Season for Satsuma and Sumo!
When I saw Sumo oranges at the supermarket in the US a few years ago for the first time, I
thought “ Wow! Americans call デコポン（ Dekopon) “ Sumo”? Whoever named this
distinctively shaped tangerine “ Sumo” is a genius! Easy to peel, big and shaped just like a
Then I found another orange ” Satsuma”.
I never knew that みかん（mikan) is called “ Satsuma” in the US.So I did a little research. I
mean I googled it. Here is the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_unshiu .
It was brought to Louisiana in 1878 from Satsuma and therefore they named these oranges
Here is some more Satsuma trivia:
There are 4 towns named “Satsuma” in the US!
Satsuma, Alabama, Satsuma, TX, Satsuma FL and Satsuma, LA.
They all grow Satsuma oranges.
When I started dating my future husband in Osaka in the early 90’s, one of his jobs was
promoting US Beef and Oranges. Even I remember how aggressive the US was to open the
Japanese market to export their beef and oranges. The media called it “牛肉オレンジ問題”（
the problem of beef and oranges).
He told me that the Japanese diplomats were saying “ Japanese people have shorter
intestines so it would be hard to digest US beef. Funny! I love that Japanese diplomats were
trying to save the Japanese farmers with such a stupid excuse. Many people still say “our
Mikan are simply much better tasting than your oranges”. (My husband actually agrees with
this one. Although he and I disagree that there is a big difference between California- and
Japanese-grown rice! To me, rice is something you have to grow up eating every day in
order to understand the difference in quality.)
When I was small, mikan and apples were the only fruits we ate during the winter. I used to
eat 5 or 6 mikans at one time until my hands became yellow!
But you have to be careful eating ‘Sumo” because they are so sweet which means more
calories and more sugar.
If you have a chance to visit Japan, I strongly recommend visiting any department store’s
basement floor..You can find all kinds of food such as sushi, bento, cakes and fruits etc.
Japan has struggled economically for the last 30 years but you will be surprised with the high
prices of some of the fruit!