Afghan oranges inherited from Japan

Mandatory Credit: Photo by GHULAMULLAH HABIBI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11149267c) An Afghan vendor sorts out oranges for sale at a wholesale market in the Bati kot district in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 04 December 2020. The orange fruit floods markets across Afghanistan due to bumper crop in the winter season. Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which may reduce severity of the common cold. Orange market in Afghanistan, Nangarhar Province - 04 Dec 2020
Translation / 翻訳

There was a Japanese who gave agricultural guidance in the 1930s around Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Dr. Tetsu Nakamura was shot death. Mitsuo Ozaki, a Japanese agricultural engineer, was dispatched to Afghanistan by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 1935 to provide guidance on tree planting, irrigation, and fruit tree cultivation, as well as citrus cultivation. The situation is detailed in “Afghanistan in the ’30s as seen by the Japanese” (published by Sekifusha, 2003).

Mitsuo Ozaki’s book

While trying various vegetables and fruits, Mr. Ozaki thought that citrus cultivation is the most promising in Jalalabad, where the altitude is relatively low and the temperature is warm in Afghanistan, so they sent mandarin orange seeds from Japan and grew them locally. I work with people to grow citrus fruits. The memorandum on October 7th and 8th, 1936 says, “Citrus cultivation is the most promising. I pour all my energy into growing them”. Jalalabad seems to be the best mandarin orange in eastern Afghanistan, so it may be that the mandarin oranges that Mr. Ozaki brought from Japan are inherited.

Currently, Afghanistan is suffering from drought, but it seems that the water in Jalalabad at that time was not abundant. Mr. Ozaki also stated that he was confused by the lack of water in Afghanistan, so he cultivated fruits such as pomegranates, grapes and melons on clay land and worked on observing the growing situation. It can be seen from the women’s letters that they were confused by the contact with indigenous people who have different religions and lifestyles. Even though it was in the highlands, they worked during the cool hours of the morning and evening because of the sunshine during the summer days.

AFG Jalalabad in eastern province of Ningarhar is home to some of the best oranges in eastern AFGHANISTAN.

According to Ms. Suzuko’s letter contained in the above book, there were 6 Japanese people other than the Japanese embassy staff in Kabul when Mr. and Mrs. Ozaki arrived. Thus, Afghanistan was a country unfamiliar to Japanese people with little exchange.

Jalalabad is 600 meters above sea level and is one of the lowest in Afghanistan, and is located at the transportation hub connecting Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and Peshawar, Pakistan where Alexander the Great and the Tang dynasty monk Xuanzang passed by.  During 19 century Afghan war, the base of the British army was set up.

Mr. Ozaki’s materials such as newspaper clippings collected in Afghanistan, literature, photographs, etc. have been released by the bereaved family since the 2001 Taliban War and are said to have high historical value. A homepage introducing achievements was also launched in 2007 by professor Hiroshi Kato of Hitotsubashi University.

Mr. Ozaki’s dispatch was a request from the Afghanistan government to the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at that time, but Afghanistan was a buffer state between the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom at that time, and the Japanese government needs to build a close relationship with Afghanistan especially in opposition to the Soviet Union. Was thought to be. The ingredients for making Japanese food were ordered from Bombay.

Mr Mitsuo Ozaki

Mr. Ozaki’s dispatch was introduced in the article “Hand of Technology to Extend to Afghanistan on the World Ridge” in the “Yomiuri Shimbun” dated August 24, 1935 on the homepage of Hitotsubashi University about Ozaki. From the title of the article, we can see how far Afghanistan was for Japan before the war. In the article, Afghanistan is described as “The kingdom is a plateau area of ​​900 meters above sea level (although the average altitude is higher), and as the Afghan government’s policy was to keep foreign powers out of the country, there was no railroad. It is said that oil and other mineral products are inexhaustible only in these mountainous countries, and Britain from the south and Russia (Soviet Union) from the north are aiming at it. In the wake of the dawn of the eastern Asia people, Japan has reached out to its true friendship. “

In these articles, it can be understood that Mr. Ozaki’s dispatch was an extension of the Great Asianism that Japan’s prewar right-wing forces such as Shumei Okawa advocated. Mr. Ozaki’s letter dated September 20, 1935 states that he was dispatched to join hands with Afghanistan’s friend, Afghanistan. The Indian Empire to the south of Afghanistan is a British colony, and Britain was also supporting the government of the Kuomintang of China. Japan had the intention of keeping the British Indian Empire in check, sandwiching the hostile China. Mr. Ozaki’s activities also show the state of the great game in the prewar world, but now Assistance to Afghanistan must be urgent, regardless of geopolitical considerations.

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