Our Assistant Director, Ayako Mizumura, has given multiple lectures on Japanese vegetables. Below is some related material for those who want to explore this topic.
Our Center is based in Lawrence, Kansas, and as we've learned from experience, many vegetables popular in Japan can also be grown locally. The photos below are all of vegetables grown in Kansas gardens. Some will be quite familiar, while others would be hard to find in local grocery stores. Scroll down for photos, and more garden resources below.
Komatsuna, one of may types of Japanese greens you can grow at home.
Shiso, also called perilla, is an herb. Read more about how to use shiso!
A Japanese cucumber variety.
Daikon. Not a typical example, it often gets much larger.
Ichiban Type Japanese Eggplant
Goya, or Okinawa Bitter Melon.
Mizuna, or Japanese mustard greens.
A kabocha squash growing.
If you want to try adding some of these plants to your garden, try searching for seeds and plants online. While you can also find Chinese and Korean vegetable seeds online, Japanese varieties are especially popular in the United States, and many different types are widely available through commercial seed catalogs.
One good source for more information is the Kitazawa Seed Company. In addition to selling seeds, they offer considerable information about Asian vegetables in their online catalog, including identifying vegetables and vegetable varieties that are especially popular in different parts of East Asia, and explaining how they are most often used.
Want to improve your vegetable vocabulary? The Kitazawa catalog gives the names of many vegetables in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
For a handy list of vegetable names in Japanese, try this useful blog post about popular Japanese vegetables.