Sanada Yukimura looks so spiffy in paisley!

Sengoku Period Art of Survival

1. Surviving without a pot or kettle
When at war, we must steam rice even without a pot or kettle.
As a method for making steam rice in times of emergency, let’s effectively use things close at hand. The way is no doubt well-informed.
Put rice into a hand towel and wet it well with water. Dig a hole in the ground, and bury the rice filled towel. Cook it by lighting fire on top of that. If you don’t have a towel, a straw or goza mat can be used instead to cook it in the same way. You should remember how to light a fire as common knowledge.

2. The Dangerous Trap of Raw Rice
In times of emergency, how should we eat raw rice?
In the feild, long rains were a powerful enemy. There were also times when there was no fuel, or they couldn’t use a fire. In the Warring States Period, there were times when they had to eat raw rice because they couldn’t use a fire. But however hungry you are, I can’t recommend raw rice. Immediately, you will get a stomachache. When you must eat raw rice so matter what, there is nothing to do but eat it after soaking it in water for about four hours. It’s said that at the Battle of Sekigahara, the Sengoku warriors who couldn’t wait four hours for their hunger being so fierce, were altogether sick in thier bowels. A simple but lengthy method to try.

3. Seasonings During War Time
During a battle, something even more frightening than running out of rice was a shortage of salt. Of course rice, but also foods like miso with a high salt content had to be carried in a portable to war. This, too, was one way to make war. Take, for example, miso. Potato stalks could be soaked and boiled together with miso and rolled into a cord shape. Also, vegetables like dried daikon could be boiled and dried with the same method. Or a board could be coated in miso. Such sun dried items could be easily carried to the battlefeild.
After being coated in miso, dried vegetables could be chewed on straight like that or they could be put in hot water to make miso soup. It’s just like modern instant miso soup.
Furthermore, when their opponent was far off, or it seemed it would be a long battle, generals of the Warring States Period slightly altered this portable method.





Chestnut Rice and Pickles. This was actually my dinner. I live a decadent life.

Food List of Warring States Samurai: What they had and lacked.

Had: Burdock, Daikon Radish, Shiitake, Matsutake Mushroom, Root Veggies (Taro), Green Onion, Garlic Chive, Soybean, Adzuki Bean, Perilla Melon, Spinach, Angelica Parsley, and many others.
Lacked: Chinese Cabbage (Began to be fully cultivated after the Russo-Japanese War), Sweet Potato (Began to be cultivated at Tanegashima after the start of the Edo Period), Potato (There are records of their cultivation during the latter part of the Edo Period)
Had: Sardine, Mackerel, Sea Bream, Salmon, Octopus, Squid, Loach, Orient Clam, Shijimi Clam, Abalone, Oyster, Seaweed, and many others.
Lacked: Fugu (Prohibited as a food from the Muromachi Period until the Meiji Period when Itou Hirobumi gave a special order)
Had: White Rice, Brown Rice, Wheat, Udon Noodles, Rice Bran, Japanese Millet, Italian Millet, etc.
Limited: Buckwheat (In this period, it was eaten as buckwheat dumplings or buckwheat mash)
Had: Boar, Deer, Pheasent, Crane, Rabbit, Racoon Dog, etc.
Lacked: Chicken, Horse, Cow (excepted Takayama Ukon and his ilk)
Had: Persimmon, Chestnut, Peach, Pear, Chinse Plum, Apricot, Japanese Plum, Walnut, Loquat, etc.
Manufactured Foodstuff
Had: Natto, Tofu, Umeboshi, Salt Fish, Pickles, Kinako, etc.
Had: Miso, Salt, Rice Yeast, Sake, Sugar, etc.
Limited: Soy Sauce (First makes an apperance in the “Setsuyou-shuu Ekirin-hon” published in 1597. Maybe the latter Warring States Period had it?)


