Dive deeper into Japan
with Japan correspondent
Kjeld Duits
Home » Archives » November 2006 » Japan Rediscovers Granny's Wisdom

Japan Rediscovers Granny's Wisdom

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Posted: 09:22 PM JST

A book titled "Honke, Obaachan no Chiebukuro" (Gramma's Collection of Wisdom, Standard Edition) was released on August 31, 2006. The book was edited by a Japanese NPO and published by Gakken Co. for the purpose of spotlighting traditional Japanese wisdom and customs passed down for generations.

The NPO was established around 1996 with the aim of collecting the old Japanese wisdom being lost under social changes, such as the increasing appearance of nuclear households. After screening several thousand potential items from all over the country, the organization selected about 650 items for inclusion.

The book consists of four parts: cleaning, cooking, home remedies, and washing/storage. In the cleaning part, the book says "Polish genuine-leather sofas with banana peel. The leather keeps a good shine thanks to the tannins in the banana peel." In a section featuring charcoal, it suggests "Put charcoal into water before boiling. As charcoal absorbs the chlorine dissolved in tap water, the water will taste better after boiling." It also suggests keeping charcoal in closets, chests or rice stockers so that they are kept at an appropriate humidity owing to charcoal's moisture-adjusting function.

As for home remedies, the book recommends thick sugar water for painful bruises. It says "Mix some sugar with a few drops of water on the palm and apply it to a bruise. Sugar removes the heat from the affected area." Such ingenuity with readily available materials makes our lives more comfortable. The collected wisdom shows that older people practiced recycling and lived more eco-friendly lives.

First published in November 2006 by Japan for Sustainability (JFS). Many thanks to JFS for their kind permission to reprint the article at iKjeld.com.

Keywords: national_news

*   *   *

Subscribe to newsletter:
First name:
Daily:   Biweekly:

(Unsubscribe or Update)

We Recommend:


The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
Stone Bridge Press

Syndicate iKjeld news

Powered By Greymatter

© 2001~ iKjeld.com/Kjeld Duits. All rights reserved.
To publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material, please contact us.