History of chicken & Yakitori

Growth of chicken farming in Edo era

Breed of house chicken

There are 3 main chicken breeds in Japan.

  • Laying chicken (.Mediterranean breed, Leghorn, and Japanese chicken, Jidori)
  • Cochin (Big chicken originally from China)
  • Shamo & Malay Breed (Originally from Thailand, great for fighting chicken)

Bantam, silky fowl, Tomaru breeds came from mainland China in the beginning of Edo era, and mixed with Japanese breed. Chicken fights got popular in this time in ordinary people.
Especially, Shamo breeds from south-east Asia was 花, which made Japanese breed on the slide.
Also, inbound of Polish chicken, turkey, Pecking duck affected to the Japanese breed.

The Beginning of poultry dealer

3rd General of Japan in Edo era committed to chicken farm development, however, a first poultry dealer was came in when 8th General was in charge. It passed down until the restoration of Imperial power in 1868.

Regions of chicken farms in Japan in Edo Era (1603–1867)

Chicken farming expanded around the coast line of Kisone river, where is close to the Edo area. (around Tokyo of the present day) After the resolution on 1868. it was also expanded to Saitama, Chiba, Ibaragi, Fukushima prefecture, where are all around Tokyo.

In northern Japan, Masamune Date (General of Sendai area) was granted a breed called ‘Golden Polish’, so he and his feudal government put a lot of effort to expanding the chicken farming.

In ToKai area (middle part of Japan), some officers in Owari government started chicken farming mainly in Nagoya. There is a record of that time, one officer was firming over 500 chicken in that time. People like this were later called ‘Samurai Farm’. They were usually farming Nagoya Cochin Breed.

In the other areas which are, in Izumo Area (Shimane Prefecture in present time) were farming Izumo Cochin and Izumo Akoku breeds where most of them were supplied to Osaka. Also, in Kyushu, chicken eggs were supplied to Osaka as ‘Chickuaen Egg’, mainly from Chikuzen Area (Fukuoka Prefecture)

Eating Chicken

People weren’t eating chicken meat in Edo era, they were usually eating Japanese pheasant, quail cock, canard, geese, ephelides, bulbul, lark on a record.

In Edo era, people were started eating more bird meat than before, and it was a beginning of ‘meat eating culture’ for next Meiji Era.