BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College Japan Outreach Program hosted a master chef skilled in wagashi-making for a hands-on workshop at Bethany Memorial Church.

Chef Masahiro Koie demonstrated the art of wagashi-making to about 40 attendees who then tried their hands at the art form.

Wagashi are traditional Japanese treats made of mochi, anko (a type of bean paste), and fruits. Each attendee was provided the tools to make a maple leaf, a rose, and a chrysanthemum.

Chef Koie graduated from Tokyo Sweet Making School in 1973 with a high honor and is an active member of the International Cultural Exchange Group in Aichi, Japan.

The lunchtime workshop on Thursday, Oct. 17, drew students, faculty, staff, and community members of varying ages.

Fumiyo Iwadachi, who teaches Japanese language and literature at high school in Japan, gave a brief introduction about the history of wagashi.

Chef Koie also gave a lunchtime demonstration Wednesday, Oct. 16, in the Ogden Dining Hall.

This event was a part of Bethany’s annual Explore Japan Celebration which introduces various aspect of Japanese culture and language on campus and in the Ohio Valley.

The workshop was sponsored by the Bethany College Japan Outreach, Bethany College Student Activities, Handa-Bethany Educational and Cultural Exchange Committee, and Mizkan Americas Inc.

Bethany College began an educational and cultural exchange program with Handa City in Aichi in 2003, said Fujiko Nito, a professor of computer science at Bethany. Since then, the collaboration has brought a cultural event presenting “real Japan” to Bethany each fall.

The Japan Outreach has previously hosted events featuring Japanese traditional dance, sushi making, tea ceremony, embroidery, string music, and ink painting.

For photos from Thursday’s event, visit Bethany’s Flickr page.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.