Anyone, who has visited Japan, knows those surprisingly real looking food samples, you can find in every restaurants windows.
Not only for tourists a great help, because you can see, what the restaurant offers, without knowing any Japanese.
Food samples often look so good, that you want to take a bite out of them. They make you realize how hungry you are, make you look forward to your meal and are an inherent part of the japanese food culture. It might come as no surprise, that Google chose to honor Iwasaki Takezou, the father of food samples, with todays logo on his 121st birthday.
It is not certain, when and where food samples first came to light, but Iwasaki was the first one to manufacture them on a large scale. 1931 he encountered a food sample made of wax for the first time. He remembered, how he used to form flowers out of warm wax and decided then and there, that he would found a company, to manufacture food samples and lend them to restaurants. Back in those days, the variety of samples was scarce and hard to find.
The following year his dream was already reality, with a company he founded in Osaka. Unfortunately soon after followed the war and the exhibition of food samples was categorically banished. Out of necessity the company chose to manufacture offerings, to lie on graves, instead. 1950 the production of food samples resumed and has been successful ever since. Today the Iwasaki Co., Ltd. dominates not only a large share of the market, but also offers tours of their facilities, with a workshop to try your hand on a sample yourself. (Something I haven’t done, but desperately want to.)
Even though probably everyone knows the samples and has admired them in the display windows, until today I didn’t know, who Iwasaki Takezou was. I guess sometimes you can find things on Google, you didn’t even know you were looking for …