-･- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -･- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.
Kumamoto oyster is a native of Yatusshiro-kai (八代海, Yatsushiro Inland Sea) in Kumamoto Prefecture (熊本県) located in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu (九州).
I’m fond of oysters, and Kumamoto is one of my favorites.
Unfortunately, we cannot eat the oyster from Kumamoto now. All the available are from the West Coast of the United States or somewhere in Australia.
The smallest one is Kumamoto.
I had one for appetizer in the West Coast last month. Maybe due to quality control after picking, the oysters from Seattle I ate at an oyster bar in Roppongi (六本木) were better than that served at a restaurant in the new home of Kumamoto.
A manager of the oyster bar told me an interesting story about Kumamoto. He said that Douglas MacArthur (Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers) loved Kumamoto oyster and instructed aquaculturists in the West Coast to raise it, and it's still grown commercially in the States while it's not in Japan.
On the other hand, according to a blog named Kakipedia, MacArther who knew that cultured oysters were facing a crisis in the States because of oyster diseases asked Japanese government to export seed oysters to the States on October 1945, and the seed oysters in Kumamoto area were selected.
That night my heart went out to MacArthur for a while.
I checked HP of Kumamoto prefectural Fisheries Research Center, but I couldn’t confirm the relationship between the oyster and MacArthur.
However, it was true that from 1946 to 1958, oysters including seed oysters from Yatusshiro-kai were exported to the States. Then, Shikame-kaki (シカメ牡蠣: Crassostrea Sikamea), one of the exported seed oyster, was branded in the West Coast.
Good news for oyster-lovers!
Fisheries Research Center is now working towards aquafarming of Kumamoto. So, hopefully, we’ll enjoy the “made-in-Japan” Kumamoto sometime in the near future.