Interview Vol.3 Team Makino代表 熊澤秀治 | Hideharu Kumazawa, the representative of “Team Makino”

35年以上、ずっと探していた高知の伝統野菜
This is about the traditional vegetable of Kochi, I have been looking for, for over 35 years

高知県高知市の潮江という地区で代々続く農家に生まれた熊澤秀治さん。おいしい野菜づくりを追究し、2006年に「潮江旬菜(うしおえしゅんさい)」のブランドを起ち上げました。土壌や肥料、温度管理など栽培技術にこだわった野菜づくりに有名シェフが惚れ込み、「こんな野菜をつくってほしい」と求められる品種の少量生産も手掛けています。

そんな熊澤さんが高知の伝統野菜に興味をもったのは今から35年以上前のこと。同県出身の作家・宮尾登美子氏のエッセーに、熊澤さんが住む潮江地区と同じ名前の「うしおえかぶ」という作物が載っていたことがきっかけでした。

「ずっと探していたんですよ。父親や知人に聞いてもわからず、県立牧野植物園に問い合わせたり、専門書をあたったり。すると、うしおえかぶは潮江菜(うしおえな)と呼ばれるものと同じで、日本最古の葉野菜ではないかとされているとわかりました。さらに気になって、伝統野菜についての論文を読んだりもしていました」

Hideharu Kumazawa was born in a farmer's family that has been living in the Ushioe area of Kochi, Kochi Prefecture for generations. He launched a brand named “Ushioe-shunsai” (meaning, seasonal vegetables in Ushioe”) in 2006. He is very particular about his cultivation techniques, such as with soil, fertilizers and temperature control. Many famous chefs are charmed by his vegetables that are full of passion, and he also accepts small-scale orders from them.

He had an interest in the traditional vegetable of Kochi for more than 35 years. He found out about a crop in an essay by the writer, Tomiko Miyao, from Kochi. The crop was of “Ushioe-kabu (Ushioe turnip),” which has the same name as the place he was living in.

“I'd been looking for it for a long time. I asked my father and friends about it. They couldn't tell what it was really like, but I never gave up trying to find out. While I tried to ask about it at the Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden or tried to learn about it by reading some technical books, I finally got the answer. “Ushioe-kabu” is the same vegetable as one called “Ushioe-na(Ushioe green vegetable),” which was considered to be the oldest vegetable in Japan. I became deeply curious and tried to read some monographs about traditional vegetables.”

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運命の引き合わせ!?
日本の植物学の父・牧野博士の残した伝統野菜
What a quirk of fate!?
The traditional vegetable left by the “Father of Japanese Botany,” Dr. Tomitaro Makino

一方、高知県出身で、世界的な植物学者に牧野富太郎博士(1862-1957)という人物がいます。命名した植物は1500種類以上、収集した標本は約40万枚に及び(高知県立牧野植物園サイトプロフィールより)、「日本の植物分類学の父」と呼ばれる権威です。(高知県立牧野植物園は牧野博士の業績を顕彰する施設です)

その牧野博士が地元高知の伝統野菜のタネを採取し、保管するように農業高校の教諭だったお弟子さんに指示をしていました。そのお弟子さんが2011年に亡くなり、ご子息はそのタネを託せる人を探していたそうです。そんなとき、熊澤さんの野菜づくりを紹介する新聞記事が掲載され、「この人になら」と牧野博士ゆかりのタネが2014年に熊澤さんのもとにやってきたのでした。

なんとそのなかに、潮江菜のタネがあったのです。

「もう鳥肌もんでしたね」

There was a Japanese botanist from Kochi Prefecture called "The Father of Japanese Botany," Dr. Tomitaro Makino (1862-1957). He was a pioneer and a world-famous botanist.

According to the records kept in the Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden, the public facility honoring him for his great achievements, there are more than 1,500 kinds of plants named by him, and he collected about 400,000 botanical specimens. Dr. Makino collected the seeds for traditional vegetables here in Kochi, and instructed his disciple, who was a teacher at an agricultural high school, to preserve them. The disciple passed away in 2011, and his son had been looking for someone to entrust the seeds with. One day, he happened to read an article in the newspaper about the cultivation method of Kumazawa, and thought that he was the very person he was looking for. That is how the precious seeds of Dr. Makino finally came to him in 2014, and he unexpectedly found the seed of Ushioe-na among them!

“It gave me goose bumps!” he says.

 日本最古の葉野菜といわれる潮江菜(うしおえな) “ Ushioe-na ”-said to be Japan's oldest leaf vegetable.

日本最古の葉野菜といわれる潮江菜(うしおえな)
Ushioe-na”-said to be Japan's oldest leaf vegetable.

牧野野菜の復活のために「Team Makino」を結成
A group named “Team Makino” forms to revive “Makino-yasai (Makino's vegetables)”

姿形も味もわからず、長年、恋いこがれていた!?潮江菜との出会いは熊澤さんにとって、とても刺激的だったそうです。

「伝統野菜って、おいしくないからなくなったと思っていたんですよ。でも食べてびっくりしました。すごくおいしくて」

潮江菜以外に託されたタネはカブ、大根、高菜、もち菜、大豆、いんげん、ねぎ、ナス、きゅうり、麦、米、きびなど約50種以上。

「とてもひとりでは管理できないと思って、農家や料理人の仲間に声をかけて、なんとなくグループが形成されはじめたんです」

そして2016年6月、「牧野野菜」と命名した伝統野菜の復活に取り組む正式な団体として「Team Makino」が結成されました。


He couldn't even imagine the form, shape or taste of Ushioe-na, and the miraculous encounter with the seed was really exciting for him.

“I thought that traditional vegetables fell into decay and vanished because they weren't delicious, but no, not really. They are really delicious!”

Over 50 kinds of seeds came to him, in addition to Ushioe-na, for turnips, a radish called “Takana,” a brassica rapa called “Mochi-na,” soy beans, kidney beans, green onions, eggplants, cucumbers, wheat, rice and millet.

“There are too many, and I can't keep them all by myself, so I tried to reach out to my friends, farmers, cooks or chefs, and a team began to form naturally.”

In June, 2016, “Team Makino” was officially formed as a group rebuilding the traditional vegetables named “Makino-yasai (Makino's vegetables).”

残さなければ、と思う「牧野野菜」の味
The delicate taste of “Makino-yasai” that is worth handing down to the next generations

有名シェフからも支持される野菜をつくる熊澤さんに、驚くほどおいしいといわしめる「牧野野菜」の味とは、いったいどんなものなのでしょうか?

「“野菜本来の味”“味が濃い”という風にいわれることもあるけれど、それってどういう味と思います? 味の表現ってわかりにくいなあと思うのですが、決定的に違うのはアミノ酸量。つまり、うまみが際立ってますね」

実際、どのような栄養成分が含まれているか、専門機関での調査を進めているそうです。

それにしても、どうしてそんなにおいしい野菜が栽培されなくなったのでしょうか。

「いろんな理由があると思いますよ。時間と手間がかかることもひとつですね。いちばん面倒なのはタネ採りをしないといけないこと。タネが採れる半年くらいの間は畑を占領されるんですよ。畑がもったいないよね。うちもそんなことはできないから、別にタネ採り用のハウスを建てたんですよ。若い頃からタネっていうのは買うものだと思っていたから」

熊澤さんの話によると、タネ屋が盛んになったのは江戸時代に参勤交代が始まってから。日本中のいろんな野菜が江戸に集まるようになり、江戸から地元に帰る人たちがタネを買って帰るため、街道筋にはいろんなタネ屋ができたそうです。

牧野野菜にも、高知以外から持ち込まれた野菜があります。「山内家伝来だいこん」や「もち菜」は土佐藩の藩主・山内家が生まれの尾張から持ち込んだもので、愛知の伝統野菜「方領だいこん」「正月菜」とルーツが同じとされています。

Even he was surprised at the amazing taste of Makino-yasai, and this feeling is also strongly supported by famous chefs. So, what is the taste like?

“Sometimes some people describe the taste like this: ‘an original flavor of vegetables’ or ‘rich in flavor’, but I wonder what the flavor is really like? Using the right phrase to describe taste is difficult, but I can say there's a definite difference between ordinary vegetables and Makino-yasai. It's the amount of amino acids. I mean, the taste of Makino's is incomparably excellent!”

Actually, he has already started to investigate what types of nutrient components are contained in them. I have a question here. Why did people stop making such delicious vegetables?

“I think there are a few reasons. That it takes a lot of time and labor to grow them is one of the reasons. The hardest work is gathering the seeds, and I have to spend most of my time doing this in my fields; it takes about half a year. I've been trying in vain to figure out how to use the field like that, and then I built another greenhouse only for gathering seeds. When I was young, I thought that it was pretty common to buy them in stores.”

He says that seed shops have become popular since Sankin Kotai (Daimyo's alternate-year residence in Edo) started in the Edo period. Many kinds of seeds gathered in Edo (Tokyo) from all over Japan. People returning home bought the seeds, and seed shops grew in number along the road as a result.

