Fast forward a century, and the artificial food industry is still booming: it rakes in 60 to 90 million yen annually. Iwasaki Co. Ltd. is an empire claiming to manufacture 80 percent of Japan's sampuru under the axiom, "Expressive power of replica food are endless." The factory replicates thousands of different foods—everything from sushi to ice cream to Turkish delicacies.
But how do they do it? Iwasaka Co. Ltd. has about 30 full-time artists who craft each food by hand. According to Vice, they first create a mold by pressing real food into a piece of silicone. Next, they pour colored plastic into the mold, then bake it until it's solid. The final step is where the real creativity comes in: the artist airbrushes and hand-paints every realistic detail before finishing it with a glossy lacquer and assembling it with the other pieces in the dish being made. Sampuru is still widely used in commercials, for speeding up the ordering process, and for helping tourists decide what to order. Itadakimasu!
To go behind the scenes at the artificial food factory and learn more about the art of food, watch the following videos.