Kintsuba is an abbreviated term for Kintsuba-yaki which is a type of Japanese confectionery. To make kintsuba, coat tsubuan (sweet bean paste containing pieces of azuki beans skin) with batter made of flour and water rolled out into a thin sheet, shape it into a disc and cook the dough on all sides in a greased flat pan.
The rectangular-shaped 'kakukintsuba' was conceived in the Meiji period. To make kakukintsuba, first, make rectangular solid gel cakes with tsubuan and agar solution, coat one side of the tsubuan cake with thin batter made of flour and water at a time, sear the coated side on the hot copper griddle immediately and repeat the coating and searing process until all sides have been done.
If sweet potato paste or square-cut 'imo-yokan' (sweet potato cake) is coated with the batter and grilled on the all sides, it is referred to as 'Satsuma-kintsuba.'
Kintsuba was originally invented in Kyoto in the mid-Edo period and was made by coating bean paste with batter made of rice flour and water and searing the outside. Back in those days, it was referred to as 'gintsuba' (silver sword guard) from its shape and color. It is said that, when the gintsuba recipe introduced from Kyoto to Edo, wheat flour was substituted for rice flour for the batter and the name was changed to kintsuba (golden sword guards) as gold is more valuable than silver.
Tsuba in kintsuba refers to the Japanese sword guard which, during the Edo period, was round-shaped and not rectangular-shaped of the present day. Kintsuba in the Toide-machi area of Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture still remains round-shaped with the design of sword guard stamped on the top even today. It is said that the current rectangular-shaped kintsuba with its all 6 sides being seared was conceived by Takichi SUGITA, the founder of Benibanado (present-day Hontakasagoya) in Motomachi, Yokohama City.
Kintsuba found at any of the Japanese confectionery shops in the Iwase district of Toyama Prefecture are all triangle-shaped. In some areas of Niigata Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture, Imagawa-yaki and Oban-yaki are referred to as kintsuba.