Within the icy, silver world of the northern coast of Sakhalin Island, an Ainu lady referred to as Asirpa sips a bowl of ohaw and whispers, “Hinna hinna.”
This scene is from the seventeenth quantity of the favored manga collection Golden Kamuy by Satoru Noda, printed by Shueisha. The story takes place within the northern lands of Hokkaido and Sakhalin in the course of the late Meiji period.
Ohaw means “heat soup” within the Ainu language, and hinna is an expression of gratitude for the meals.
Asirpa and her group board a ship belonging to the indigenous Nivkh individuals of Sakhalin and achieve searching a beluga whale that lives within the Sea of Okhotsk.
They gather driftwood for fireplace, and simmer the uncooked beluga whale meat in a big pot with different nutrient-rich elements, like potatoes, dried Siberian onion, and tender windflower.
The soup is flavored utilizing the miso supplied by Saichi Sugimoto, a hero of the Russo-Japanese Conflict and fellow adventurer, which Asirpa carries round in a magewappa field.
The piping sizzling Japanese-style kujira-jiru (whale soup) invigorates and warms the physique because the characters repeat “hinna hinna” to one another underneath the wintry sky.
Researching Ainu Tradition for the Manga
Every body of the manga is a product of scrupulous analysis by artist Satoru Noda. On the finish of the comedian e book is an extended bibliography of references about Ainu tradition, identical to in a tutorial paper.
When Noda’s manga acquired the twenty second Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Award in 2018, he described how he had a “humble perspective in the direction of the Ainu tradition, checking with consultants as typically as potential and refraining from assuming something” within the creation of his work.
In Golden Kamuy, the character Asirpa is commonly seen making ohaw from no matter blessing nature gives, whether or not by accumulating wild crops or searching wild animals in Hokkaido. Whale soup is likely one of the many dishes of the Ainu. “Whale” is humpe within the Ainu language, and, just like the Japanese, the Ainu have integrated whales into their lives.
Based on Yu Watanabe, a former curator of the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples in Abashiri and an professional on the connection between northern peoples and whaling, the Ainu individuals have historically used the meat and fats of beached whales as a supply of diet.
Non-edible components had been used too, so nothing went to waste. The beard was helpful as binding materials for the itaomachip (Ainu sewn-plank boat), and the muscle tissue and tendons close to the backbone had been was thread, string, and bowstring.
The Ainu in Hokkaido typically preserved whale meat by drying, however “northern peoples typically cooked whale meat by simmering as an alternative of roasting,” explains Watanabe.
Information of interviews by Russian researchers in the course of the early twentieth century present that the Nivkh individuals who lived on the coast of the Eurasian continent throughout the Sakhalin and the Strait of Tartary additionally most well-liked to eat the meat and fats of beluga whales that lived in components of the Sea of Okhotsk.
Hajime Ishikawa, a veterinarian who has researched whaling on the Institute of Cetacean Analysis for a few years and an professional on whale ecology says: “Beluga whales are broadly distributed, particularly within the Arctic Circle. Searching them is comparatively simple and so they represent a big portion of the northern peoples’ meals supply even right now. Beluga whales had been possible prized at the moment for his or her wealthy vitamin C content material.”
Showcasing Native Tradition, Ainu Historical past
Interviews with consultants have verified the spectacular historic report of the whale soup depicted within the manga, together with Asirpa’s searching and cooking strategies. All through the historical past of the northern peoples, the majestic whales have been a supply of the power and stamina wanted to courageous by means of the tough and unforgiving winters.
Manga artist Satoru Noda is from Kitahiroshima, Hokkaido. He began serializing Golden Kamuy in Weekly Younger Soar journal in 2014, and the story of treasure searching within the northern lands turned successful.
As of January 2021, the 24-volume collection has offered greater than 15 million copies. Its animé adaptation has led to an increase in vacationers visiting the places in Hokkaido that function in Golden Kamuy.
The collection can be acclaimed for its many depictions of the staple meals of the Ainu, Nivkh, and Russians that pique the reader’s curiosity for a style.
In July 2020, the Nationwide Ainu Museum opened in Shiraoi, Hokkaido, as an emblem of ethnic symbiosis and a facility to study Ainu historical past and tradition.
In response to the rising curiosity within the Ainu life-style and cultural arts, Hokkaido Ajinomoto in Sapporo Metropolis, an Ajinomoto Group affiliate, developed ohaw recipes with a contemporary twist utilizing Ajinomoto’s soup inventory to advertise Ainu tradition by means of meals. Now, Ainu dishes might be made simply at dwelling.
Making an attempt Out Ainu Delicacies
One in every of Ajinomoto’s eight recipes is a whale ohaw impressed by the cooking strategies of hen tatsuta and kenchin-jiru, that are acquainted dishes in Japanese households.
A registered dietitian of the corporate says that their hope is “to share easy recipes utilizing whale meat for the youthful technology,” particularly as a result of whale meat has grow to be accessible once more since business whaling resumed two years in the past.
The JAPAN Ahead crew took on the problem. Fortunately, all elements can be found at your common grocery store.
First, lower the Bryde’s whale meat into skinny slices and sprinkle them with cooking sake.
Soak the meat in soy sauce and ginger, then sprinkle with potato starch.
Slowly fry the meat till each side are browned.
Subsequent, shortly fry radishes, carrots, and burdock roots earlier than simmering.
Taste the soup with Ajinomoto soup inventory. Lastly, add the cooked whale meat to the soup and you’ve got Straightforward Whale Meat Ohaw.
After an extended and wintry day, the nutritious whale soup thaws away the chilly from the physique, drawing out a glad “hinna hinna” from the crew — it was all smiles across the desk.
Although the soup wasn’t an actual replication of their cooking strategies, the Ainu and Nivkh individuals will need to have rejuvenated their power in the identical manner in the course of the harsh winters.
Rejuvenating Advantages, Combating Dementia
Baleen whales spend six months feeding, then increase their younger within the subsequent six months, throughout which they hardly feed. They’ll migrate hundreds of kilometers repeatedly with out sleep.
The key of their power lies in a part referred to as “balenine,” which is considerable within the crimson meat from baleen whales. Latest research have proven that balenine helps fight fatigue in people.
The most recent analysis reveals that balenine can also be efficient in stopping dementia. The examine was performed by Professor Seiji Shioda of International Analysis Middle for Progressive Life Science, Peptide Drug Innovation, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hoshi College, and printed in the summertime of 2018. The findings point out a excessive chance that the consumption of whale meat extract containing balenine reduces stress, suppresses the development of dementia, and improves its signs.
“Experiments have proven that balenine consumption suppresses reminiscence loss in mice with Alzheimer’s illness. Additionally it is efficient for melancholy, bettering work effectivity, and bettering focus. We have to conduct large-scale scientific experiments for additional evaluation,” explains Professor Shioda.
He intends to analysis the impact of balenine on the immune system sooner or later.
Psychological stress and bodily fatigue have grow to be commonplace afflictions for the modern-day man, so psychological and bodily well being are essential for a productive tomorrow.
January to March is Japan’s entrance examination interval and will probably be particularly disturbing. Whale meat would possibly simply be the facility meals the scholars must get by means of.
The adventures of Ainu lady Asirpa and Saichi Sugimoto proceed in Golden Kamuy. What Ainu dish will make Asirpa say “hinna hinna” subsequent? I admit, I sit up for the meals as a lot because the story.
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(Learn the story in Japanese at this link.)
Writer: Masaaki Sasaki