Tradition and Japanese vegetables: history, locality, geography, and discursive ambiguity

Yuta Uchiyama, Yoshinori Fujihira, Hikaru Matsuoka, Ryo Kohsaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background Traditional vegetables are produced and consumed throughout Japan. Individual vegetables, including Kyo vegetables and Kaga vegetables, are individually defined with their own criteria for history and quality standards and are registered in their respective regions. Several traditional vegetables are utilized as symbols of regional revitalization. For example, Kaga vegetables are tourist attractions, and Noto vegetables are promoted in the Noto region and were registered under the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). Methods We will review the distribution, public standards, and definitions of dento-yasai, traditional Japanese vegetables. Quantitative analysis on the status of the branding of traditional vegetables will be conducted. Results First, the ambiguity and distribution of traditional vegetables are demonstrated. Next, as a case study, the results of a quantitative analysis of Kaga vegetables and Noto vegetables are provided. Kaga vegetables have their own quality standards and definition, and producers have acknowledged the positive impact of the regional certification, GIAHS, on the amount sold. However, a social conflict has been caused by their standards and definition. On the other hand, Noto vegetables do not have a strict quality standard, and they were registered relatively recently. Because of their comparatively lax standard, producers could not acknowledge the positive impacts of GIAHS certification. Conclusion Origins of traditional Japanese vegetables and relationships with their regions have innumerable ambiguous points. The results of the analysis of two types of traditional vegetables show that quality standards and definitions strongly influence branding and brand management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ethnic Foods
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep


  • brand product
  • definition
  • history
  • traditional vegetables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Anthropology


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