Email with attached photographs of square watermelons claims that Japanese farmers are growing the fruit in glass cases to save space on refrigerator shelves.
True, but not new
A round watermelon can take up a lot of room in a refrigerater and the usually round fruit often sits awkwardly on refrigerator shelves.?Smart Japanese Farmers have forced their watermelons to grow into a square shape by inserting the melons into square, tempered glass cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine.
According to this email forward, attached photographs depict unusual square watermelons that are grown by farmers in Japan. The message claims that the square watermelons are created by inserting them into cube-shaped glass containers while they are still growing. Square watermelons, claims the message, will fit more easily on shelves and therefore save refrigerator space.
Given the amount of manipulated images that circulate via email, it is perhaps not surprising that some recipients have questioned the veracity of these square watermelon photographs. However, the images are genuine and have not been manipulated.
In fact, square watermelons have been grown in Japan for a number of years. According to a BBC news article published in June 2001, a Zentsuji farmer came up with the innovative idea for a space-saving square watermelon some twenty years earlier. Since then, the square fruit has been sold in various selected outlets across Japan, but they are prohibitively expensive to buy and their potential market is therefore quite limited. The BBC article noted:
Today the cuboid watermelons are hand-picked and shipped all over Japan.
But the fruit, on sale in a selection of department stores and upmarket supermarkets, appeals mainly to the wealthy and fashion-conscious of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan’s two major cities.
Each melon sells for 10,000 yen, equivalent to about $83. It is almost double, or even triple, that of a normal watermelon.
“I can’t buy it, it is too expensive,” said a woman browsing at a department store in the southern city of Takamatsu.
According to another 2001 news article about the square fruit, it was doubtful that there would be much of a potential market for them in the US. However, in 2006, British supermarket chain, Tesco announced plans to sell square watermelons in the UK at much more affordable prices than those sold in Japan. An August 2006 Food Business Review article noted that the square fruit was being produced in Brazil especially for Tesco and was grown using wooden boxes rather than glass containers.
Garden hobbyists have also dabbled in square fruit production. A North Carolina resident has even grown square tomatoes after hearing about the square watermelons grown in Japan. And an August 2007 Lansing State Journal article offered gardeners instructions for growing square watermelons using cinder blocks.
Last updated: 10th September 2007
First published: 10th September 2007
By Brett M. Christensen
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!