Ni Ku ... February 9 and MEAT


Day of Meat (niku no hi)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Early Spring
***** Category: Humanity


NI means 2, February
KU means 9, day number 9 of the month

NIKU also means MEAT in Japanese 肉 (にく)

niku no hi 肉の日 (にくのひ) day of meat
February 9 2月9日

English Reference


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The 29 of each month is also a "small NI KU" day of the meat.

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uruo niku no hi 閏肉の日(日本)"leap day of meat"
2月29日 February 29
the most special day of meat, every 4 years only.
Last in 2008

yooniku 羊肉の日(日本)yooniku no hi
April 29, Day of mutton and lamb meat in Japan

Most supermarkets offer a lot of cheap meat on these days.


The custom of eating meat from four-legged animals in Japan, especially beef, became more popular after the Meiji restauration.
Buddhists are not allowed to eat meat of animals with four legs.
Before modern times, beef was not eaten, only the hides of cows were used for drums and other items. But the meat of killed animals was a waste of food, so it was turned into a kind of "medicine" 薬食 and eaten by the rich.

The daimyo of Hikone Ii Naosuke 井伊直弼 had meat from Omi cows  近江牛 prepared as misozuke, pickled in miso paste, and send it to Edo to the Tokugawa Shogun, especially also to Nariaki of Mito 水戸斉昭.
Nariaki even wrote a letter to thank for the meat.
Original from ...  slia.on.arena.ne.jp/rekishi/index.html
徳川斉昭書状別紙, 嘉永元年(1848年)12月

The beef from Hikone was also dried in the cold 「寒」の干牛肉 during the coldest month of January and then eaten as "medicine".
When Ii Naosuke was killed in the Sakuradamon incident on March 24, 1860, by a group of samurai from Mito, the shipments to Mito Tokugawa Nariaki stopped and Nariaki was quite unhappy about this turn of events.

In Edo, meat was offered at the market of Kojimachi 麹町.
chiku 畜 referred to four-legged animals that should not be eaten by Buddhists and kin 禽 referred two-legged animals, birds to be eaten.

. kajikibashi 鹿食箸 chopstsicks to eat "mountain meat"  
from Suwa Shrine, Nagano
Meat from four-legged animals was not allowed for the pious Buddhist to eat and also not approved in Shinto. But there were exceptions, especially for ill people and for the poor mountain villages and hunter areas, since the Heian period.


Bikuni Bridge in Snow - Utagawa Hiroshige - with a signboard for
yamakujira 山くじら wild boar
advertising for for the dealer Owariya 尾張屋, who also served dishes with wild boar meat.

momonjiya ももんじ屋 ・百獣屋 
selling meat "from one-hundred wild animals" in Edo

kedamonoya 獣屋 dealers in wild animals
yamaokuya 山奥屋 dealers with stuff from the far-away mountains
kusuriguiho 薬食舗 restaurant serving "medicine" meat

momonji referes to the meat of wild animals, like wild boar, deer or tanuki badgers.
The first momonjiya shop in Edo was most probably the Kooshuuya 甲州屋 Koshuya in Koojimachi 麹町 Kojimachi.

A senryu refers to this shop

koojimachi kitsune o uma ni nosete kuru

Kojimachi town -
a fox comes riding
on a horse

百獣屋(ももんじや)and senryu
source : tachibana2007

a fox riding a horse means things that do not fit together.
But it seems Koshuya sold meat from fox and wolf too.

Eating meat was allowed for ill or weak people, as medicine.
. kusuri gui, kusurigui 薬喰 "eating medicine" .
kigo for winter

. Food vendors in Edo .

百獣屋の猛者たち - 御助宿控帳


aibikiniku, aibiki niku あいびき【合い挽き】
mixture of ground beef and ground pork
gemischtes Hackfleisch

Horse meat, baniku (ばにく/ 馬肉) basashi, sakuranabe

Buta ... Pig and Pork (buta, ton 豚 ぶた) Schwein
bunaniku 豚肉 pork meat

Jidori, toriniku
Jidori 地鳥 (じどり) Local Chicken types
toriniku chicken meat

Konchu Ryori, konchuu ryoori 昆虫料理 Insects as food

Matagi, Bear hunters and other mountain meat
inoshishi 猪 wild boar botannabe
kiji 雉 pheasant
kuma 熊  bear
shika 鹿 deer and momiji nabe

Sakana ... 魚 FISH of all kinds

Usagi ウサギ肉 rabbit meat

Wagyuu, wagyu 和牛 Japanese beef
biifu ビーフ beef
gyuuniku 牛肉 beef, often steak
roosuto ロースト― roast

Yagi 山羊料理 . Goat meat in Okinawa
Goats and Goat Meat .. in Kenya

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


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meat day !
grandma remembers
an old recipe

Nakayama Ishino, February 29, 2008

Related words




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