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Students create Kumamoto Castle-shaped sweets amid hope for recovery

Students pose with the Kumamoto Castle-shaped sweets they made at the Hiraoka Chori Seika Senmon Gakko in Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Nov. 9, 2016. (Mainichi)

KUMAMOTO -- A group of culinary school students created sweet treats modeled after the beloved Kumamoto Castle in an effort to remind people of the plight of those affected by the major earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture this past spring.

The group, comprising 19 students from the Hiraoka Chori Seika Senmon Gakko in Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture, made the castle-shaped sweets to put them on display during a cultural festival at the school on Nov. 12 and 13. As 10 of the 19 students hail from Kumamoto Prefecture, the students are eager to "lift the spirits of people in Kumamoto" through their artwork.

The annual cultural festival features large decorated sweets prepared by students, and their works in the past included a sweets-stuffed castle modeled after one that appears in the Harry Potter film series. For this year, the students unanimously decided to create a piece resembling Kumamoto Castle, which was severely damaged in the April temblors.

The students began producing the sweets in late September. They attached enlarged pattern papers to foamed polystyrene and assembled a castle some 1.5 meters tall and 1.8 meters wide. They then pasted cookies as roof tiles and madeleines as stone walls, even recreating the unique curves called "musha-gaeshi" (warrior repelling).

Shogo Maeda, 18, one of the students involved in the project, had his parents' home in the city of Kumamoto's Kita Ward damaged by the quake disaster. He says he was shocked to see the badly damaged Kumamoto Castle after the quakes as he used to see the structure every day back in his high school days. "I made the sweets with my wishes for recovery," he said.

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