Sakizo Girl Meets Sweets review


While I was aware of this book when it came out in 2017, I decided not to get it as I thought it was just illustrations. Why did I get it now then? Truth be told, Amazon Japan wouldn’t let me check out with just the latest issue of tulle in my cart, the total order was too low, so I added that as it came up in my suggestions. And I’m so glad I did!

About the Author

For those who don’t know, Sakizo is an illustrator working primarily with transparent watercolours. While she doesn’t specifically or exclusively draw lolitas, there are some very clear influences of lolita fashion on her works and her style certainly appeals to lolitas. For me Sakizo’s style has some retro Moulin Rouge poster vibes, definitely a lot of inspiration taken from cabaret and circus costumes with historical and lolita nods. Sakizo’s most notable lolita fashion collaborations were with the Korean brand Baroque, whom she designed four prints for, and with Mary Magdalene on both brand tags and the Perfume Bottle print. In addition to this, Sakizo released a variety of clothing and novelty items, such as tights and stationery, although illustrations and art remains her primary work.

Girl Meets Sweets

The story of how this book came about is quite sweet (no pun intended). Growing up Sakizo would not be allowed many sweets by her parents – which naturally led her to be fascinated with them as an independent adult. She frequented a café, which has since shut, and her patronage was even rewarded with the café displaying some of her works in the early stages of her career. As a fashion illustrator, Sakizo both enjoyed beautifully presented desserts and found inspiration in them, wondering how outfits inspired by and made out of sweets would look like. The rest is in this book.

I love how the blurb sleeve continues the illustration instead of cutting it off.


The most important point is that Girl Meets Sweets is more than just an illustration album – although it’s also not as much as a novel. It is something in between, with the illustrations taking the centre stage and being prefaced by little snippets of a story and framed in a certain format.

Each of the six chapters is themed around a different kind of sweets you would see in a café or a patisserie. The introductory story snippets follow a girl called Komugi and her doll Sugar, who wander around, visit these different places and imagine/meet the sweets-clad characters. This is followed by a menu on what delicacies feature in a given chapter before you can admire them in full glory.

This one page of text is all the story you get in each chapter.

The menus as mini-tables of contents for each chapter are both cute and useful once you try to find a particular coord later.

I really liked how the first few chapters would have an illustration of the outfit on one side and one of the dessert with a brief description on the other. That format not only gave more insight into a particular look, but also if you’ve never seen the dessert in question, you could compare them side by side and pick up the little detail. In later chapters this format was foregone, whether to fit more illustrations in or whether due to a change of mind on the author’s behalf, I cannot tell. Having said this, the beverage pages cleverly made up for it by a GLB-like layout where some items from the coordinates were drawn individually next to the character.

Looking for the exact pieces of the dessert in the coordinates becomes a fun game in its own right.

Tell me this doesn't look like something out of KERA (since this is a
little too gyaru-ish for GLB)?

A big bonus is that Girl Meets Sweets is bilingual, written in both Japanese and English. While the text is simple, with some dictionary help it would be accessible even to upper beginner (though probably more comfortable for intermediate) learners of Japanese, if you don’t intend to learn Japanese at all, you can still enjoy the text. This is a great choice, which instantly made the book accessible to a wider audience, who are not restricted to just admiring the art anymore, but can follow Komugi’s café hopping.

This is easy reading in all meanings of the phrase. Great for learners of Japanese - or English for that matter - as the language is kept simple.
Although let’s face it: Sakizo’s artwork is the star of the show here, everything else is just a bonus. Those familiar with her work will know how heavily detailed it is – this is in big part what makes her Instagram WIP posts so interesting, as the pictures unfold and even the fewest bits added make a big difference. The book is A5 in size and the majority of illustrations take up the whole page, with a few double-page spreads. You can also purchase a Kindle version on Amazon Japan, however, I find that in this size the physical copy is large enough that I don’t have to entirely flatten my nose against the page to see. I can comfortably admire the depth and level of detail, as well as take in the overall beauty of the artwork all at once.

This is one of the more lolita-looking outfits. Just look at how intricate
this is, from the number of elements to the tiniest detail like lace or weave
pattern on the basket. All of that is perfectly visible on an A5 page!

There are several illustrations in the book which I would love to have printed and framed on my wall (including some which are purely supplementary decoration or fillers). If I were a café owner, this is the style of artwork that I would love to have displayed the most. Sakizo’s illustrations make me think of a slightly dimmer Showa café, a little frozen in time, but still full of magic where you can fully indulge in something delicious without being disturbed by crowds. True, there are some coordinates that would fit the bright and pastel patisseries like Laduree, but for the most part the illustrations have a darker colour scheme and the cabaret/burlesque inspirations make it a little more appropriate for interiors full of dark woods and Victorian knick-knacks rather than Rococo gilded mirrors and marbles.

One of my favourite illustrations in the book. It's simultaneously very
Rococo and burlesque, it's elegant and sensual, cute and mature. And
again, the details are exquisite!

Another favourite, this is incredibly captivating. This is what I meant
when I talked about a Showa-era dim cafe. No wonder that there are
cosplayers of Sakizo's characters!

Final words

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, both as something to look at and as something to read. It’s amazing that it provides you with both and thanks to this I can imagine myself returning to it more than I would if it were just an art book. Sakizo’s style is absolutely breath-taking and mouth-watering, and being able to see it a bit more up-close made me appreciate it even more. Maybe that’s lolita profanity, but I much prefer Sakizo over Imai Kira and would love to meet her one day. (Unfortunately, just like Imai Kira, Sakizo appears to be camera shy and even her website only has an illustration instead of a head shot, so definitely no casual bumping into her.)

If you like a more intricate art style, sweets and/or coordinates that are just beautiful, even if they are not strictly lolita (plenty in the book that are nearly lolita and even more that can be inspirational for your own outfits), then I cannot recommend this book enough. The hard copy retails just under ¥2,000 on Amazon Japan (that’s around £15 plus postage on a good exchange rate day), which is not a lot for what you get.

Now please hold your fingers crossed that one day I will be able to get Sakizo to attend an event in Europe – that would be such a dream come true!


  1. Thank you for the review! I will purchase this book asap!

    1. Make sure to get something else to justify the shipping (and potentially get past Amazon's spending threshold, if this books is not enough to ship on its own). :)

  2. I didn't know the book already had an English translation in it, that's awesome to know. Thank you for the review and sharing some of the details!

    1. I didn't either until I got it. It's not a very well advertised fact from what I gathered? Which is a shame, because it probably would've gotten a few more sales had people known.


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