Sweet on Disney: the Magical, Petite Pastries of Cozy Corner
by Michelle "Ms. Geek" Klein-Hass
Disney is an obsession in Japan. When westerners, especially westerners who have fallen in love with anime and manga, find out about this, they are usually incredulous. But it's true: Japan has long had a history of enjoying all things Disney.
Even when Japan was officially hostile to the US, Disney was still a very important cultural milestone. The 1934 short, "Toybox Series #3: Picture Book 1936,″ directed by Hajime Komatsuzawa, had as its main bad guys a whole invading army of Mickey Mice, riding vampire bats and controlling armies of snakes. Certainly those Mickey Mice were a handy shorthand for the United States. It took the combined efforts of Japanese folklore heroes and a rag-tag militia of cartoon characters to beat back the Yankee hordes.
After World War II, the US Occupation brought lots and lots of Disney movies to Japan to win hearts and minds. One voracious consumer of these long-taboo films was Osamu Tezuka, who was so inspired that he first began drawing manga, then taking the leadership role in reviving the Japanese animation industry.
At the same time, there was a hunger for Western cuisine in Japan, including European-style pastry. In 1948, a pastry shop called Cozy Corner opened up in the Ginza district of Tokyo. Ever since, Cozy Corner has been providing artistically gorgeous cakes, pastries and other confections at popular prices. And lately, Cozy Corner has been making confections under license from Disney that are nothing short of spectacular.
The Japanese Girls' Day festival Hina Matsuri is a natural for a Disney tie-in. They have done cakes based on the girls of Disney, and of course, have also gone to their Disney Princesses for inspiration for cakes for the celebration:
Of course, there's also Children's Day, considered a day to primarily celebrate the sons in a Japanese family. The more adventurous tales of Pixar provided an inspiration for a set of cakes more targeted to boys.
And now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, Ltd., the Star Wars franchise is part of these tasty tie-ins.
But most of these cakes are dainty, pretty, and seem ideal for sharing between a mom or Ba-chan (Grandmother) and her girls/granddaughters.
The cakes also celebrate Western holidays, even those that are not necessarily popular in Japan. For example, here's an Easter themed set:
Easter might not be popular, but Halloween is becoming huge in Japan. What better than the darkly wonderful Disney Villains to celebrate the borrowed holiday?
And for Kurisumasu, who better to share your festive time with than Elsa and Anna and the cast of Frozen?
And of course, no overview of Cozy Corner's Disney tie-ins is not complete without showing you a set of Tsum-Tsum toy inspired cakes. Very adorable.
Of course, we have our very own Disney connection here at TOKYOPOP. If you haven't seen our Disney Manga, make sure you give it a look!