After trying canned Yoshinoya, canned bento, and even canned bear, we really thought we’d seen it all in terms of food in cans in Japan. However, it looks like we were only scratching the surface of the canned food world, as it’s just been announced that a new tie-up between partwork publisher DeAgostini and Japanese food wholesalers Kokubu Group has given birth to…samurai warrior meals in a can.
Called “Sengoku Busho Meshi Kanzume“, which translates to “Canned Sengoku Warlord Meal“, this new release faithfully reproduces the meals eaten by famous warlords in Japan during the Sengoku “Warring States” period (1467 to 1615). This was a turbulent time in Japan’s history, when samurai warlords and clans fought for control over the country.
These canned meals, created under the supervision of food culture historian and researcher Hisao Nagayama, allow us to taste the meals eaten by two of the most well-known warlords from the era: Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) and Akechi Mitsuhide (1528-1582).
The choice of these two warlords is particularly tantalising, as Nobunaga, head of the powerful Oda clan who sought to unify Japan in the 1560s, was the most powerful warlord of his time. Akechi Mitsuhide, a rival samurai general, rebelled against Nobunaga and sought to assassinate him, leading an attack that forced Nobunaga to commit seppuku. Mitsuhide then sought to seize power, but was killed 13 days later by Nobunaga’s retainers.
The battle between Nobunaga and Mitsuhide has been reignited today in canned meal form, and this time it’s up to us to decide which one should reign supreme. Each can comes with a magazine supplement detailing the historical background that belongs to each meal, and for Nobunaga, it’s emerged that he once ate “meat miso”, which was served to him before the Battle of Okehazama in 1560.
Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto in the Battle of Okehazama to become one of the most prominent warlords in the Sengoku period.
While Nobunaga’s canned meal celebrates his first step towards supremacy, Mitsuhide’s pays respect to a meal that would’ve been served to him as he got a foothold on his career and moved up in the ranks of the samurai world.
▼ Mitsuhide’s canned meal (pictured below, middle) replicates the simmered pork and vegetable meal he would’ve enjoyed at the time.
According to DeAgostini, this is the first “canned history experience magazine“, which lets you read about the rich history behind the meal you’re eating while you’re tasting it.
In addition, each magazine meal comes with a coaster adorned with the crest of the respective warlord, with one of their quotes written on the reverse side.
On sale in limited quantities at select stores, each pack includes one can, coaster and magazine for 990 yen. The canned samurai meals can also be purchased online, where they’re also available in a web-exclusive four-pack, which comes with an original furoshiki emblazoned with the crest of your preferred warrior for 2,490 yen.
It’s a great way to walk in the shoes, or taste buds, of a samurai warrior, and now that our mouths are watering for warlord food, we’re tempted to make a trip to this samurai restaurant in Kyoto, which serves Mitsuhide’s simmered meal to diners.
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