|In its native land, kuzu has always enjoyed an excellent reputation. Asians seem to have no problem using kuzu as fast as it grows. Since ancient times, the leaves and roots have been used for food. The strong fibrous stems have been used as thread to weave fabrics and baskets. But it is kuzu cuisine that has become a fine art in Japan. The purest white kuzu-root powder is sought after by high-quality confection manufacturers and chefs of fine expensive restaurants.
The techniques for processing kuzu were probably brought to Japan from China. By the twelfth century, farmers around the city of Kyoto had discovered how to process kuzu root in such a way that the starch was separated from its tough inedible fibers. About that time, kuzu powder began to be used in food preparation around the cities of Kyoto and Nara.
The first place kuzu starch was prepared, in Japan, for commercial purposes was established in the Yamato province in the early 1600s at the foot of Mount Yoshino. However, as civilization gradually pushed out into the mountainside, land became too valuable to grow wild kuzu. Kuzu root powder manufacturers were forced to move to Japan's more remote southern island of Kyushu. Today, almost all the kuzu root powder used in Japan comes from a few large producers in Kyushu.