The Japanese Food, the Intangible Cultural Heritage

On December 4, 2013, Washoku (Traditional Japanese Food Culture) was registered in the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.  It is not an individual Japanese food like Tempura or Sushi but Japanese Food Culture, represented as “one soup and three dishes” that was registered.

According to a blog of NHK Commentary Committee, there were four reasons for its registration::


1)    Beautiful Presentation

  • Including Color Variation of food, Serving Dish such as Ceramics and lacquered tableware, the room where the food is served

2)    Ingredients

  • Fresh food ingredients in long islands that lie North and South and special broths and soy sauce/bean paste to boost the tastes the food ingredients

3)    Nutrition Balance

  • Good Nutrition and its balance of good protein from fresh fish and seasonal vegetables as well as various types of potatoes without using any animal fats

4)    Strong connections with seasonal events and its Area/Community in Japan

  • Strong connection between the seasonal menus and its Area/Community/Family


In the metropolitan areas, especially in Tokyo, people can enjoy good cuisine from all over the world such as Lebanese, Belarusan, Central Europe (such as Czech and Hungary) and Mongolian (not Chinese!).


However, two medical doctors of my family always suggest eat traditional Japanese food.  They strongly claim that as Japanese people tend to eat food and deserts from abroad especially from Western World, more and more people get chronicle disease as well as cancer.  From the view point of prevention medicine, we Japanese should eat more traditional Japanese food such as fish and fermented vegetables and soy beans so that we can gain the natural healing ability again like our ancestors did in the past.  These two family doctors were quite famous and always write articles in periodicals and publish many books in the areas of internal medicine, dermatology, ophthalmology, and psychiatry.


Since I was a child, I have been eating lots of fish and vegetables.  However, for the past two years, I haven’t eaten meat more than four times a year and the drastic results were shown in my medical report. 


Now, I made up my mind to enjoy the Japanese food and culture, one of the world heritages, from a different point of view.

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