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Whoa, hold on a second here! It’s a well-known fact that the Japanese diet includes lots of fish. The country also has an undeniable sweet tooth, with legions of gourmets constantly searching for the next trendy dessert.

Could this photograph actually be fish gelatin, though?

Don’t worry, no one in Japan is finishing off their meal with a bite of candied fish. Instead, these are just fish candies.

While these photos do indeed show the convergence of two culinary passions in Japan, they’re not literally a combination of seafood and sugar. Instead, what we see here is the intersection of Japan’s love of elegant culinary presentation and its infatuation with cute things, with desserts shaped like diminutively graceful fishies.

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These morsels, photographed and shared by Miki Nagata, are 100 percent fish-free, being made of the gelatin called agar-agar, the white sweet bean paste called anko, and black sesame seeds and maccha green tea powder for color.

Judging from their proportions and coloring, the fish in the candies photographed by Nagata seem to be koi, or carp. A number of confectioners in Japan also make desserts shaped like smaller goldfish.

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In Japan, goldfish are commonly associated with summer, as watching the vividly colored creatures swim about is a time-honored tradition for mentally tricking the body into feeling cooler. Many of these special sweets disappear from store shelves once the weather turns cooler, making them one more reason (after fireworks festivals and all-you-can-drink beer gardens) to look forward to the hottest part of the year in Japan.

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Sources: Digital DJ Network, Flickr
Top image: Flickr
Insert images: Flickr, Anna Kachie, Nifty