August '16 Bokksu: Kuro 黒
Due to its geographically isolated history and unique cultural influences, Japan has developed color associations that are very different from the Western world’s. Though “kuro” (black) has an almost exclusively negative connotation (i.e., death, evil) in the West, Japanese people have traditionally viewed black in a more positive light. For example, before formal wear frock coats were introduced by Europeans in the late 19th century, Japanese people in mourning wore white instead of the black that is more common nowadays. Furthermore, they consider black to be a warming color and thus, believe foods containing black sugar to be healthier than those containing white sugar. This month’s snacks and tea are all deeply associated with “kuro”, whether they be made with black sesame or are black in visual aesthetic.