"The Big Mikan” is Tokyo’s answer to New York City’s nickname, “the Big Apple.” A mikan is a citrus fruit resembling an orange.
The nickname ‘Big Mikan” appears to have started in the early 1990s and is still used today, although not especially frequently. It has been pointed out that Tokyo is not particularly associated with the mikan; one commentator below believes that ‘Big Bento” is a more appropriate nickname.
Citrus unshiu is a seedless and easy-peeling citrus mutant of Chinese origin, but introduced to the West via Japan. In Japan, it is known as unshu mikan (Japanese: 温州蜜柑, unshū mikan). In China, it is known as Wenzhou migan (Chinese: 温州蜜柑; pinyin: Wēnzhōu Mìgān). The Japanese name is a result of the local reading of the same characters used in the Chinese, the name meaning “Honey Citrus of Wenzhou” in both languages. It is also often known as “Seedless mandarin” (Chinese: 无核桔; pinyin: wúhé jú) or as a satsuma.
Its fruit is sweet and usually seedless, about the size of other mandarin oranges (Citrus reticulata), smaller than an orange. One of the distinguishing features of the satsuma is the distinctive thin, leathery skin dotted with large and prominent oil glands, which is lightly attached around the fruit, enabling it to be peeled very easily in comparison to other citrus fruits. The satsuma also has particularly delicate flesh, which cannot withstand the effects of careless handling. The uniquely loose skin of the satsuma, however, means that any such bruising and damage to the fruit may not be immediately apparent upon the typical cursory visual inspection associated with assessing the quality of other fruits. In this regard, the satsuma is often categorised by citrus growers as a hit-and-miss citrus fruit, the loose skin particular to the fruit precluding the definitive measurement of its quality by sight and feel alone.
The Chinese and Japanese names reference Wenzhou, a city in the Zhejiang Province of China known for its citrus production. However, it has also been grown in Japan since ancient times, and the majority of cultivars grown in China today were cultivated in Japan and reverse-introduced into China in modern times.
Clementines are not the same variety as the unshiu or satsuma mandarin.
Tokyo (東京, Tōkyō?), officially Tokyo Metropolis (東京都, Tōkyō-to?), is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and located on the eastern side of the main island Honshū. The twenty-three special wards of Tokyo, each governed as a city, cover the area that was once the city of Tokyo in the eastern part of the prefecture, and total over 8 million people. The population of the prefecture exceeds 12 million.
Tokyo is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family.
LIFE IN THE BIG MIKAN
IF NEW YORK CITY IS THE “BIG APPLE”, THEN
TOKYO MUST BE THE “BIG MIKAN”!
1 October 1994, Pacific Stars and Stripes (Tokyo), pg. 28, col. 4:
While Denver and Tokyo may be as different as sushi and elk steak, they take their sports teams very seriously. For the Mile High City, it’s the Broncos. In the Big Mikan, it’s the Yomiyuri Giants.
The Japanese City: Nihon No Toshi
By Pradyumna Prasad Karan, Kristin Eileen Stapleton
Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky
It is Tokyo’s answer to the Manhattan skyline and the place where the comparisons begin between the “Big Apple” and the “Big Mikan.”
Tokyo Notes and Anecdotes: Natsukashii
By Bruce McCormack
Published by Trafford Publishing,
Did I really want this job badly enough to leave my little garden cabin in Kyoto and move to the Big Mikan (or the Big Orange, as we sometimes call Tokyo)?
Google Groups: rec.music.gdead
From: “band beyond description” <1...@456.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 16:05:10 +0900
Local: Mon, Jan 19 2004 2:05 am
Subject: Life in the Big Mikan (NDC)
Steve writes: Mikan means orange, as in Tokyo is Japan’s version of the Big Apple....
News on Japan
Tokyo, the “BIG BENTO”
Hey, if New York is the “Big Apple” …..
Why can’t Tokyo be the “BIG BENTO”?
Various folks have tried to call Tokyo the ‘Big Mikan” but mikan oranges aren’t the first thing that pops to mind for gray concrete Tokyo. But gray combi-bento…now that’s TOKYO!
“Bento”, the ubiquitous, grayish, pre-packaged Japanese lunchbox, is the primary food group of Tokyo folks.
The Simon Sphere
Monday, December 04, 2006
Tokyo - Back in the big Mikan
Friday, April 20, 2007
Tokyo - the big Mikan
Nicknames of Other Places • Big Mikan (Tokyo, Japan nickname) • (0) Comments • Saturday, September 27, 2008 • Permalink