Konpeito set from Ryokujuan Shimizu, Kyoto: from left top, banana, cinnamon, peach, apple, strawberry, grape, melon, pineapple, lemon, mikan, vanilla, ginger and soda
The word "konpeito" comes from the Portuguese word confeito, which means a sugar candy. It was introduced to Japan somewhere around the 15th and 16th century by traders from Europe. The infrastructure and refining technology of sugar had not yet been established in Japan in those days. As konpeito uses a lot of sugar, it was very rare and expensive as a result. In 1569, Luís Fróis, a Portuguese missionary, presented a flask of konpeito to Oda Nobunaga in order to obtain the permit for mission work of Christianity. In Meiji-era, konpeito had already been culturally-prescribed as one of the standards of Japanese sweets. Konpeito is also the standard of the thank-you-for-coming gift which is given by the Imperial House of Japan. The gift is not called konpeito but pomponiere including the top case. Konpeito is usually 5 to 10 millimeters in diameter. Each piece is covered with tiny bulges, which occur in the cooking process. It usually takes 7 to 10 days to make konpeito and they are handmade even today.