New Year’s Osechi Whose Importance of Colour is Based on the Theory of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements

Along with zouni, the food essential to New Year’s is osechi cooking. According to the previously mentioned “Kimura Uemon Memoranda”, the osechi of Masamune used a great variety of dishes: about 60 kinds. It had foods that are rare today like whale and swan, foods that were unobtainable in Sendai Provice like lobster, mullet roe, and oranges. For that time period, it was quite an extravagent menu. It was an osechi meal that is said to have gladly matched Masamune’s deep knowledge of cooking.
The colour scheme of the osechi cooking was also taken into consideration. Importance was placed on the five colours of white, yellow, green, red, and black. These five colors have their origin in the theory of yin-yang and the five elements. Samurai wisdom knew that by eating foods of these five colours, balanced nutrition could be gained.
As a warrior, the new year was a special and very important juncture. Having remained alive and uninjured from the previous year, he welcomed the new year with gratitude. He prayed to win and advance through battles as the current year continued, and at the same time offered up each day to the gods. The New Year’s cruisine of Masamune was not merely a luxurious and dazzling feast. It included the earnest hopes of a warrior.
What has been recreated here is 6 dishes from within that menu. The modernly indispensable red and white kamaboko was an expesive food in that time which only daimyo could eat.