Coming back to the candy topic, Konpeito might be most historic candy in Japan which is still super popular nowadays.The word "konpeitō" comes from the Portuguese word confeito (comfit), which is a type of sugar candy that requires an unique technique for producing. Portuguese traders brought the technique and the candy to Japan in the early 16th century. (available at amazon)
Then, Japan was quite behind in sugar manufacturing and refining technology. As konpeito uses a lot of sugar, it was a very rare and expensive good. In 1569, Luís Fróis, a Portuguese missionary, presented a glass flask of konpeito to Oda Nobunaga (one of the three unifers and warlords of Japan in history) in order to obtain the permit for mission work of Christianity. Thus, konpeito has another name as Nobunaga's Konpeito. By the Meiji Period, konpeito had been used as the standard of Japan's national candy or thank-you-for-coming gift given by the Imperial House of Japan to visitors. This tradition continues today.
It takes 7-13 days to manufacture a konpeito. Konpeito start with a tiny core of sugar. Each Konpeito undergoes a process of rotating, heating and adding sugar syrup for many days in a gong shaped machine called a Dora. This process gives the konpeito their characteristic tiny bulges. It also makes them very hard with a grainy texture.
The colorful star like shape makes konpeito popular among all ages. Also it can be used as high-end confectionery due to the history behind. If you will be going to Kyoto, don't miss @Ryokujuan Shimizu, the famous store for konpeito since 1874
P.s we found this short video about Konpeito. Have fun watching