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140111 Azuki Museum Himeji Hyogo pref Japan11bs.jpg
Place of originJapan
Main ingredientsGlutinous rice, adzuki beans
Other informationUsually consumed during celebratory occasions (birthdays and weddings)
Red rice of an ancient kind, and the present rice

Sekihan (赤飯, lit. red rice, rice boiled together with red beans[1]) is a Japanese traditional dish. It is sticky rice steamed with adzuki beans, which give a reddish color to the rice, hence its name.[2]

The rice of ancient times of Japan was red. Therefore, red rice was used in the ancient divine work [ja]. Red rice has a strong taste of tannin, and its cultivation has been almost completely abandoned. The present sekihan is colored red using adzuki.

Sekihan is often served on special occasions throughout the year in Japan, for example, birthdays, weddings and some holidays, such as Shichi-Go-San.[2] In some places it is customarily made when a young woman reaches menarche, although this is less common now than it was in the past.[3]

Sekihan is so strongly connected with celebrations that the phrase "Let's have sekihan" has acquired the meaning "Let's celebrate."[citation needed] It is believed that sekihan is used for celebrations because of its red color, symbolic of happiness in Japan.

It is usually eaten immediately after cooking but it may also be eaten at room temperature, as in a celebratory bento (boxed lunch). Sekihan is traditionally eaten with gomashio (a mixture of lightly toasted sesame and salt).

There are also regional varieties of sekihan. Some versions call for sugar instead of salt to give a sweet flavor. Others use amanattō (sweetened bean confectionery) instead of adzuki.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary, ISBN 4-7674-2015-6
  2. ^ a b Tsuji, Shizuo; M.F.K. Fisher (2007). Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art (25 ed.). Kodansha International. pp. 280–281. ISBN 978-4-7700-3049-8.
  3. ^ Lebra, Takie Sugiyama (1985). Japanese Women: Constraint and Fulfillment. University of Hawaii Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0824810252. Retrieved 18 October 2018.

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