Some Makino-yasai are from outside Kochi: “Yamanouchi-ke denrai daikon (the radish handed down in the Yamanouchi family)” and “Mochi-na (the traditional leafy green vegetable of Aichi)” were brought to Tosa (Kochi) by the Yamanouchi family: the Lord of Tosa Domain from Owari (Aichi). Owari was the homeland of the Yamanouchi family. Those vegetables are said to have the same origins as “Houryo-daikon (Houryo radish)” and “Shogatsu-na (Shogatsu green vegetable),” the traditional vegetables of Aichi Prefecture.

 潮江菜(うしおえな)“ Ushioe-na ”

潮江菜(うしおえな)“Ushioe-na

 山内家伝来大根(やまのうちけでんらいだいこん) “ Yamanouchi-ke denrai daikon ”

山内家伝来大根(やまのうちけでんらいだいこん) “Yamanouchi-ke denrai daikon

長い長い歴史をかけて残ってきた伝統野菜
Traditional vegetables that survived from the distant past

昔の人がおいしいから、と持ち帰ったものがいまの伝統野菜につながっていると思うと面白いですね。

「江戸時代やそれより以前は、お米や野菜はものすごく大切な食料で、もっと切迫していたと思うんです。今の感覚では、ちょっとわからないところもあるかなとは思いますが、潮江菜のおかげで、見えてきたこともあります。

なぜこんなにおいしいんだ?なんでこんなにアミノ酸量が豊富なんだ?と一生懸命想像して考えてみると、昔は調味料がなかったんですよね。肉や魚もそんなにしょっちゅうは食べていない。だから、うまみのあるおいしい野菜を残そう、残そうとしてきたんだと思う。

もうひとつ、今のような医療もないですよね。薬草はあったけど、普通の人はそうそう扱えないし、薬は高価だったし。ということは、薬効成分の高い野菜を自然に残してきたんじゃないかとも思うんです」

現代の品種改良という発想ではなく、「これを食べると元気になるから」「あの地域の人たちはすごく元気だ」というようなことが何百年も繰り返され、長い歴史をかけて選抜され残ってきたのが伝統野菜なのではないかと熊澤さんは考えています。

「そう考えると、残さないといけないと思うんです」

It sounds interesting that some people from the past took vegetables home with them because they were really good, and have connected to the traditional vegetables of today.

He says, “I suppose rice and vegetables were valuable food, and the situation was more pressing in the Edo period and even before that than we imagined. It can be hard for us to really understand what the real conditions were like, but thanks to Ushioe-na, something has become clear. I tried very hard to imagine why they were so delicious and rich in amino acids, and I've finally arrived at some answers. I found that people weren't used to a lot of seasonings. They couldn't eat meat and fish very often, so they tried to pass on delicious vegetables to the next generations. Another thing was that they couldn't get medical treatment at that time. I can imagine they could brew medicinal herbs, but ordinary people couldn't use them a lot, because they must have been very expensive. That's why people have handed down these vegetables that have many medicinal properties down for posterity naturally, I think.”

This isn't the same as the idea of trying to develop many varieties of vegetables, as we do now. For example, people in old times might have experienced or heard something like this: “This is an energy vegetable,” or “People living in that area are in good health from eating that vegetable!” These things have been repeated over and over for hundreds of years. Ushioe-na has such a long history and has been picked from among many vegetables, he thinks.

“It makes me want to continue to hand down them to future generations!”

どこでも手に入るようになってこそ、復活!
Getting Makino-yasai anywhere! That's what we call a real “comeback”

現在、牧野野菜のうち潮江菜は高知市内の一部の八百屋で購入することはできますが、まだ一般市場には出回っていません。

熊澤さんは「どこでも手に入るものにしたい、そうならないと残らない」と言います。

「タネ採り作業も、ゆくゆくは農家がやらなくても済むようなシステムをつくりたい。中にはサイズが大きくて流通に乗せられないなど、商品にならないものもあります。それも残しておかないといけないけど、店頭に並んで消費者が普通に手に取ることができて初めて復活と言えると思います」

Team Makinoの取り組みにこれからも注目していきたいですね。

You can buy Ushioe-na, one of Makino-yasai, at certain vegetable stores and a department store in Tokyo (until March) now, but they aren't out on the market yet. “I want to make it possible for anyone to get them anywhere, but if not, they cannot be handed down,” he says.

“I'd eventually like to have in place a system for gathering seeds, so the farmers don't have to do the troublesome work by themselves. There are some vegetables that cannot be offered for sale because they are too large in size. I know we also have to protect and grow them, but I think we can only call it a true revival when it is possible for consumers to pick them up on the store shelves in everyday life.”

The efforts of Team Makino will be focused on receiving increased attention!



取材・文/魚見幸代 写真/竹田俊吾 翻訳/宮本和加子
Writer Yukiyo Uomi, Photo Shungo Takeda, Translated by Wakako Miyamoto