More Dagashi Kashi, and The Real Last Samurai
One show we love a lot is Dagashi Kashi, about the owner of a candy shop selling dagashi, which are candies and other sweets that have been around since the Showa Period. In every episode, the flamboyant Hotaru shows up and teaches a lesson about these classic snacks and drinks, allowing us to appreciate the unique history behind each. Since these Japanese candies have been around since WWII (and in some cases before, like the classic Sakuma Drop candies), they form a magical connection between the children of today and their parents and grandparents. Sometimes the unchanging nature of dagashi can form a strange cognitive dissonance. For example, nearly every Japanese I’ve asked can remember being so poor they only had glass marbles from ramune bottles to play with, but considering how affluent children in Japan have been since the mid 80s or so, this seems to be some kind of shared cultural memory instead of something real.
When I was a child, my family moved to New Zealand for a year, which resulted in me developing a deep appreciation for meat pies and also allowed me to freak Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett) out by being the only American who could sing his country’s national anthem at a Star Wars convention. I also remember watching a lot of dry historical dramas on the BBC, which were not very interesting to me at the time (what six-year-old wants to watch a 13 hour long history about Henry VII?), but which left me with the impression that British and British subjects have more respect for their history and culture than we do in America, where we don’t make educational TV programs on the life and times of President Martin Van Buren.
Japan, as is often the case, stands with “Britain-senpai” on the importance of understanding history through TV dramas, and every year NHK produces a new “Taiga drama,” essentially bringing the scale and creativity of Downton Abbey to a new segment of history. This year the topic is Saigo Takamori, notable as the “last samurai” from the surprisingly accurate film starring Tom Cruise. A samurai in Satsuma (present day Kagoshima, in Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu), Saigo supported the Meiji Restoration, the symbolic “restoring” of the Emperor to power in 1868 around a modern government based on the Meiji Constitution. He later rebelled against the new government over the pace of modernization and the removal of the privileges of the samurai class, resulting in a great battle called Saigo’s Rebellion. Looking forward to this week’s episode!
J-List is celebrating the second season of Dagashi Kashi in the best way possible: with new dagashi sets that accurately re-created the delicious snacks introduced in the anime and manga. You can do more than watch a great anime about traditional Japanese snacks: now you can eat the snacks and see what all the fuss is about! Browse our dagashi now!