YAMANASHI, Jul. 31 – A local agricultural cooperative in Yamanashi Prefecture has started to sell a limited number of “Yogen no momo,” a peach with an image of “Yogen no tori (a bird of prophecy)” on its skin to join the people who wish to stop the COVID-19 outbreak. Yogen no tori is a legendary creature in Japan, a two-headed bird that is said to keep illnesses away. The JA started to sell it sell as a new seasonal product to encourage the people suffering all over the country from the pandemic while promoting the consumption of the local summer fruits.
The JA Fruits Yamanashi used its patented technology to “print” the image on locally-grown “Natsukko” white peaches in high season. Approximately two weeks before harvesting, peach growers wrapped each of the fruit on the trees with a stocking with a light-blocking bird-shaped sticker to make the legendary bird appear clearly on the skin of the fruit.
A story of Yogen no tori was found in a journal called “Boshabyo Ryoko Nikki” written by a man in the late Edo period. The man named Kizaemon from the Ichigawa Village (current Yamanashi City in Yamanashi Prefecture) wrote in the diary that the mysterious bird with two heads, white and black, appeared in Kaga Province (current Ishikawa Prefecture), foretold the cholera outbreak next year, and said “those who gaze upon my image morning and night will be spared from this suffering.”
An official of the JA, Mariko Aoki, said, “Some people are feeling down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope our Yogen no momo will make them feel better.”
Yogen no momo is available at JA Fruits Yamanashi’s two farmers’ markets, Yawata Shop in Yamanashi City and Katsunuma Shop in Kofu City, by mid-August. The price of the specialty peach starts at 1000 yen each. (JA Fruits Yamanashi)