At the family-run Japanese sweets shop Mutsumian 菓子処六味庵 in the city of Nanyō, Yamagata Prefecture, the pastry chef recently faced somewhat of a dilemma. Just like many Japanese sweets shops, Mutsumian offers cakes and sweets featuring ingredients that change from season to season. In fall, he makes a delicious dumpling with a soft an filling made with kabocha pumpkins, but this time, there was a problem with their appearance. Normally, such dumplings would never be sold to his customers, so he was probably considering discarding the entire lot.

However, with Halloween approaching, he and his wife had a clever idea which turned the accident into a new opportunity. All it took was a bit of imagination and black sesame seeds...

In a Tweet which has over 25,000 likes and 11,000 retweets at the time of writing, Mutsumian explained what happened and revealed the end result:

"The selling point of our kabocha manju cakes is the custard-like smoothness of its lightly sweetened kabocha-an filling. However, that softness sometimes causes the skin to crack...

Me: "What if we put eyes on them and sold them instead of discarding them?"
Boss: "I like that idea! Let's do it!!!"
Me: "Yay! (I think I can see Mitty in there...)"

Reproduced with permission from Wagashi Shop Mutsumian 和菓子処六味庵 (@mutsumian63)

In case you aren't familiar with her, Mitty is a character from the manga and anime series Made in Abyss who has a vertically-split mouth:

One Twitter user also noted that they spotted Haro, the spherical robot from Gundam.

Yet another Twitter user identified Homestar Runner in the batch. And there were surely many other characters as well for customers to discover.

According to the chef, they originally thought the cracked-skin manju cakes could be made into jack-o-lantern faces for Halloween, but then they realized that the cakes looked like all kinds of game and anime characters, beginning with Mitty.

As word of the cute character manju cakes spread, customers headed to Mutsumian in droves to buy them, and they quickly sold out that day:

Reproduced with permission from Wagashi Shop Mutsumian 和菓子処六味庵 (@mutsumian63)

If you'd like to try them, you'll need to visit the store in person, since they aren't sold online. However, for those who (live in Japan and) can't make it or choose to avoid traveling during the pandemic, you can still buy many delicious sweets from Mutsumian on their online store, so please take a look.

Sweets Shop Mutsumian 菓子処 六味庵

  • Address (JP): 〒999-2221山形県南陽市椚塚1601
  • Address (EN): 1601 Kunugizuka, Nanyō, Yamagata 999-2221
  • Tel: 0238-43-6363
  • Hours: Fri. to Wed. 8:00 to 18:00 | Thur. 8:00 to 12:00
  • Website
  • Online store

By - Ben K.