Blog: Gutsy radish

Catherine Sleep | 14 March 2006

Out with bullet trains, teahouses and kimonos: the Japanese have a new national icon. It’s kind of low-tech too.

A humble daikon radish that pushed its way through an asphalt pavement has become a symbol of the real meaning of perseverance, a trait highly valued in more traditional Japanese circles.

The radish has become a media star, prompting a rash of copycat root vegetables, and developed into one of these seemingly random incidents that capture the public imagination in an unanticipated way. It quite puts me in mind of the Tamworth Two, a pair of pigs which escaped on their way to the abattoir in 1998 and after much public excitement were saved from becoming pork chops and allowed to live out their days in an animal sanctuary.

Salad days for root vegetables


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