Animals were bred for food in Japan since the antiquity, but 1300 years ago, after Buddhism became the state religion, the Emperor Tenmu issued an edict forbidding animal breeding for meat. The meat consumption was still allowed, and the hunting was permitted, but eating meat was considered a disagreeable habit.
However, some lords realized that by eating meat their warriors will be stronger… The lord from Satsuma (a domain in Kagoshima, on the Kyushu Island), brought home several Berkshire pigs after invading the Ryukyu Kingdom (today’s Okinawa), and 300 years before the ban was lifted, the people from Satsuma started breeding them. In time, a new breed was developed, known today as the “Kagoshima black pig", Kagoshima Kurobuta.
The breed was continually improved and is today a true delicacy and the pride of Kagoshima prefecture. I’ve learned that, compared to other pork, the fat of Kagoshima Kurobuta has a higher melting point, is non-sticky and has a light, crisp flavor… And from my own experience I can tell you that it’s all true, it is juicy, tender and flavored.
Actually, the best ramen I have eaten so far was the Satsuma ramen from this photo…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: