Karukan is a Japanese confection from Kyushu. The origin of the name is "light" (karu) confection like rice cake (kan). Originally, karukan was “saomono gashi” which is traditional confection in the form of long block but “karukan manjū” which is filled with red bean paste has become the norm in recent years.
Karukan is made from karukan rice flour powder, sugar, and Japanese sweet potato. Water is added to the mixture, which is then steamed. It is like an elastic white sponge.
It is said that karukan appeared in during the rule of the Satsuma Clan from 1686-1715. The factor in the birth of karukan in Satsuma Clan is that sweet potato which are the main ingredient of karukan grow wild and it is easy to get sugar which is made in Ryukyu and the Amami Islands. Another theory says that karukan was invented in 1854 by the confectioner who was invited by Shimazu Nariakira, the leader of Satsuma Clan. And fukuregashi, a kind of steamed cake with brown sugar, flour and baking soda, has also been produced in the area for a time. It is said that karukan was based on fukuregashi.
Karukan is made at many confectioneries in Kagoshima. It is sold widely in Miyazaki Prefecture and it is also made there. Confectioneries in Beppu, Oita, have been producing and selling karukan since 1952. It is a famous souvenir in Beppu. Also, there are some factories which produce and sell karukan in Fukuoka Prefecture.