Photo/Illutration Cookies on sale as "microorganisms found in textbooks" include a water bear, a planarian and a water flea. (Provided by Kurimaro Collection)

KUWANA, Mie Prefecture--A sweets shop here is selling microorganism-shaped cookies, challenging conventions of what constitutes good taste, in the hopes that people who consume them will be kinder toward one another.

Kozue Kurita, 37, who runs the Kurimaro Collection cookie shop, has dived deep into the world of living things to release a new series of cookies shaped like microorganisms.

They include Rhodopseudomonas, a genus of bacteria found in filthy water to produce hydrogen, and a water bear, which is known as "the toughest creature on Earth" as it can withstand radiation, high and low temperatures and even a lack of oxygen.

"Customers recall their experiences with the real creatures through the cookies," she says. "That leads to a feeling of caring for other people and creatures."

A cookie modeled after a water bear, which is touted as "the world's toughest creature" (Kanako Minaki)

A series of her favorite microorganisms includes a water flea, a planarian and an amoeba.

Kurita, who has made cookies in the shapes of nearly 400 species of creatures ranging from dogs and cats to insects, even sought advice from Ryo Honda, an associate professor at Kanazawa University in Ishikawa Prefecture, who studies microorganisms living in sewage water and water processing.

He gave the confectioner advice on how to select the microorganisms, as well as how to re-create their shapes and colors.

Though she is mindful about making her designs realistic, she places the most importance on ensuring they end up looking cute, saying, "I hope people love the cookies and eat them even though it is hard to do so when they have faces."

To express their characteristic shapes, Kurita makes cookie molds by hand by bending an aluminum plate with a pair of pincers.

She's also selective about ingredients. She makes cookies with flour and salt produced in Mie Prefecture and uses natural colorants extracted from vegetables and fruits to color her creations.

She also bakes her cookies at a low temperature to prevent them from getting scorched and lets them dry for long hours.

Born in Mie Prefecture's Asahi, Kurita as a child raised dragonfly larvae and cabbageworms while enjoying looking at illustrated encyclopedias to reproduce the creatures.

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Kozue Kurita holds cookies modeled after microorganisms in her Kurimaro Collection cookie shop in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, on Aug. 25. (Kanako Minaki)