JOURNAL / JAPAN etc.(English)

JAPAN [Kochi]
Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens #27

KONATSU (Citrus tamurana)

Pruned to Maximize Leafy Shade


葉っぱで守りながら、美肌自慢の柑橘に 小夏
text by Michiko Watanabe / photographs by Daisuke Nakajima / English text by Susan Rogers Chikuba

Though the times are always changing, there are certain timeless ingredients from Japan that will never go out of style. Yukio Hattori, president of Hattori Nutrition College in Tokyo, introduces unique labors of love—items grown and produced with care and integrity by hardworking suppliers across the country.

Noboru and Hiroko Kawazawa came to their current profession rather late—post-retirement, in fact. The spirited couple have been growing konatsu citrus, better known in English as hyuganatsu, in Tosa, Kochi prefecture, for 12 years. Their fruit are characteristically sweet, juicy, and on the small side (fewer seeds that way), and the Kawazawas take pride in yielding citruses with smoothly textured skin.

“We prune so that the fruit grows well shaded by leaves,” Noboru explains.“Too much sun and the skin becomes pockmarked. Too much rain, and the fruit becomes more susceptible to disease. Its sugar content drops, too.”Noboru was a salaryman, but comes from a long line of scallion farmers. He says the first dozen years of retirement have flown by, and he’s eager to rise to a new challenge.


Set on a rise, the Kawazawas’ hothouses are drenched in hours of sunlight daily.


Mounds of soil beneath the trees enhance water drainage. 


(photo left)To keep the fruit from freezing in winter, a fan moves warm air through tubing laid between the rows. 
(photo right)Branches naturally lift the fruit up and out as it grows. Strings help to keep it shaded. 


Netting keeps pests out as it ensures airflow. 


(photo left) Thoughits flavor is the same, this fruit bears the telltale marks of having absorbed lots of sun. 
(photo right) Konatsu pith is sweet. Locals peel and eat the fruit much like an apple. 


Hiroko and Noboru Kawazawa.

◎Kochi Prefecture Agricultural District and Distribution
Support Division
c/o Kochi Prefecture Government Office
☎088-821-4806  Email: 160701@ken.pref.kochi.lg.jp

(The Cuisine Magazine /May 2018)