NAGANO (TR) – Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential election upset was met with mixed reactions in Japan as some grimaced and others laughed, but the results were particularly devastating for village pig farmers here who were planning to gift the U.S. Embassy with cuts of their specialty “Clinton” pork.
Chiku, 45, a livestock worker in Takagi Village, Nagano Prefecture, came up with the name Clinton — a play on the name of the kurinso flowering plant that is common in the area and the kanji character for pork (ton) — for the pork meat brand of his village in 2010 when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, the Asahi Shimbun reports (November 10).
The plan was to bestow the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo with one entire Clinton pig’s worth of meat as a gift if Clinton won — a carefully crafted plan that was dashed by Trump’s protest-spawning victory.
Chiku and his fellow members of regional industry promotion nonprofit group Takagi were talking about “sending Ms. Clinton some Clinton as a celebration if she wins the election.”
Ryuki Tanaka, 58, secretary general of Takagi, proposed the idea to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy in a letter addressed to her at the U.S. Embassy in October, and received a call saying his message would be passed on.
Pleased with the news, Tanaka was filled with hopes that the Clinton pigs would bring about a boon the same way U.S. President Barack Obama did eight years ago for Obama City, Fukui Prefecture, during his first election.
“First, we were going to serve it at the embassy, and then gift it to her during a future visit after she took office as president. That would’ve been incredible,” Tanaka said. “It’s the result of an election, there’s nothing that can be done about that, but I think we were able to appeal to her a little.”
Clintons to the rescue
The Clinton pigs –– weighing 120 kilograms and providing 45 kilograms of meat each –– were the culmination of numerous research attempts by Chiku to develop a competitive breed, driven by talk of pig farmers in his village giving up the profession.
Chiku boosted the value of Clinton pigs by combining potatoes and rice to produce a high-performance feed and using quality groundwater from the grounds of Mt. Ina, resulting in cuts that even appealed to children and women who hated pork.
“They don’t have that oily mouthfeel while still offering umami. That’s what makes Clintons special,” said Chiku, adding that 1,000 of the 3,500 pigs he ships in a single year are Clinton pigs.