IKKOAN Book Celebrates The Japanese Art Of Wagashi

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The ancient Japanese art of wagashi and the skill of world-renowned confection artisan Chikara Mizukami are both celebrated in IKKOAN. Wagashi are traditional sweets created to play a supporting role in Japanese tea ceremonies. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, they are creatively decorated and have subtle flavors which complement the taste of the main protagonist, the tea. These edible works of art are made in a huge variety and one may struggle to find the same design twice. Created to celebrate the seasons, the wagashi come in 72 types of designs, to correspond to Japanese micro-seasons and subtle changes in nature and local landscapes. Some are made with a transparent appearance, to replicate the charm of cool water during the summer months. Others mimic flowers or types of fruit. Chikara Mizukami is the most respected wagashi artisan in the world, and for the IKKOAN book, named after the shop he opened in 1977, he has created 72 small masterpieces. The designs reveal the chef’s creativity, with sweets resembling frozen earth at the beginning of winter or the warm wind as it sounds a golden bell. The beautiful photography is accompanied by poetic texts and the entire book reveals a stunning attention to detail, from Mizukami’s striking confections to the chosen paper. The team behind IKKOAN was led by creative director Ryusuke Nanki and included various designers. To recreate “the feel of serene Japanese architecture carrying a beautiful garden inside it”, the team designed a unique case with an architectural look and feel. Made from paulownia wood, which is traditionally used for wagashi gift boxes, the case is constructed from two pieces that are inspired by the geometry of the logo, which is embossed on the white hardcover and spine. The paper was chosen to accurately convey the details, colors and textures of Mizukami’s work. The book is not merely an homage to the ancient art of wagashi and to craftsmanship, it’s a work of art in itself. With the first 1000 copies already sold out, the team is preparing another edition that will be available online. Photography by Makoto Horiuchi.

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