Punica Granatum (Zakuro in Japanese) – Basis for a Reflection on Cultural History

Conference: The Asian Conference on Asian Studies (ACAS2022)
Title: Punica Granatum (Zakuro in Japanese) – Basis for a Reflection on Cultural History
Stream: Japanese Studies
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Martinell Emma, University of Barcelona, Spain


Punica Granatum is at least 4,000 years old, in the wild or cultivated state. Some researchers put the figure as high as 8,000. From its probable origin in Central Asia it spread to the Near East, the Mediterranean basin and North Africa. It also reached South Asia, especially India, and the Far East (China, Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan –Heian Period, 923--).
In the second part of my presentation, I will explain that the evocative power of Punica Granatum has manifestations in the world of colours, and in the naming of a precious stone, such as garnet (zakuro-ishi). It has also been widely used to describe a weapon such as the hand grenade shuryūdan 手榴弾. I will end my presentation with a reference to the revival of this fruit in Japan. There it has been very popular in floral decorations, as a garden tree, and in the form of bonsai for several centuries. Through this presentation of the Punica Granatum, we wish to contribute to the knowledge of the processes that have turned the geographical expansion by land and sea of plant products and their names into a globalisation of foodstuffs and a certain cultural uniformity.

The work of the team to which I belong aims to demonstrate the richness of the Japanese archipelago in terms of both the assimilation of foreign products and the export of its own products, which are now appreciated and used all over the world.

Virtual Presentation

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