The story of an Edo kid who can eat vegetables Edo Tokyo is back before the Olympics

Historical culture of Edo and Tokyo from an agricultural perspective

Pumpkin Naito

Not enough vegetables in Edo, the largest city in the world

When Ieyasu Tokugawa opened the Shogunate in Edo, he needed a workforce to build the city. As a result, many people began to move out of the entire Kanto region in search of work, and the population eventually increased to 1 million. Edo has grown to be one of the largest cities in the world, but on the other hand, the shortage of food, especially fresh vegetables, which could cover such a large household, has become a serious problem. important.
When a change of attendance system was established and local lords had to live in Edo every year, they appealed to farmers to obtain vegetable seeds from the national license and called the Shimoyashiki (vegetable garden and garden). ). It comes to growing vegetables by (acts like). Later, these things were passed on to the surrounding farmers, and vegetables bearing the land name or associated name were born.

Pumpkin Naito and Naito togarashi grow in Shinjuku

Example: “Naito Pumpkin”. This was done by the feudal lord Shinano Kuni Takato, Naito Wakasa no Kami, at the current Shimoyashiki of Shinjuku Gyoen, and eventually became a specialty of the post office town of Naito Shinjuku. The production area expanded to the surrounding Kakushoku and Yodobashi, and it was called “Kakushoku Pumpkin” or “Yodobashi Pumpkin”.
“Naito Togarashi”, also created by the Naito family, is said to have grown so much that the field looks bright red, and is also used in “Yakukenbori”, synonymous with Shichimi chili.
Today, in the city of Shinjuku, a new city center with a forest of ultra-modern skyscrapers, once featured pumpkins and pearls.
Also, the vegetables made in Edo, such as Nerima Daikon, which are related to the 5th Shogun Tsunayoshi and Komatsuna, which are related to the 8th Shogun Yoshimune, have lots of interesting stories and each one is very unique.

Edo souvenir on vegetable seeds purchased from Taneya Kaido

In addition, the former Nakayama Road (currently around Kita Ward, Toyoshima Ward, Nerima Ward, and Itabashi Ward) running north of Edo Castle is also called “Taneya Kaido”, and there are many shops selling seeds. vegetable varieties. In some cases, daimyo, his servants and visitors to Edo bought vegetable seeds as “Edo’s souvenirs” and brought them back to their hometowns to grow into traditional vegetables in the region. This seed shop highway business continued until the Taisho period, and it seems that the seed dealers were thriving.
In this way, the large city Edo nurtured Japan’s rich culinary culture, and its traditional vegetables were inherited in Tokyo after the Meiji era.

Revival of Edo Tokyo Vegetable

Terashima eggplant

Traditional vegetables are revived by children

Since the 1970s, the first generation hybrids with high yield (hybrids, F1) have been developed and put into circulation. Thereafter, the traditional inefficient vegetables in Tokyo are no longer produced and disappear from the market one by one. It’s the kids that gave him a great chance to come back.
When the Basic Food Education Law came into effect in 2005, those involved in food education focused on traditional vegetables integrated with the region’s culinary history and culture. With the cooperation of farmers, cultivation training was introduced at elementary schools in various regions of Tokyo, and children began to grow traditional vegetables.

With culinary education activities

Shinagawa Cub (Shinagawa ward) in 2008, Terashima Nas (Sumida ward) in 2009, Sunamura Sansaku Carrot 2010, Sunamura Ippon Negi (Koto ward), Aomu Mikawashimana (Arakawa ward) in 2011) Was revived respectively at schools primary school in each ward. In response, in 2011, the JA Tokyo Central Association decided to use the name “Edo Tokyo Vegetables” as the general term for these traditional vegetables.
Since then, active efforts have been made at the Hachioji city elementary and middle schools, and this culinary education has spread throughout Tokyo.

Ingredients to enjoy the added value of a story

Vegetables in Edo Tokyo, which have been known in the renaissance drama for the past 10 years, are high value-added ingredients that allow you to savor the delicious historical information along with the way of cooking. , people’s thoughts and stories about food. Based on this recognition, the demand for “I definitely want to buy” is increasing every year from restaurants in each of Tokyo’s regions, upscale stores and well-known stores in the city center.
In addition, the number of opportunities in the media and culinary-related events is increasing rapidly, and it is often presented at Olympic-related events. It also plays a role as a “hospitable ingredient” and “taste of Tokyo” for visitors from all over Japan and abroad.
And there is plenty of hope from those involved in production and distribution to make the Olympic and Paralympic beginnings a new and pervasive start.

Great source of vitality for urban and community development

In Tokyo, which is booming ahead of the big global event called the Olympics and Paralympic, vegetables in Edo Tokyo can be enjoyed either because you’re in this city or because you’ve visited this city in autumn. attract attention and show signs of revival.
However, I think this can be done not only in Tokyo but also with traditional vegetables in other regions. By harvesting and making use of the traditional vegetables that have their own histories and traditions and circulate them in their lives, it will be a great source of vitality for future urban and regional development. hybrid.

Reference: Edo Tokyo Vegetables / Story (Michishige Otake / Written by Institute of Agricultural Research)