The creation of wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) already boasts a palpable sense of craftsmanship, but, like noted wagashi master Junichi Mitsubori, designer Shiho Sakamoto is harnessing technology to design and disseminate wagashi for the 21st century.

Sakamoto strives to bridge the unchanging, eternal grace of Japan with new generations just discovering — or rediscovering — wagashi. A quick perusal of her Instagram, which has over 15,000 followers, reveals shots of delicate, often futuristic-looking wagashi with names such as "Cloudy Fog" or "Fluorite," a far cry from the genre’s typical floral motifs. Although wagashi’s foundations are humble ingredients like adzuki beans, agar and mochi rice, the care Sakamoto takes when preparing these seemingly basic ingredients makes it clear she views the process as an art form.

Against the constant barrage of media and advertising, Sakamoto believes people are drawn to the quiet of wagashi. Thanks to her previous IT job at Cookpad, an influential recipe-sharing database, Sakamoto is no stranger to strategically sharing food content online. The small size of wagashi, she points out, makes it a good fit for Instagram, helping it find its place not only in hushed, grand tea rooms but on a variety of media and screens.