Japanese Moon Melon: Real or Hoax?

A photo allegedly shows a rare blue "Japanese moon melon" has circulated online for years. Is this melon real?

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The image is fake.

The photo, which has been seen in heavy sharing on twitter and Pinterest for about 3 years is merely a digitally-altered photo of a normal slice of watermelon.

Fake Moon Melon

The fake image above has been in circulation for several years and can be traced back to at least 2011. The alteration was good enough to convince many readers that it was real. The fake fruit was given the imaginary scientific name asidus. A common caption reads:

This is a Moon Melon, scientifically known as asidus. This fruit grows in some parts of Japan and it’s know for its weird blue color. What you probably don’t know about this fruit is that it can switch flavors after you eat it. Everything sour will taste sweet, and everything salty will taste bitter, and it gives water a strong orange-like taste. This fruit is very expensive. It costs about 16000 JPY (which is about 200 dollars). 

Renewed interest in the “moon melon” began when the website Weird Hacks & Facts posted a picture of the magical fruit on twitter. Their account has over two million followers and it didn’t take long for the post to generate attention.

Below you can see the original, unaltered photo of an ordinary slice of watermelon.

Moon Melon Real

For those who still hold out hope that the exotic fruit with the vibrant blue color is real, nutritional sites such as “Nourish Interactive” and “The Best of Raw Fruit” do not include the Japanese Moon Melon on their respective sites.

Watch our short YouTube video debunking the Moon Melon:

Origins: Miraculin

Although the Japanese Moon Melon is not a real fruit, there are red berries which contain miraculin, a substance which has the ability to convert sour stimuli to sweetness in those who consume it. These berries (Richadella dulcifica) are native to South Africa. Wired reports that “taste tripping” parties featuring the berries include brave eaters who consume pickles and limes without pause. The effect of miraculin lasts about an hour. The active substance was first isolated by a Japanese scientist whose work was published in 1968.

One may presume that the fictional Japanese Moon Melon was inspired in part by the real story of miraculin: a substance which alters taste and which was first isolated (and named) by a Japanese scientist.

Bottom Line

The Japanese Moon Melon is a fictional fruit which does not exist, although it was likely inspired by the story of miraculin: a taste-altering substance first isolated by a Japanese scientist in the 1960’s. A fake photo purporting to show the fruit has circulated for several years, and is actually just an altered photo of an ordinary watermelon slice.

Sources

  • The Asidus “Moon Melon” is a Fruit We All Want, But Cannot Have(Obvious Winner: May 9, 2011)
  • List of Fruits by Season(Maggie LaBarbera RN, Nourish Interactive: June 12, 2012)

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  • anon

    Those sites do not include every type of fruit so do not rely on them as a valid source of fake or real. Proof? Carambola is a star shaped fruit that does not appear on either list. I am not saying Moon Melon is real, just saying that the sites provided are not the expert source of what is real or not.

    • waffles

      There may not be an online source which has 100% inclusion of all fruit, but we included two as examples that the Moon Melon doesn’t appear in any list we could find. Thanks for your comment.