JTCO strives for inheritance, creation and development of Japanese traditional culture.

JTCOJapanese Traditional Culture Promotion&Development Organization
日本語 | English
Newsletter Back Number

Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on September 19, 2014
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 34] September 19, 2014

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 34]
September 19, 2014
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1. Seasonal Taste:
Indispensable taste for Japanese cuisine - Bonito

2. News From JTCO:
New article released!
Awaji Ningyo Joruri: Awaji Puppet Play

:: 1. Seasonal Taste

Indispensable taste for Japanese cuisine - Bonito

Compared to "Hatsu-Gatsuo" (first bonito), bonitos with special
pleasant smelling in early spring caught in May and June, "Modori
-Gatsuo" (returning bonito) which is caught in September and October
has rich taste with its fat as ten times of "Hatsu Gatsuo".

Bonito has a long history in Japanese diet as is shown in the fact
that its bones were found in ruins of Jomon Era (145-10BC).
It is said that the Japanese name of bonito, "Katsuo" was originally
called "Kata-Uo" (fish with tough meat), since the meat becomes hard
after being dried. The oldest record about "Kata-Uo" is seen in
"Kojiki", record of ancient matters of Japan written in the year of

In eighth century, products made from bonito, such as "Kata-Uo",
"Ni-Kata-Uo"(hard-dried boiled bonito) and "Kata-Uo-Irori" (seasoning
made from boiled Katsuo), were offered to the government as important
tribute articles.

In accordance to "Engi-Shiki"(set of ancient Japanese government
regulations) compiled in Heian period (8th ? 12th century), some
particular countries in ancient Japan were appointed to offer these
bonito products. Among those countries, Tosa is famous for its bonito
cuisine even now, and Izu (In Shizuoka prefecture) as well as Suruga
(also in Shizuoka prefecture) were included. In ancient cook book
"Chuji-ruiki" which was written in Kamakura period(12th century-),
cooking methods using dried bonitos and "Kata-Uo-Irori" were
recorded, which means bonito was already indispensable food and
seasoning for Japanese people in those days.

Smoke-dry bonito, "Katsuobushi" was first made in Muromachi period
(14th century-). Hana-Katsuo, shaved "Katsuobushi" flake used for
bonito soup stock, was referred to in the cook book" Shijoryu
-Houchosho", written in around 1500. This cooking method is thought
to have introduced to Japan with other imported goods carried on the
trading boats from South-east Asia where smoke?dried fish has been
eaten since old times.

Dried bonitos in early stage could not be kept for a long time. But
in Edo period(17th century -), smoke-drying method was improved and
the new production process called, "Kabi tsuke"(inoculate mold and
grow it on Katsuobushi) which removes residual moisture was
implemented. This production process became standard and has being
continued even now.

Bonito gives basic flavor to most Japanese cuisine since ancient
times. In the season of "Modori Gatsuo", many Japanese people enjoy
its taste by "Tataki", which is slightly roasted on the surface and
thickly sliced.

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Naoko Yamashita

:: 2. News From JTCO

New Article Released!

[Traditional Culture]

Awaji Ningyo Joruri: Awaji Puppet Play

There are several possible origins of Awaji puppet play with a
history of 500 years, which is a government-designated significant
intangible folk cultural asset.

It is considered that during Kamakura period, the musicians who make
a living by shrine ritual, such as court dance and music moved from
Osaka Shitennoji to Awajishima Island, and then Ebisukaki which
belonged to Ebisu shrine in Nishinomiya started puppet play for
shrine ritual because it was very popular.

Read the full article

Translation: Yoko Hokari, reviewed by Chan Yitin

Copyright by Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion and
Development Organization (JTCO)- All Rights Reserved.

To subscribe/unsubscribe to our Newsletter, or to change your
registered email address, please visit:

JTCO Newsletter "Delivery of Seasonal Tradition"Experience Japan with you tour guide!Find us@Facebook