Have you ever seen any unusual watermelon in your life? Not the toys, the real ones! Then you must have been in Japan. Why watermelons have to be oval? Ask a Japanese farmer in Shikoku and he would be happy to give you the right answer.
One reason is to have easy packaging. Oval shaped normal watermelons consume more space and need extra packaging. Square melons are easy to carry with one hand and, therefore, require less packaging. They would easily fit in one`s refrigerator. Moreover, these are easy to cut and store too. The other reason is to attract consumers. We all know that the Japanese are known for their aesthetics. Japanese farmers are renowned to produce not only square shaped melons, but also in other shapes such as the heart, triangle and so on. They all come in different sizes too. These melons are expensive and most of them are exported to other countries.
It is actually pretty easy to produce such watermelons. When the watermelon is small, it is adjusted in a square shaped glass box. When the melon grows big, it gets the shape of the box it has been surrounded with. Basic shaped watermelons such as the square, rectangle, triangle and so on are easy to make while multi-edged/faceted melons need special equipment and care.
Mukimono is the art of carving any vegetable or fruit. This is particularly done in restaurants during serving dishes. It is getting popular everywhere as many restaurants want to attract customers through aesthetics. Chefs are being trained to do so and many Watermelon Carving Festivals are also conducted every year. Mukimono has become one of the main aspects of a Chef`s training program. It has become popular in the Edo period as Chefs used to beautify dishes to impress the royal families.