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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on October 22, 2014
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 36] October 22, 2014

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Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 36]
October 22, 2014
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Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization
(JTCO)
http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/

CONTENTS:

1. Seasonal Flower:
Keeping the doctors away? : Kaki (Persimmon)

2. News from JTCO:
New article released!
1) Edo Kumihimo: Tokyo Braided Cords
2) Tsuzurenishiki-Ori: Tsuzurenishiki Weaving
3) Kamogawa Maiwai Zome : Kamogawa Maiwai Dyeing


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:: 1. Seasonal Taste
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Keeping the doctors away? : Kaki (Persimmon)

The place that persimmons originated from is hidden in the history.
It is said to be from Japan or brought from China in ancient times.
Wherever the origin was, the Japanese climate agrees with persimmons
and they grow well in Japan. They have been indispensable for
Japanese people as an autumn taste since ancient times.

Surprisingly, the variety of persimmon breed is about 1000 in Japan
today. They are usually distinguished by two kinds, sweet persimmon
(Amagaki) and astringent persimmon (Shibugaki). Since astringent
persimmons are not edible even after they have ripened, it is common
to eat them as dried persimmons. People ate dried persimmons even in
the Heian period (8-12c) and they were a convenient, portable and
long-life food for them.

Sweet persimmons are considered to be produced as a result of mutation.
The first sweet persimmon in Japan was called "Zenjimaru", which was
the breed coincidentally found at a temple in the Kamakura period in
1214. The temple was demolished during the war in 1370 but the monk
who rebuilt the temple really liked these ripe and sweet persimmons
and recommended their neighbours to grow them.

This is a Japanese proverb "When persimmons turn red, Doctors turn
blue." This describes the situation that when persimmons ripen and
turn red (orange), it makes many more healthy people and stops them
from seeing doctors, making them turn pale with less work. As you can
see from this proverb, persimmons are rich in nutrition. It contains
many vitamins such as C, K, B1, B2 and Carotene. It also has a kind
of Polyphenol, tannin, as well as many minerals. In the Edo period,
it was a well-known fact that persimmons could cure hangover since
vitamin C, tannin and potassium work well for that. Dried persimmons
have a bloom and this white sugar powder is called "Shisou". It was
used as a medicine for coughs and the feudal lords even offered this
precious medicine to Shogun as a gift. The sweet and delicious fruit
was not the only useful part, as the calyx, leaf and flowers have
also been used as Chinese medicine or an infusion of an old wives'
remedy. In Nara, Wakayama and Ishikawa prefectures, there is a
specialty called "Kakinoha Zushi (Persimmon leaf sushi)" which can
be kept for a couple of days due to the persimmon leaf's
bactericidal effect.

Persimmons are not only enjoyable to eat but also have a lot of
health benefit. There is a proverb in England, "an apple a day keeps
the doctor away." It seems persimmons have the same benefit.

Persimmon trees live for a long time and it can produce many fruits
even after 400 years. Shall we eat persimmons to get its vitality to
prepare for the cold season?

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Noriko Osaka


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:: 2. News from JTCO
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

New article released!:

1) Edo Kumihimo: Tokyo Braided Cords [Chiba Pref.]
http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/japanese-crafts/?act=detail&id=199&p=12&c=32

You can see the history of Kumihimo (braided cords) starting from the
earthenware in the Jomon Period (Jomon means "rope patterns", 14,000BC
-300BC). The technique had improved with the development of
civilization and evolution and Kumihimo developed into a form like
Kyo-Kumihimo which shows the cultural elegance of the Kyoto dynasty
during the Heian Period (8-12c). In Kamakura Period (12-14c), it's
usage as an item of armor led to the improvement of practical
Kumihimo producing technique. In Edo Period (17-19c), Haorihimo
(cords for Kimono coats) production started. Kumihimo is made by
braiding silk strands with beautiful lustre and finished from one of
3,500 braiding methods. Nowadays it is still being used in a variety
of ways.

Translation by: Chan Yitin, reviewed by Yoshiko Nagao


2) Tsuzurenishiki-Ori: Tsuzurenishiki Weaving [Chiba Pref.]
http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/japanese-crafts/?act=detail&id=200&p=12&c=33

Tsuzurenishiki-ori is also called Tsuzureori. It originated in West
Asia, and it was discovered from the tomb of the Egyptian kings and
Altai. Later, it spread east and west. It is used in many parts of
the world, such as Copts (Egypt), tapestry (France) and gobelins
(France), which were the most primitive plain weave fabric.

Translation by: Yoko Hokari, reviewed by Chan Yitin


3) Kamogawa Maiwai Zome : Kamogawa Maiwai Dyeing [Chiba Pref.]
http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/japanese-crafts/?act=detail&id=201&p=12&c=37

The original meaning of Maiwai is a bumper catch. Gradually its
meaning changed to a costume to wear together to celebrate. To
distinguish the celebration between a normal bumper catch and an
extraordinary bumper catch, a hand towel is used when a normal
bumper catch whereas Maiwai is tailored when an extraordinary bumper
catch.

Translation: Hanae Sano, reviewed by Yoshiko Nagao


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