”Mitani Seito” Passing on the traditions of Japanese sugar making

”Mitani Seito”
Passing on the traditions of Japanese sugar making

Sugar manufacturing developed through research

Mitani Seito was founded in 1804 during the Edo Period. It is one of the few sugar manufacturers using the traditional method of sugar production for over 200 years.
”Wasanbon” or Japanese fine sugar, began to be actively produced in Sanuki in the time of Yoritaka Matsudaira, the fifth feudal lord of the Takamatsu clan. The feudal lord ordered Gennai Hiraga to research sugar making, worrying about the gradual decline of the domain due to the lack of special local products. However, they had difficulty in developing methods of making refined sugar even though they grew sugar canes. Genjo Ikeda, a physician working for the Bureau of Medicine, died before discovering the sugar production method, having succeeded sugar cane cultivation from Gennai Hiraga. His pupil Shukei Sakiyama managed to develop the production method after many years of research. The resulting sugar was highly valued, ”white as snow, with a better taste and quality than imported sugar”.

Passing on the industry

Mitani Seito has kept old documents including an application to manufacture sugar which was submitted to the clan in 1804. It states that they would be learning sugar making techniques from Shukei Sakiyama. After many years of work, sugar production became a major industry in Tosan during the Edo Period.
Even the long-established sugar manufacturer experienced difficulties when competing with imported sugar, and there were occasions when they came close to closing shop without anyone to take over the business. In support of the sugar manufacturer, well-established Japanese-style confection stores formed an association for the preservation of ”wasanbon”, and with this support, Masashi Mitani became the eighth head of the business.

Concentration of Japanese goodness

Mitani Seito still uses the manufacturing tools designated as Important Tangible Folk-cultural Properties, keeping the traditional production methods using mostly manual labor. The methods require a lot of work, skill and time. Mitani Seito ”wasanbon” can only be produced with the traditional methods. The sugar with refined sweetness is the concentration all that is good about Japan.


Mitani Seito Hane Sanuki Hompo
156-8 Umayado, Higashikagawa, Kagawa
URL http://www.wasanbon.com/