Fukuyama no Kuwai
Fukuyama no Kuwai
|Name of the GI||Fukuyama no Kuwai|
|Date of Protection||2020/06/29|
|Applicant – Name and Address||
Fukuyama City Agricultural Cooperative
2-7-1 Hanazono Town, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture
Fukuyama no Kuwai is a blue arrowhead characterized by its striking bright blue peel and excellent texture that is tender and moist. Fukuyama no Kuwai is highly desired as a lucky ingredient in Osechi (Japanese special dishes eaten for the New Year). Fukuyama no Kuwai has earned a good market reputation for its high quality, stable supply maintained over the long term, and exacting selection and sorting processes.
For the production of Fukuyama no Kuwai, the seed bulbs of an indigenous variety of blue arrowhead (1) are used. These are selected from the production area's prior year harvest and kept refrigerated until planting.
The production area of Fukuyama no Kuwai is Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture. Growers ensure that the crops have sufficient water throughout the cultivation period and, upon harvest, crops are washed twice to remove mud and debris. Crops are then sorted by quality and size, and those that do not meet specifications are not shipped.
Fukuyama no Kuwai cultivation reportedly began around 1902 when arrowheads were planted in the fertile moats surrounding Fukuyama Castle (2) in Fukuyama City. Fukuyama City has a mild climate and abundant sunshine typical of the Seto Inland Sea area, as well as a network of irrigation channels established in the Edo Period (3), making the area suitable for growing the water intensive blue arrowheads.
From around 1955, because of the symbolic Japanese custom of eating arrowheads for luck and success, it became widespread to consume them as part of New Year's holiday celebrations. This additional consumption resulted in an increased arrowhead production area mainly in the southern part of Fukuyama City.
In 1967, the Fukuyama no Kuwai Shipping Cooperative was established and soon implemented training sessions for improving cultivation skills. The cooperative also created programs for collective seed bulb cool storage and thorough compliance with shipping standards for long distance transportation and sales. These efforts helped arrowhead farmers to succeed in building a positive market reputation, making Fukuyama City the top producer.
As of 2016, the shipping volume of Fukuyama no Kuwai was 162 tons, accounting for 72.3 percent of arrowheads produced in Japan.
- Blue arrowhead: Whereas arrowheads are grown mainly for ornamental purposes in Europe and the United States, the tubers are eaten in Japan. Blue arrowhead is appreciated for its tall sprouts that are considered good luck and is also used as an ingredient in Japanese New Year dishes.
- Fukuyama Castle: A castle in Japan that was originally constructed in 1622 during the Edo Period. The ruins are designated a national historic site and, in 2006, Fukuyama Castle was selected as one of Japan's Top 100 Castles.
- The Edo Period: 1603-1867. It is a period of Japanese history characterized by the establishment of a shogunate (feudal military government) in Edo (now Tokyo). Political administration under the Tokugawa clan began when Tokugawa Ieyasu became the era's first shogun.