Tsukemono vs Oshinko vs Asazuke : What is the difference in meaning?

When it comes to Japanese pickles, Umeboshi plums are probably the most famous in overseas countries. “Umeboshi (梅干し)” is referred to as pickled Ume plums or salted Ume plums in English, but do you know what we call the Japanese pickles as a whole?

The Difference in Meaning between Tsukemono, Oshinko and Asazuke

Actually, the Japanese word, “Tsukemono (漬物)” refers to Japanese pickles. You may know this. Then, have you ever heard that, in addition to Tsukemono, “Oshinko (お新香)” is another Japanese term for Japanese pickles? In recent years, Oshinko sometimes has the same meaning as Tsukemono, but traditionally, Oshinko is somewhat different in meaning from Tsukemono.

Tsukemono (漬物)

Takuan (沢庵)

“Tsukemono (漬物)” is the generic term for Japanese pickles and literally means “pickled things”. Actually, Oshinko is a genre included in Tsukemono. Japanese pickles, or Tsukemono are made of various food materials, including vegetables and seafood like fish and fish roe, pickled in seasonings like salt, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, Sake lees and so on. Although many Japanese pickles are made by fermenting foods, some types in Tsukemono are produced in a short period of time and don’t have the fermentation process. As for the former type, “Takuan (沢庵)” is the quintessential fermented Tsukemono.

Oshinko (お新香), or Asazuke (浅漬け)

Oshinko is also known as “Asazuke (浅漬け)”, and originally refers to the Japanese vegetable pickles made in a short time without fermenting ingredients. The 2 words, “Oshinko (お新香)” and “Asazuke (浅漬け)” literally mean “fresh aroma” and “to be lightly pickled” respectively, and typical vegetables for Oshinko, or Asazuke, include cucumber, Daikon radish, and egg plant. As I wrote above, in recent years, some Japanese people use the word “Oshinko” as the classy way to call Tsukemono.

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(Reference pages of this article : Wikipedia 漬物, 浅漬け )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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