Japan’s status as a cultural superpower is perhaps best exemplified by the global popularity of Japanese cuisine. In addition to its international popularity, Japanese food also enjoys a reputation for promoting health and longevity, with its traditional emphasis on rice, fish and seasonal ingredients. In 2013, UNESCO added “washoku – traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese” to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
It is important to note, however, that diets in Japan are evolving rapidly, shifting from traditionally rice-based meals to increasingly western-style meals featuring greater quantities of meat, eggs, milk, milk products and fats. Other notable shifts in consumption habits include an increasing preference for eating out or buying packaged food at the expense of home cooking and fresh foods, respectively. Faced with these developments – along with problems in Japan’s agricultural sector related to its ageing workforce and shortage of farmland – the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has unveiled a range of policies to promote traditional Japanese food culture and Shokuiku (“Food education”) as well as to ensure the stability of Japan’s food supply by revitalising rural areas and promoting urban agriculture.
MAFF, FY2013 Annual Report on Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas in Japan, 2014
Table of Contents
- Expert Reports
- Annual Report
- Further Reading
- Relevant Organisations and Trade Fairs