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Dec. 7, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Dec. 13, 2012

Satsuma Mandarins

The satsuma mandarin is a citrus fruit grown in Japan's warmer regions. Its perfect blend of sweet and sharp is loved by the Japanese, who consume 60 satsumas per person per year! This fruit was born in Japan around 400 years ago. Originally the seedlessness of the satsuma mandarin was considered inauspicious, but eventually it became widely cultivated. Prized as "orange diamonds" during the prosperous post-World War II era, satsumas eventually faced stiff competition from imported oranges. Japanese satsuma production shrank. But satsuma farmers didn't take this lying down. Methods that produce sweeter fruit, as well as techniques for accelerating the satsuma harvest, have helped growers to adapt to a changing market.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, our theme is satsuma mandarins. By looking at this iconic fruit, we'll find out more about food in Japan and recent developments in agriculture there.