This unlikely drama started last summer in the town of Aoi, when residents noticed the radish pushing its way through the asphalt of a pavement.
Impressed by its perseverance, they named it Dokonjo Daikon, or the radish with fighting spirit.
Imagine their dismay then when one morning, they found the radish had been decapitated.
The news of its demise prompted an outpouring of sympathy across Japan, and the unknown assailant returned its severed head, from which the town council has been trying in vain to revive it.
Dokonjo daikon now even has its own dedicated website.
The Japanese public has frequently been touched by the plight of stricken animals. But commentators are at a loss to explain this wave of affection for a mere vegetable.
Inspired by the radish's fight for life, the town council now wants to extract seeds or even DNA from its remains in the hope of producing offspring of similar fortitude.
Feb 3, 2006
Save the radish
Plight of mutilated vegetable captures the heart of the Japanese people.