TureppoN

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Overview

Who is TureppoN?

  • TureppoN is a turep (giant lily bulb ) girl.
  • She lived in the soil when she was little. When she’s grown up, she’ll turn into irup (starch) and delicious food.
  • TureppoN enjoys life at a slower pace.

How did TureppoN get her name?

  • Turep
    Turep means “the bulb of a giant lily ” (Cardiocrinum cordatum var. glehnii) in the Ainu language. A perennial in the Cardiocrinum genus of lily, the giant lily is native to the forests of Hokkaido and northern Honshu.
  • po
    In the Ainu language, po is added to the end of a word to indicate that something is small.
  • N
    In Japanese, cuteness is often indicated by adding an “n” to the end of a word. TureppoN’s name has a capital N because she’s VERY cute!  

What is TureppoN holding?

Turep-akam

Turep-akam is a disc-shaped cake made from turep. TureppoN hands them out to any hungry people she meets.

Turep stem

TureppoN uses this very long stem as a walking stick. When the round putput (seed pods) on the stem turn brown, she scatters seeds on the ground to grow new friends.

Giant lilies

Turep (giant lily bulb)

Giant lilies can take almost ten years to grow from bulb to flower. The number of leaves increases each year as the plant draws nutrients from the soil. If the conditions are good, the plant will use these nutrients to flower and produce seed pods.
You can tell whether a giant lily plant is young or whether it will flower this year by how the leaves are growing.
Turep is the Ainu word for the bulb of this plant, where all of the nutrients are stored. This was a valuable source of food for the Ainu, along with salmon and deer, and the starch extracted from it can be used to make non-perishable foods. Turep is also used as medicine.
The picking season and processing methods vary depending on the region. In Shiraoi, bulbs are collected in June or July and made into starch. The fiber is fermented, then dried and stored.

Sources
Chiri, Mashiho (1976). Chiri Mashiho Chosaku Shūbunrui Ainu Jiten: Shokubutsuhen/Dōbutsuhen [Mashiho Chiri Classified Dictionary of the Ainu Language: Plants and Animals]. Tokyo: Heibonsha.
Muraki, Miyuki (1996). (Zai) Ainu Minzoku Hakubutsukan Kenkyū Hōkoku [Ainu Museum Research Report] (5:27-38). Shiraoi Chihō Ni Okeru Ōubayuri No Kakō Shori Oyobi Sono Riyōhō [Processing and Use of Giant Lilies in the Shiraoi Area]. Ainu Museum Foundation.

June

The leaves of young plants protrude from the soil.

June

Mature plants extend thick stems from the ground with leaves attached. The stems grow to a length of 1 — 1.5m before the flower buds appear.

July

Between 5 and 20 flowers grow horizontally, with a length of 12cm and diameter of 6cm. The flowering period lasts for 5 days.

August

Seeds are scattered from the pods by the wind. The bulbs underground wither during the winter, but some small bulbs may remain.

Click here to learn more (Japanese only)

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