A Cultural History of Ginkgo biloba in Japan and the Generic Name Ginkgo

  • Shihomi Hori
  • Terumitsu Hori


The Japanese people today are surrounded by many trees of the species Ginkgo biloba. They appreciate the taste of the nuts and use the shape of Ginkgo leaves in logos. How old is the oldest G. biloba in Japan? Is it native to Japan? If not, when and how did it come here? When did G. biloba become so popular in Japan? What about the name? It is known that the generic name Ginkgo originates from a Japanese name for this plant, but there have been many discussions on the name and spelling both inside and outside Japan: is it a misspelling or a misprint? Believing that we could expect to uncover the history of G. biloba in japan if we searched as many sources as possible, we gathered information from reports on food found in archaeological excavations, from legends, from dictionaries and books, from arts and crafts, and from other diverse sources.


Chinese Character Song Dynasty Ginkgo Biloba Ibaraki Prefecture Ginkgo Tree 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shihomi Hori
    • 1
  • Terumitsu Hori
    • 2
  1. 1.Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305Japan
  2. 2.Institute of Biological SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukuba, Ibaraki 305Japan

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