Mitsunari, who turned down dried persimmons out of health concerns even at the point of death

Ishida Mitsunari (1560-1600)
Ishida Mitsunari was born in Oumi Province as the second son of Ishida Masatsugu. His childhood name was Sakichi.
He served Hideyoshi as a page. He served Hideyoshi as cheif commander during the campaign to attack Chuugoku. Since Hideyoshi become the shogun, Mitsunari too rose prominence as his close associate.
He was selected as one of the five commissioners. Excelling at dealing with paperwork, he worked hard as Hideyoshi’s right-hand man. After Hideyoshi’s death, he was the main actor countering against the influence of Tokugawa, but lost at the Battle of Sekigahara. He used a crest depicting “大吉大一大万”. It means, “One for all and all for one, then we shall have world peace.”

Picture Caption: The three cups of tea offered to Hideyoshi and the dried persimmons he declined to eat
Above: The three cups of tea of carefully considered warmth and thickness offered to Hideyoshi, that caused him to make Mitsunari an officer.
Below: Mitsunari was mistaken about the effect of dried persimmons.

After this, Mitsunari was sentenced to die in the Capital. While on the way to the execution grounds, feeling thirsty he said, “I’d like some hot water.” Since there was no hot water, it seems the guardman gave him some dried persimmons. Upon this, he refused them saying, “I cannot eat dried persimmons since they become poisonous phlegm.” Mitsunari worried over his own health unchangingly, even as the moment of death was upon him. The people around him laughed, “This is a man whose head is about to be severed. There’s no way such poison would have time to take effect.” But Mitsunari gave this refutation.
“For the hearts of the small men who criticize me that is quite right. However, those who embrace great ambitions hold their lives dear until the very moment their neck is severed. I think it is because they still desire to accomplish their dream somehow.”
About dried persimmons, Mitsunari’s understanding was mistaken. It was thought that phlegm was a disease of the respitory system such as asthma, and dried persimmons had an effect on that. Persimmons are high in Vitamin A and C and potassium, and thus have very high nutritional value. Also, the white powder that develops on the surface has an effect of easing coughing. None the less, we should follow the example of the indomitable spirit of Mitsunari, who was careful about what he ate until the moment of his death, refusing to give up on his great dream for the revival of the House of Toyotomi.

Recipe: Nira Rice
Ingredients: Garlic leeks (nira), Cold rice
Directions: Boil normal chopped nira in a broth of bonito and konbu. When the nira is cooked, add in miso and cold rice and boil.


熱さや濃さの なる「3杯の茶」で秀吉をもてなしたことが士官のきっかけとなる(上)。




Concerned with what he ate until the moment of his death
Ishida Mitsunari

Picture Caption: Nira (Chinese Chive) Rice
While fleeing, his abdomen damaged, Mitsunari suffered from geri. The Jouzan Kidan says that Mitsunari, upon consuming the nira rice prepared by Tanaka Yoshimasa, threw himself down and slept soundly snoring. It’s because nira rice has the effect of mitigating stomache pain.

During a meal, the living styles and beliefs of those eating are projected. As the only one of the five commissioners in the Toyotomi administration who worked hard, Mitsunari became the losing general during the great defeat at the decisive battle of Sekigahara. Come see how he lived in this book “The Food of Samurai.”

He recovered from abdominal pain by eating nira rice
Due to his victory at the Battle of Sekigahara, the hegemony of the representative general of the eastern army, Tokugawa Ieyasu, become rock solid and heralded the demise of the Toyotomi period. However there was one man who refused to give up until the very end, who devoted himself steadfastly to the House of Toyotomi. That man was Ishida Mitsunari.
Mitsunari, as the brains behind the Toyotomi administration, primarily showed an extraordinary shrewdness as the face of the administration. His wisdom is illustrated in the anecdote of his meeting with Hideyoshi.
While falconing, Hideyoshi rested at the temple on the way. In order to quench his thirst, he called for some tea. The one serving him was Mitsunari, at that time 14 or 15 years old. Mitsunari first served an easy to drink “weak tea in a large bowl.” When Hideyoshi requested tea once again, Mitsunari served a second cup of “slightly hot tea in a mid-sized bowl,” and a third cup of “hot thick tea in a small bowl.” Hideyoshi was so impressed by such modest thoughtfulness that he immediately took Mitsunari into his attendance.
Let us return to the story of the Battle of Sekigahara. Even after his defeat, Mitsunari, who prayed for security of the House of Toyotomi, never let his belief waver. There are two episodes relating to food that symbolize this.
After Mitsunari was captured by Tanaka Yoshimasa, he requested nira rice in response to Yoshimasa’s desire to serve him a last meal. Nira helps the digestive system work, improves circulation, and has a warming effect on the body, so it has been used since olden times for indigestion and over sensitivity to the cold. Furthermore, since the fragrant compound of allyl sulfide aids in the absorption of Vitamin B1 and promotes the break down of sugars, nira works to advance the regeneration of energy. In reality, Mitsunari was tormented by intense abdominal pain and suffered from geri during his flight. In other words, it was not at all with the spirit of being a last meal, but for the sake of easing stomach pains and maintaining high spirits that he ate nira rice.

