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 the past in World Showcase and stumbled upon a small cart located just outside of the entrance to the Mistikoshi department store, you probably saw the Amezaiku artist Miyuki. She became a part of the Japan pavilion in 1996 and delighted 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 performed several shows a day throughout the week. When she began she usually called on a child to name an animal. When the child called out, “DOG!” or “DRAGON!”, she quickly began her transformation of a ball of candy into a custom work of art. The candy dough she worked with was heated to 200 degrees to keep it soft while she worked her magic. If you’ve never saw Miyuki work, you missed out on a special treat, it was never a disappointing show. In the past the chosen child was rewarded with the final result but sadly Disney put a stop to this due to sanitary reasons. Miyuki’s last performance was at the end of 2013.
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