How many of you have ever heard of Amezaiku? Anyone? Maybe some of you know exactly what it is. For those of you who don’t, I’m here to fill you in. Amezaiku is the Japanese art of crafting candy sculptures. The process involves an artist utilizing rice taffy, their hands and special tools such as tweezers and scissors to create sculptures out of candy. Beginning with a starchy syrup recipe, the candy base is prepared and formed into a ball then stored to be used at a later time. When the ball is heated it becomes pliable once again and the artist will take the desired amount to make their custom creation. The hot candy is quickly rolled, twisted, clipped and molded into form. Speed is of the essence because the sculpture must be completed before the candy has time to cool and harden.
If you’ve ever been traveling around the Japan pavilion in World Showcase and stumbled upon a small cart located just outside of the entrance to the Mistikoshi department store, you’ve probably seen the Amezaiku artist Miyuki. She has been a part of the Japan pavilion since 1996 and still continues to delight adults and children alike with her candy making skills.
Miyuki began her candy making apprenticeship in 1989 under the artistry of candy maker Mr. Kinura, her grandfather. In Japan he is one of the best and most renowned candy artists. Currently there are only 15 candy artists in Japan and Miyuki is distinguished to be the first and only woman to receive the training in That country. When she completed her training she became an independent artist and traveled in Japan and Italy to demonstrate her artistic creations at conventions, local festivals and private parties.
In EPCOT she performs several shows a day throughout the week. When she begins she usually calls on a child to name an animal. When the child calls out, “DOG!” or “DRAGON!”, she’ll quickly begin her transformation of a ball of candy into a custom work of art. The candy dough she works with is heated to 200 degrees to keep it soft while she works her magic. If you’ve never seen Miyuki work, do yourself a favor the next time you’re in Japan and watch her work, you won’t be disappointed. In the past the chosen child was rewarded with the final result but sadly Disney put a stop to this due to sanitary reasons. Don’t let this deter you from watching her work the candy making magic that she does best.
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