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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on May 23, 2014
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 23] May 23, 2014

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 23]
May 23, 2014
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1. Seasonal Taste:
Newly harvested with a pleasant smell in early summer :
Gobo (Burdock)

2. News from JTCO:
New article released - Eyoudo Shinji: Rejoicing Festival

:: 1. Seasonal Taste

Newly harvested with a pleasant smell in early summer : Gobo (Burdock)

You might be surprised to hear that Japanese people eat burdock's
root as food. Burdock is a crucial ingredient for Japanese food as
it is fried, stewed and deep-fried. June and July is the best season
when newly harvested burdocks with a pleasant smell are on the market.

Burdock, which is one of the Asteraceae family, originated in West
Asia, initially introduced by China. However, it is eaten as food
only in Japan and Korea. It is usually used as a remedy in countries
like China or western countries. It's seeds were found in some
middens from the Jhomon period (14,000BC-300BC). It was named "Gobo"
in China and was reimported to Japan in the 10th century. There is a
record in the book called Ruijuzouyousho (a book of ceremony or ritual
knowledge at court needed by the aristocracy) compiled in 1146 that
says burdock was served in the Imperial Court. It suggested burdock
had commonly been eaten as food before that time. Before being
reimported, it had been called "Kitakisu" or "Umafufuki" in ancient

The major nutrients of burdock are fibers such as cellulose,
hemicellulose and lignin. It is thought that their effect of
assisting the intestinal system and promoting the excretion of
harmful substances can prevent large bowel cancer. Burdock also
contains inulin, which is a polysaccharide associated with enhancing
the growth of beneficial bacteria. Mineral components such as
phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc and copper are contained
as well.

Although the Japanese have eaten burdock for a long time, the variety
of breeds is small. The most common burdock on the market is called
"Takinokawa" which has a thin and long appearance. In summer,
slightly unripe burdock are harvested in Miyazaki and Kumamoto
prefectures, which are warm areas. Please try burdock cooked as food
to find out how it tastes when you have a chance to visit Japan.

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Catherine Newman

:: 2. News from JTCO

New article released - Eyoudo Shinji: Rejoicing Festival

"Eyoudo-Shinji" is a Shinto ritual in which the lights in the
precincts of the Atsuta shrine are switched off and all of the
priests laugh out loud with rapture at those four places;
Yougo-no-masha or Yougono-ma shrine, Kaguraden-mae or in front of
Kaguraden, Betsugu-mae or in front of Betsugu shrine and
Seisetsumon-mae or in front of Seisetsumon gate. It is uncommon for a
Shinto ritual and is also known as "Ohoho-Matsuri" or "rejoicing

Read the full article

Translation by: Hiroko Okamura, reviewed by Takayuki Kitano (Atsuta Shrine)

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