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Steaming the rice.
Photo: Keiko Imai
The rice is steamed to make the mochi.

Mochituki: Making Rice Cakes

Manabu Ozawa from Japan

Making rice cakes is a Japanese tradition that is frequently done to make rice cakes (Mochi) at New Year. Glutinous rice becomes mochi after it is steamed and pounded with a Kine and Usu. First of all, place steamed rice into a wooden pestle.

Next, it is Dad's turn. Dad grabs the Kine which is made of wood and shaped like a big hammer. This is a good opportunity to show off his authority because the Kine is very heavy and smashing rice with it is hard work.

Every time Dad smashes rice with the Kine, Son or Mom has to mix and flip rice with their wet hands so the rice does not stick to the Kine.

A good relationship and trust in each other are necessary. Dad may crash Son's or Mom's hand with the Kine. This movement should be rhythmical. Dad hits, son mixes things such as jams, fresh fruits, wine and hot tea.


Photo: Keiko Imai
Every time Dad smashes rice with the Kine, Son or Mom has to mix and flip rice with their wet hands so the rice does not stick to the Kine.


We pray for the best luck to come to our family. After that, we wish everybody good luck and give lucky money bags, clothes, or anything we know the members of our family like.

In the early morning, we need to visit our grandparents, parents, or siblings if we don't live with them. The next day, we visit our teachers and friends.

New Year's Day is an important day in my country. We love that day so much that the members of our family always go back home and are happy together.

Nowadays, people are becoming not to do this custom because of a lack of place to do it and because they are using electronic Mochi-tuki machines. But I believe this custom is a good one to start the New Year working with the family.


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