Japan Imperial Couple Visit Sweet Potato Company in Kagoshima

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japanese Emperor and Empress visit a sweet potato company in Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Sunday afternoon.

Kanoya, Kagoshima Pref., Oct. 9 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have visited a company that grows and processes sweet potatoes in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kagoshima and interacted with its young employees.

Sweet potato is one of Kagoshima’s major specialties. The company, Minamihashi Shoji in the city of Kanoya, mainly grows the Beniharuka variety.

Meeting with three Minamihashi Shoji employees aged 22-26 on Sunday, Emperor Naruhito asked them, “How is your work?”

Empress Masako asked them how long they have been working for the company.

According to the company’s president, Ryusaku Yahata, 45, “yokan” using Beniharuka harvested last year was served as part of the day’s lunch for the Imperial couple. Yokan is a traditional Japanese confection.

Emperor Naruhito was surprised when Yahata told him that Beniharuka can be stored for a long period.

A plan for the couple to visit a sweet potato field owned by the firm was canceled due to rain.

The Emperor and the Empress arrived in Kagoshima on Saturday to attend the opening ceremony for the National Sports Festival.

On Sunday, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako also watched fencing matches held in the city of Tarumizu in the prefecture as part of the sports festival.

They flew back to Tokyo on Sunday night.