"To list Japanese Cuisine as World Heritage"
The flavor and essence of Japanese Cuisine
|"Japanese Archipelago" encircled by the sea which has abundance of food resources|
Motivation of Foreigners to Visit Japan
According to a survey conducted by the Japan National Tourism Organization in 2009, 58.5 % of those surveyed cited "Japanese Cuisine" as the reason to visit Japan.
*This is the first time Japanese Cuisine has been cited as the number one reason to visit Japan since the survey started in 1984.
*The particular dishes that satisfy foreigners include Sushi (42.1%),Ramen (20.8%) and Sashimi (19.8%).
Applying for Japanese Cuisine to be Listed as World Cultural Heritage
9 characteristics of Japanese Cuisine reported by the Japanese Government to UNESCO in March, 2012:
- It conforms to the spirit of "respect for nature"
- Ingenuity has been developed to bring out the inherent flavor of the ingredients.
- Fermentation techniques have been developed which suit the climate of Japan such as Miso, Shoyu or Sake.
- The diet is well balanced, consisting of rice, miso soup, fish and vegetables.
- Not a lot of animal fat is used.
- The expression method has been developed to elegantly decorate dishes with flowers and leaves.
--"Leaves Business" started by the elderly people in Tokushima is well established (Leaves are essential for food decoration purposes).
- Seasonal tableware is used and rooms are furnished in order to emphasize the sense of the seasons.
- It is closely connected to annual events such as the Japanese New Year and rice-planting.
- The bond between family members and regional communities are strengthened by dining together.
*We will find out whether the application is accepted or not in November, 2013 at the earliest.
The taste has shifted from "Sukiyaki and Tempura" in the post-war period to "Sushi, Ramen and Sashimi".
Food Culture as Intangible Cultural Heritage (Overseas)
1. French Gastronomy
In France, gastronomy is considered to be a social custom to celebrate the most important events in life such as child-birth, marriage and birthdays.
It does not focus on specific dishes but on how to enjoy food more.
2. Mediterranean Cuisine
A healthy and well-balanced diet, consisting of seafood, wheat and barley, dairy products and vegetables produced in Spain, Greece, Italy and Morocco. It also utilizes olive oil.
3. Tradition of Keskek in Turkey
Social customs related to keskek (wheat stew) in ceremonies such as weddings or rituals such as rain-making rituals.
4. Mexican Traditional Cuisine
Social customs related to traditional Mexican food in rituals or ceremonies.
Overseas Japanese Restaurants
*Survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization in 2010
USA... 14, 129 restaurants(The number of restaurants has doubled in10 years)
France... About 1,000 restaurants
UK... About 500 restaurants
※If Japanese cuisine is listed as World Heritage, it is expected that confidence in Japan will be restored, resulting in positive effects for various areas such as tourism promotion as well as globalization of food engineering and agriculture.
Michelin Guide 2010
|3-star restaurant||2-star restaurant||1-star restaurant|
(of which 8 are Japanese restaurants)
(of which 30 are Japanese restaurants )
(of which 94 are Japanese restaurants)
(all of them are Japanese restaurants)
※Considering the total number of stars, it is easy to understand that there are lots of exclusive restaurants. The number of Michelin star restaurants exceeds that of Paris, which is considered to be one of the top food capitals of the world.
Interview with Jean-Luc Naret, the Sixth Director of Michelin Guide on his Visit to Japan
"Although people call Paris the food capital of the world, I was surprised by the sheer number of excellent restaurants in Tokyo. This is because Japanese people enjoy food. The quality of food and skills of the chefs are high. Paris also has Japanese restaurants but they aren't as specialized and subdivided as those in Tokyo. For example, the same restaurant serves Sushi and Yakitori.
Most of the Japanese restaurants I visited achieved the level of specialization no one else can imitate. Naturally, I gave those restaurants high ratings. Also, Western dishes served in Japan are so well made that people sometimes say they taste even better than those made in Western countries. "
Natural Ingredients Produced by Japanese Geographical Features
--Japan has the sixth longest coastline in the world. Furthermore, Japan is a very long country from north to south, resulting in a wide variety of dishes from salted hokke in Hokkaido to goya chanpuru in Okinawa. Japanese food culture is characterized by an abundance of ingredients and the cooking methods that suit them.
--These rich Japanese waters are visited by a wide variety of seasonal migratory fish every year, providing fresh ingredients. Japanese people also enjoy an abundance of ingredients season by season.
--The world's top three fishing spots include
1. Japan's Sanrikuoki (off the coast of Sanriku)
2. Off the coast of Norway
3. Off the coast of Newfoundland
*Top 10 countries with the longest coastline (Refererence : Wikipedia)
|No.1 Canada||No.6 Japan|
|No.2 Norway||No.7 Australia|
|No.3 Indonesia||No.8 USA|
|No.4 Russia||No.9 New Zealand|
|No.5 The Philippines||No.10 Greece|
Blessing of Dashi Soup Stock (Revolution of Taste)
The invention of earthenware in the Jomon period made it possible to mix and stew ingredients. They made rich Dashi soup stock by filling earthenware with water, putting seaweed salt in it and stewing with fish, shellfish, chicken, wild boar, deer and mountain vegetables. This is called the revolution of taste. It is said that Japanese cuisine originated in the Jomon period. In the late Edo period, specialties were ranked. According to "Shokoku Sanbutsu Mitate Sumou Rankings" (the highest ranking is Ozeki), the Eastern Ozeki was Konbu Seaweed in Matsumae(currently called Hokkaido) and the Western Ozeki was Katsuobushi (Dried Bonito) in Tosa (currently called Kochi). This means that the culture of Dashi soup stock had spread all around the country.
Examples of Dashi Ingredients and Cooking Methods
(umami flavor component)
( inosinic acid )
( glutamic acid )
( guanylic acid )
|Miso Soup||ClearBroth Soup|
Savory Taste (Umami)
Kikunae Ikeda (founder of Ajinomoto Co., Inc.) discovered that glutamic acid is the substance behind Umami. Ajinomoto is one of the most famous seasoning producers in the world.
Umami was added to the five tastes which include sweetness, sourness, bitterness, spiciness and saltiness to make a total of six tastes.
"Umami" has become a common word among the cooks all around the world.
"Food and Drink" is Universal
Alcohol is essential for dining experiences no matter where you go.
Wine, Sake (Daiginjo) and Shaoxing rice wine are considered to be the top 3 alcohol drinks in the world. White wine goes very well with Japanese cuisine (Sushi and Sashimi), not to mention sake. Koshu wine contains little iron and has gentle sourness.
At the Toyako Summit in 2008, white wine produced in the Zao area in Yamagata was served with dishes.
*For the details, please refer to the featured article below.
Japanese Cuisine Gains the Confidence of the International Community
Japanese cuisine is booming all around the world. Ramen restaurants have gained popularity in Shanghai and New York. Conveyor belt sushi restaurants are flourishing all around the world. Several factors could explain this explosion of popularity. The health consciousness of people could be considered one of the main reasons behind this movement. The fact that Japanese dishes are made with careful attention to safety is also an important factor.
Japanese cuisine was brought about by the Dashi soup stock culture whose roots go back as far as the Jomon period. We are proud of the fact that Japanese cuisine is gaining attention and is enjoyed all around the globe. Regardless of whether it is listed as a cultural property this November or not, no one can deny the fact food from a small island country in the Far East has spread around the world.