Elusiveness can itself be elusive. This article considers why
matsutake draw over-the-top excitement as an elusive commodity even in
years of prolific harvests. In 2010 Japan, an unexpectedly copious domestic
matsutake harvest prompted a precipitous drop in the mushroom’s
price and made the mushroom readily accessible. The article traces the
sources of consumer excitement that year, showing how matsutake commodity
elusiveness is itself produced through contingent coordinations
among trees, fungi, weather, pickers, mycology, popular media, and consumers.
It suggests that, in 2010, media outlets and consumers resolved
the contradictions of this elusiveness—celebrating matsutake’s elite status
as an elusive commodity while enjoying its accessibility—by treating
the bumper harvest as a euphoric anomaly.