’ kind hearts to bring smiles to children’s faces. We sent letters of gratitude to the customers who purchased the tickets. I want our company to be something that is essential to Hiroshima. As a wagashi Japanese confectionery that has grown with the people of Hiroshima, we are determined to be useful to all those people.
Japanese cultural events should be remembered even amid the COVID-19 crisis
Interviewer： When the shutdown of business was requested by the government until May 6, you resumed operation on the 4th, the day before the Boys’ Day Festival. Why?
Mr. KATO：It was the first Boys’ Day Festival for my grandson. I thought there were many grandparents like me, who really wanted to celebrate the event with traditional wagashi sweets. So I decided to reopen our stores. I faced opposition from inside the company but I told the employees of all of our stores in writing that we must not close the doors if there is any customer who is looking forward to purchasing our wagashi for the event. Thanks to their understanding, we had many customers come to our stores on the day. I am so pleased that we were able to play a small part in communicating Japanese culture.
Takaki Co., Ltd.
7-1-10 Syoko-center, Nishi-ku, Hiroshima
President： KATO Hiroki
We conducted interviews!
OKIMOTO Haruka（Yasuda Women’s University）：The president of the company was a charismatic man.
KAGEYAMA Kaho（Yasuda Women’s University）：SDGs since 100 years ago
NAGATA Minori（Yasuda Women’s University）：Preserving the New Year’s tradition
MARUSHIGE Manami（Yasuda Women’s University）：It was a wonderful company engaged in developing traditions.
Comment from editor
It seems that what they have done is closely related to the SDGs, though President Kato said he was unaware of that. Respecting and caring for people is their corporate culture that they have preserved for 100 years. It is this corporate culture that has enabled them to be a wagashi shop that is needed by people even amid the COVID-19 pandemic today. To ensure that Japanese culture can be communicated to the younger generations through wagashi, I hope that the company will continue to deliver happiness based on this stable corporate culture.