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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on January 20, 2015
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 45] January 20, 2015

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 45]
January 20, 2015
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1.Seasonal Taste:
Not a relative of daikon radish:
Kabu (Turnip)

2. News from JTCO:
New article released!
1) Yama-age Event (Yama-age Festival)
2) Omi Take-no-karakai (Tug-of-wars with bamboo)

:: 1. Seasonal Taste

Not a relative of daikon radish:
Kabu (Turnip)

Due to its light taste and soft texture, people in Japan eat turnip in
various ways such as pickling, simmering or putting in soup.
It has been grown throughout the world since ancient times and the
description about turnips can even be found even in pre-era documents
in Europe or China.

A vegetable believed to be a turnip is described in the Japanese
oldest extant chronicle, Kojiki (compiled in 8c). According to the
Chronicles of Japan which was written in the Nara period (8c), The
Empress Jito encouraged the cultivation of turnips. It grows well even
in sterile soil and about 80 breeds of turnips are cultivated in Japan
today. European kinds of small turnips are common in Eastern Japan. On
the other hand, Asian kinds of medium to big sizes are popular in
Western Japan which is typical of Shougoin turnip in Kyoto.

Although some of them go on market in spring, its best season is
winter. Turnip leaves called Nazuna are one of "Seven Spring Flowers"
in a traditional Japanese custom in which people eat rice porridge
with seven herbs on the 7th of January.

The root of a turnip contains vitamin C and digestive enzymes, Amylase.
Amylase helps digestion and regulates intestinal function. In the
leaves, carotene or other vitamins are contained in addition to
minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium. Turnips have been known
for a long time to prevent stomach ache as it warms the stomach and
intestines. The extract from root and leaves has an effect of
detoxification which works for insect bites, chaps and frostbite.

Because turnips have green leaves and a white root, they are often
thought to be related to the daikon radish (mooli). Daikon radish's
leaves are called Suzushiro, which are also one of the "Seven Spring
Flowers". However, they are actually not related to each other and
turnip is in fact from the same family as celery cabbage, Japanese
mustard spinach and bok choi. They are even able to be cross bred,
which sounds a bit surprising.

Turnip warms up the body and is an excellent supplementation of
vitamins and minerals. Why don't we eat it to maintain our health in

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Marina Izumi

:: 2. News from JTCO

New article released!:

1) Yama-age Event (Yama-age Festival)

Yama-age Event is a traditional event held since 450 years ago in
Karasuyama city located in Tochigi Prefecture, where the largest
outdoor Kabuki play in Japan can be seen. The festival originated in
1560 (Third year of Eiroku era), when Nasu Suketane who was the lord
of Karasuyama castle enshrined Gozu Tenno (牛頭天王) as a deity in
Yakumo shrine (八雲神社) in order to pray for the land's peace, good
harvest and no more plagues.

Translation: Naoko Yamashita, reviewed by Chan Yitin

2) Omi Take-no-karakai (Tug-of-wars with bamboo)

"Omi Take-no-karakai" is a very unique annual event in Japan held in
the mid-January to celebrate Lunar New Year's Day, which has been
inherited since the Edo Period (17c), about 300 years ago, in
Higashi-machi and Nishi-machi (East Town and West Town) of Omi,
Itoigawa City, Niigata Prefecture.

Translation: Tomoko Yamamoto, reviewed by Hiroko Okamura

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Development Organization (JTCO)- All Rights Reserved.

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