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Tokita to help bring Japanese melons to the world

Up to now, Japanese melons have only been grown and marketed in Japan. The exacting growing schedule and short shelf life have contributed to keeping the melon variety in the country, but questions as to whether the melon would appeal to palates from around the world also factored in.

Now with some interest from non-Japanese growers, Tokita Seed has developed a melon variety that can be grown and marketed in other regions of the world.

“The Japanese melon is different from the typical melon seen in Europe,” explained Mark Goto of Tokita Seed. “It's very fragrant and has a short shelf life.” It also requires constant attention and precise management during growing and cultivation. This has kept it out of foreign markets. But Tokita recently brought samples of Japanese melons to Asia Fruit Logistica, and the response they got from attendees encouraged them to go forward with trial cultivation programs outside of Japan.

“We have trials in Southeast Asian countries, and, if possible, we'd like to promote the melons in Europe,” said Goto. “There are no fresh varieties yet available, but we are doing many trials in many places.” The four varieties Tokita has developed, though not having the long shelf life of European melons, stay fresh longer than typical Japanese melons. They can also be grown in a wider variety of climates and have increased disease tolerance. Those varieties include the Audrey and the Marilyn, which are closer in style to normal Japanese melons, and the Don Verde and Donna Rosa, which are larger melons.

“The Don Verde is a green-flesh melon that is large, about two kilograms, and has a fine net,” said Goto. “The Donna Rosa is the same, but it has orange flesh. Both have a very nice fragrance, a nice taste and lots of flesh because of the small seed cavities.” While Tokita won't grow or market the melons directly, they do provide seeds and technical assistance to growers.

“As a breeding seed company, our aim is to give high quality seeds and a technical support to produce good melons,” explained Goto. “We don't handle fresh melons by ourselves, but we will help establish connections between growers and traders through our promoting activities.”

Contact details:
Mobile: +81 (0)90 5190 5577
Office: +81 (0)48 686 7235