Menu: Nira Rice, Pickles
Ingredients: Nira (Garlic Chives), White rice






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.


Date Masamune (Vol. 3)
Over 60 New Year’s dishes!
Generals of the Warring States period also ate New Year’s soups and crusine. This time we recreate the New Year’s meal of the lord of Sendai Province, Date Masamune. With what kinds of food did Masamune, who is said to have had a deep knowledge of cooking, welcome the New Year?

Picture Caption: Date Masamune’s New Year’s Soup and Cruisine
The closer tray holds ozouni soup and unrefined sake. The farther tray holds 6 New Year’s dishes. According to historical records, Masamune’s New Year’s meal had over 60 dishes with many various ingredients and cooking methods. It was a menu festive to the eye and very extravagent. This time, we recreate one part of that meal.

Menu: Ozouni soup, boiled abalone, dried sardines, red and white kamaboko, herring roe, boiled burdock
Ingredients: Tofu, mochi, taro, giant radish, burdock, abalone, greens, sea cucumber, herring, rape stems, anchovy, kamaboko, herring roe

Zouni soup was originally a samurai’s new year’s crusine.
The custom of zouni started in the Muromachi period and had diffused to nearly the entire country as New Year’s crusine by the Sengoku period. Welcoming the Spirit of the Year on New Year’s, the energy of the spirit could be received through eating it as zouni while offering the local harvest of the sea and mountain. Originally, zouni (lit. various things-boiled) was called houzou (lit. boiled-various things). “Hou” means “to boil”. It probably came to be called that as it was a dish made of various ingredients like mochi, vegetables, and seafood.
Well, the zouni recreated this time is the one of the Lord of Sendai Province, Date Masamune. It has 8 ingredients of abalone, herring, sea cucumber, giant radish, burdock, tofu, black beans, and rape stems. The mochi is square mochi. This recipe is preserved in a document called the “Kimura Uemon Memoranda (A Record of the Words and Deeds of Date Masamune)” which was recorded by a page during the last years of Masamune’s life.
The “Cooking Vocabulary” which was published in the 20th year of Kan`ei (1643), roughly the same period as the death of Masamune (1636), also has a method for making zouni. It says to “make it with the lees of miso. Add in mochi, tofu, potato, giant radish, sea slug, abalone, flat bonito, and greens,” and resembles the zouni made by Masamune.
What was originally crusine of warrior society, zouni widely diffused to the common people in the Edo period. The “Morisada Mankou” which comments of the customs of common people of the Edo period also talks about zouni. It says that the zouni of Osaka was made with round mochi and miso and used taro corm, tofu, white radish, and abalone. In Edo, it was made with a square mochi and a clear soup and used spinach and bonito. Already in the Edo period, there were local varieties of zouni.

Recipe: Zouni
Ingredients: tofu, mochi, taro, white radish, abalone, greens
Directions: Boil the ingredients in a stock made of goby fish and bonito. Add the ingredients in order of the taro, white radish, abalone, tofu, green, and grilled mochi. (As you like, it is fine to add in sea cucumber, herring, and rape stem.)