Have you heard of danshaku potatoes? Following the Meiji Restoration and until it was abolished in 1947, Japan had a peerage system called the kazoku 華族, with princes, barons, dukes, marquesses and viscounts. Danshaku potatoes だんしゃく芋, meaning "baron" potatoes, were named after Baron Ryukichi Kawata, the senior executive of an agricultural company in Hakodate, Hokkaido, who successfully imported and grew this potato at the turn of the 20th century. The potato proved to be so popular that danshaku potatoes now account for 60% of the entire domestic Japanese potato market.
However, there is one variety which distinguishes itself from the rest: the Imakane Danshaku potato. Although the danshaku may have been a baron, the Imakane Danshaku is commonly given the epithet "King of Imakane." The quality of the Imakane Danshaku potato is so high, in fact, that its price dictates the price of the entire danshaku potato market. Thick-skinned and starchy like other danshaku potatoes, the Imakane is sweeter and more flavorful, with a rich nutty aftertaste. In September 2019, the Imakane Danshaku was recognized for protection under the Geographical Indication Protection System.
Since 2015, Japanese potato chip giant Koikeya had been offering a chip featuring 100% Imakane Danshaku potatoes in "lightly salted" and the standard Japanese flavor "nori seaweed flakes and salt" exclusively on their online store.
Now, for the first time in a product widely sold in brick-and-mortar locations, Koikeya has decided to feature these potatoes in the best way possible. For their Japan Pride series, they wanted consumers to enjoy the unadulterated tasted of Imakane Danshaku, which resulted in these limited-edition unsalted chips.
Koikeya's "Japan Pride Potato Imakane Danshaku Unslated" Chips are now available at stores nationwide where potato chips are sold. For more information, visit the Japan Pride page at Koikeya's website here.
The price is listed as "open" on Koikeya's press release, but the chips have been seen at online retailers such as yodobashi.com for 321 yen (including tax).
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