10460351_863201873707141_6651596866370913169_n

JAPAN: Square Watermelons Being Shipped Overseas

Yesterday, I wrote about the “Cool Japan” initiative whereby the Japanese government hopes to promote Japanese culture abroad.  That being said, we Westerners will soon see more of Japan without even venturing overseas. What is the next Japanese import you ask? How about square watermelons?

10460351_863201873707141_6651596866370913169_n

Summertime is the ideal time to enjoy the cool, sweet taste of watermelons and the Japanese farmers in the Kagawa prefecture are known to produce some of the sweetest watermelons available in the market. But for years, consumers have struggled with the task of fitting those large round melons in their refrigerators or other storage places; particularly in Japan where space is an issue in crowded areas and the refrigerators are smaller. However, the Japanese, who are known for their innovativeness and practicality have once again done the seemingly impossible. Square watermelons!

About 30 years ago, a farmer living on the island of Shikoku solved the problem. He conceived the idea of making a cube-shaped watermelon which could be packed, stored and served with great ease. Before a watermelon is fully grown, it is placed in a clear acrylic box which lets in light allowing the fruit to grow. As the melon grows, it gradually takes the shape of the box it is placed in.

square-watermelons-2010-4-28-17-31-14

weird-japan-018

Square watermelons or watermelons that have unusual shapes (Japan also sells heart-shaped watermelons) are sold in department stores at a cost of over 10,000 ¥ each (US$98). The production of square watermelons contributed to spiked maintenance and farming costs which resulted in the higher prices. Further, this makes the fruit appealing and available only to the wealthy and fashion-conscious people residing in large metropolitan areas like Tokyo and Osaka.

This year however, Japan will begin shipping their square watermelons overseas. Japanese agricultural officials stated that they have received 114 orders from Canada alone thus far. The Japanese Agricultural division wants to increase production capacity and expand the supply of square watermelons overseas. The square watermelons are scheduled to be shipped in mid-July. Will you try one?

8 comments

  1. It was only about 2 months ago that we had heard about square watermelons!! But apparently more common than we realised in Asian countries. We have never seen one ourselves other than in photos and sure they would taste just like normal watermelon (?)🙂

    1. These are just normal watermelons that have been grown in boxes to give them their square shape. They taste the same as any other watermelon. 🙂

  2. I just saw this same news on a Japanese news website. Pretty interesting. another interesting thing (slightly similar to this) is that some Japanese drinks are sold in square pet bottles. This means they are easier to pack and ship (they take up less space).

    Lastly, (and I am not trying to be picky or snotty, or anything bad, just informative, sorry) the Japanese price should be 10.000 (this is closer to one hundred dollars.

      1. Your comment was not taken in a rude manner – thanks for catching it. Sometimes when you look at an article too long, you miss the obvious….

  3. I remember seeing some square watermelons in Shibuya – that was certainly unexpected. It’s a bit cool to hear that there’s a practical reason for it.

  4. “Square Watermelons” wow, that is so weird. I never knew you could shape them. Still it is an amazing idea. I salute the innovative nature of the Japanese. They are technically so advanced. Thank you for sharing this amazing post with us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s