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A discussions on how the rise and fall of U.S. demand for green tea in the early 20th century led to sencha becoming an icon in Japan.—
Following the Meiji Restoration, Japan developed a tea export industry, shipping especially high-quality sencha to the US Midwest, where green tea was popular. The export trade thrived and tea emerged as Japan's second largest export product after silk.
However, in the 1920s, socioeconomic trends and racial prejudices pushed Americans toward black teas from Ceylon and India. Facing a glut, Japanese merchants aggressively marketed sencha on their home and imperial markets, transforming it into the icon of Japanese culture that it remains today.