Konnyaku (processesed food)
Konnyaku, jellylike paste made from the bulb from the Japanese arum plant,
has a long history of cultivation in Jinseki-gun. It is said that the konnyaku of
Jinseki-gun originated in seed potatoes brought back by a farmer from Mito
after visiting Ise Shrine.
Extensive cultivation of konnyaku is said to have begun after Takedayu
Yoshioka, who lived in former Kurumi Village, Jinseki-gun (present
Jinsekikogen-cho), introduced an excellent species from Kyushu in 1808. In the
Tempo era (1830-1844), new processing techniques such as making kiribosi
(dried strips) and milling were introduced for the ease of shipping long distances,
and konnyaku cultivation became popular all over Jinseki-gun.
The amount of konnyaku production in Hiroshima Prefecture rapidly increased
from the late Meiji era to the Taisho era, and the amount equaled that of Gunma
Prefecture in the early Showa era.
During World War II, seed potatoes were reserved, and their use for cultivation
was restored on a larger scale than before, soon after the war. The amount of
production equaled 7,000 tons, from 700 hectares, in Jinseki-gun around 1955.
Various research projects for the improvement of konnyaku species and
cultivation techniques were developed to establish steady production.
Recently, the production of handmade "rural konnyaku" has become popular
as one of the leaders in the campaign to establish one product for each village.
A konnyaku field in the fourth year of cultivation, the harvest year (Photograph taken circa 1994)
In Hiroshima, konnyaku is eaten as an ingredient in various dishes, such as nishime, hassun and noppei.
People say, "Konnyaku removes sand in the body." "Removing sand" originates from the fact that konnyaku has the effect of adjusting the intestines and is effective against symptoms such as constipation.