近年無印良品的業務越做越大，去年開幕的銀座旗艦店，是全日本首間結合「MUJI HOTEL GINZA」與「MUJI Diner」等全新服務的基地，可謂是品牌野心最大的項目。為隆重其事，品牌就在銀座店滿一周年之際，找來四百年歷史的和菓子店「虎屋」（とらや）聯乘合作，推出限量版羊羹商品，消息傳出沒多久網絡上就瞬間引起哄動，第一彈開賣瞬間完售，緊接其後的第二、三彈反應買氣也未見消退，到底為甚麼這顆羊羹讓人哄搶至此？「虎屋」這間和菓子又是甚麼來頭？
MUJI’s business has grown immensely in recent years. Its flagship store in Ginza, which opened last year, is viewed as its most ambitious project as it is the first of its kind in Japan that houses two new services of the brand, namely MUJI HOTEL GINZA and MUJI Diner. To celebrate the first anniversary of the flagship store, the brand collaborated with Toraya (とらや), a 400-year-old Japanese confectionery store, to launch a limited-edition yokan. News of the collaboration became an instant internet sensation. The first edition sold out instantly, as did the second and third editions that followed. Why do people go crazy for this yokan? And what’s special about Toraya?
來到這次聯乘合作，貴為百年店家的「虎屋」沒有默守成規，非但接受無印良品的合作方案，其圖案設計更是參照Enzo Mari的設計。有注意無印良品的讀者，對Enzo Mari這位義大利國寶級人馬應該不陌生，他自2002年就跟無印良品合作，是一位在世界上舉足輕重的設計師、設計理論家，許多設計都被紐約MoMA和巴黎羅浮宮所收藏。
Toraya was founded during the late Muromachi era in Kyoto. Ever since they served their wagashi (traditional Japanese confections) to Emperor Yōzei of the Shokuhō period, Toraya has been supplying confectionery to the Imperial Family. Among their dazzling array of wagashi that includes the famous anmitsu and zangetsu, the signature item of Toraya is yokan, a red bean dessert that has been served by Toraya since the 16th century.
For the collaboration with MUJI, Toraya no longer sticks to the old rules or conforms to tradition; they took inspiration from the work of Enzo Mari and developed a new product. Many MUJI fans are familiar with the noted Italian designer and design theorist, Enzo Mari, who has been working with MUJI since 2002. Mari’s works have been collected by MoMA in New York and the Louvre in Paris.
The limited-edition yokan by MUJI and Toraya is made with red beans, white beans, sugar, and agar. The dessert shows its colors in shades of dark red and brown, and has a geometric shape that is inspired by Mari’s previous work. Products from the first edition are named HABATAKU, KAZE and KUMI, while those from the second edition are called YORISOU and YUHI respectively. (The third edition shares the same design and recipe of the first) For a dessert that is favored by the Japanese emperors, and inspired by a world class designer, the limited-edition yokan by MUJI and Toraya is definitely worth a try.