Tokyo Re-Discovery

Sweets named Harakiri

Aug 17 2017

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Express samurai spirit with Japanese confectioneries 

In Japan, business people often bring "temiyage" - a hospitality gift - to clients to apologise for the loss caused by their mistakes.

Our recommendation for such occasions? - Try "Seppuku Monaka."


"Monaka" are wafers with sweet bean paste (anko). Then what is "Seppuku"? It is a form of ritual suicide committed by samurai in feudal Japan. The honourable method of taking one’s own life may be better known as "Harakiri (belly-cutting)" in the west.


In the story of "Chushingura," Asano Takumi-no-kami (Lord of Akō) committed seppuku at Tamura Ukyodayu's mansion to assume personal responsibility for slashing at his rival and instructor Lord Kira at the Shogun's residence.  


"Seppuku Monaka" are sold at "Shinshodo" in Shimbashi district in Tokyo. The Japanese-style confection store is located in what was once Tamura's premises.

The store owner created the sweets wishing the old tale to be handed down for generations, however many opposed to his idea saying the item with such a horrible name would bring bad luck. 

At the burst of the economic bubble came a turning point. The branch manager of a securities firm came in and asked for "temiyage" to bring to his customer who was hard hit by a slump in the shares. When the manager handed his customer "Seppuku Monaka" as if he was ready to commit seppuku for the loss caused, the customer laughed and forgave!


Since then, "Seppuku Monaka" has been popular among businessmen in Tokyo who need to apologise for their work-related blunders.


Next time when you need to tell someone you are sorry, why not depend on "Seppuku Monaka"? 

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BAMBOO (General Affairs Department)

A serious and slow-tempo young man who tries very hard to answer a barrage of questions from SHACHO everyday. Let’s see how he grows up to be a “Mr. Helpdesk Tokyo.”

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