For years consumers struggled to fit the large round fruit in their refrigerators. And then there was the problem of trying to cut the fruit when it kept rolling around.
But 20 years ago a forward-thinking farmer on Japan's south-western island of Shikoku solved the problem. The farmer, from Zentsuji in Kagawa prefecture, came up with the idea of making a cube-shaped watermelon which could easily be packed and stored.
To make it happen, farmers grew the melons in glass boxes and the fruit then naturally assumed the same shape. The square boxes are the exact dimensions of Japanese refrigerators, allowing full-grown watermelons to fit conveniently and precisely onto refrigerator shelves.
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, since the fruit comes with a caveat: Each square watermelon costs 10,000 yen, the equivalent of about $82. Regular watermelons in Japan cost from $15 to $25 each.