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Highlighting JAPAN

April 2014

WASHOKU Japanese Food Goes Global


Japan-Viet Nam Summit Meeting and Other Activities

Japanese Food Goes Global


Interview: Yoshihiro Murata
Owner, Kikunoi Restaurants
Japanese umami: makes for healthier global cuisine

What is behind the appeal of washoku? We spoke with Yoshihiro Murata, owner of Kikunoi, a traditional Japanese restaurant in Kyoto, and chairman of the board of the Japanese Culinary Academy, a nonprofit organization promoting the spread of Japanese cuisine.

Interview: Masayuki Yamashita
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Aiming for a greater share of the global market

As Japanese cuisine begins to draw global attention following its recognition by UNESCO as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Japanese government and people alike are working together to bring Japan's food culture and industries to the world at large. We sat down with Masayuki Yamashita, Director-General of the Food Industry Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), to ask him about the strategies Japan is deploying to reach global markets.

Food Valley Tokachi
Hokkaido brand finds international success

Tokachi is a region in southeastern Hokkaido made up of 19 cities, towns and villages, including the city of Obihiro. Situated on the broad Tokachi Plain, the region is among Japan's foremost food production bases, boasting clean air and water, over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year and a cultivated acreage of 39.4 hectares per farmstead (about 18 times the national average). With large-scale farm crops including wheat, beans and potatoes, Tokachi is also home to advanced agricultural research, hosting an agricultural university and a number of agriculture-related businesses and research institutions.

Edible Diamonds
Japanese fruit is beloved around the world

It would be no exaggeration to say that the delicious flavor of Japanese fruit comes as a shock to many people from other countries. Not only does Japanese fruit look good, it's sweet, fragrant, juicy, and each piece is full of personality.
The high price tag also comes as a surprise to many foreigners.

Brewing Global Sake
Asahishuzo pushes the upper limits of quality

Deep in the mountains of Yamaguchi Prefecture, trucks and machinery work in a tiny village hugging a small, winding river. In Shutomachi Osogoe, construction is underway on a 12-storey building for Asahishuzo Co., Ltd., maker of the increasingly famous Dassai sake. Once completed, the building will tower over the village like a bar graph illustrating the company's stunning rise in the sake world.

Cutting Edge
The Tokyo Sushi Academy trains sushi chefs for the world

Standing among his students at the Tokyo Sushi Academy, Master Chef Osamu Nishida lays down his knife and summarizes the day's objective: to skillfully arrange a small tray of sashimi in less than six minutes. Nishida's large group of students comprise a diverse array of chefs and aspiring chefs from countries such as Estonia, the Philippines, the U.S., Mexico, Portugal, Taiwan, Greece, the U.K. and Germany, telling evidence of sushi's popularity worldwide.

An Unmistakable Aroma
750 years of soy sauce tradition takes to the tables of Europe's finest restaurants

Soy sauce, or shoyu, is almost inextricable from the Japanese dining experience. There are over 1,000 large and small soy sauce companies throughout the country, each with its own unique recipe and flavor. Out of this large field of competitors, how does a small brand from the quaint town of Yuasa in Wakayama Prefecture find its way into the kitchens of not one but nine Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe? And how has a company that makes up an estimated 0.01 percent of Japan's soy sauce supply won Belgium's prestigious Monde Selection Gold Quality Award every year since 2006?

Product ARITA:
Japanese porcelain prized by chefs overseas

The world's top chefs are acclaimed for cuisine that pleases not just only the tongue but the eyes as well, the delicate tableaux they create on plates truly worthy to be called fine art. But there are pieces of art that have turned the heads of even these chefs of late: Japanese Arita porcelain.


Flower Viewing

A few pale pink petals drift lazily down, their gentle descent framed by a blue spring sky, every whisper of the breeze sending them dancing on a detour from their fluttering journey to the earth. With such a subtle hue, one could be forgiven for mistaking them at first glance for white, but viewed against the few stray wisps of cloud it's possible to see that these cherry blossom petals are indeed a delicate pink.

The SuMIRe Project
Momentous Japan-led dark matter and dark energy research

The SuMIRe Project is a Japanese-led international research project being carried out by the University of Tokyo and headed by Professor Hitoshi Murayama, director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU). An acronym of Subaru Measurement of Images and Redshifts, the project aims to investigate the dark matter and dark energy that make up the majority of space, with the hope of explaining the origins and future of the universe.

Cool Mobility
Satoshi Sugie designs personal mobility for the next generation

Satoshi Sugie is on a mission to develop a new kind of personal mobility device  one that offers stylish and fun movement for everyone. After just a year's work, his prototype blew the public away at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011, and he is now bringing the complete, upgraded model to market for 2014.


Visiting the cradle of Japan


Hot water from the sleeping mountain