The History And Culture Of Japanese Cuisine

Because of its delicious taste, full nutritional value, and the pleasure brought by vision, Japanese cuisine enjoys international reputation. Most people who like Japanese cuisine don't know. In fact, the Japanese cuisine we are familiar with, such as sushi, tempura or Shouxi Shao, is not traditional Japanese cuisine. Shouxi Shao did not appear in the Meiji era, even if it did, it was not popular until after the war. Tianfu Luo was introduced from Portugal in the Edo era, and it is rumoured that Tokugawa Jiakang died after eating tempura The most important sushi in Japanese diet, which originated from Southeast Asia, came into being in the late Edo era.

If these are not Japanese 'traditional' food, then Teppanyaki, udon noodles, ramen noodles, roast meat, or pork chop rice are not Japanese traditional food. Originally, the Japanese only eat buckwheat noodles, ramen noodles and udon noodles were introduced from China later. In the early 20th century, Japanese militarism was on the rise, and there was a disdainful attitude towards these Chinese food until the second world After the war, ramen and udon noodles became popular again in Japanese society.

As for cooking meat and pork chop rice, they are not even Japanese food, because Japanese cuisine has a history of nearly one thousand years of not eating livestock. Their protein intake is mainly obtained from fish, mountain pigs and wild birds. Only the 'filthy' of the pariah class eat the meat of domestic animals. These meat is only eaten by the lowly people.

During the Meiji Restoration, Japanese people began to eat cattle and pigs, which were commonly used livestock. The emperor issued the declaration of meat re promotion, which began to affect the Japanese perception of meat. However, the cultural change was quite slow. It was still a post-war event for the Japanese to eat a large number of cattle and pigs. We are now familiar with the Japanese style porpoise used in pork chop rice, or expensive and cattle, which are unimaginable in the traditional Japanese diet.

If we think that the traditional Japanese diet is not very traditional, or even a very new phenomenon, now these have become part of the Japanese diet, maybe we have to rethink the so-called traditional, cultural exchange and Japanese diet, which are not seriously considered. We often regard 'tradition' as an unchanging and constant part of culture, thinking that we can find pure Chinese, French or British culture among Chinese, French or British people, but it is very difficult.

From a historical point of view, when we observe the 'tradition' in the way of social change, we will find that nothing is unchangeable. All the things we take for granted are formed by constant changes. To understand Japanese cuisine, we should understand the changes of 'cuisine' in Japanese history from the aspects of food, society and foreign culture.

Japanese cuisine, Japanese characters written as 'he Shi'. The term originated in the Meiji era. For the Japanese, there was no 'harmony' or 'foreign' before the western eating habits came in. As a large number of Western-style eating habits and culture spread to Japan, in order to distinguish you and me, the concept of 'harmony food' came into being, as well as the Japanese cuisine that everyone is familiar with today.

Although the concept of 'harmony food' originated very late, the Japanese used to eat, not so much that they had a permanent tradition, but that the tradition itself had been changing. From the beginning of the misheng era, the rice planting technology from China began to influence Japan. Rice and related fermentation technology have produced food culture such as wine making, pickles and miso, forming the backbone of Japanese cuisine. What's different from China is that there are almost no domestic animals in Japanese diet, such as pigs, chickens, cattle and other animals. The intake of protein was mainly from river fish, and it was not until Edo era that it turned to sea fish hunting.

Japanese cuisine is strongly influenced by Chinese cuisine, not only the cultivation of rice, but also the spread of food culture, such as tableware, seasoning, dietotherapy or ceremony. In short, the Japanese upper class cuisine can be divided into four kinds: the grand feast cuisine eaten by the officials (nobles), the native cuisine eaten by the warriors, the refined cuisine tasted in the temple, and the Huaishi cuisine provided by the tea party.Both DA Xiang cuisine and Ben Shan cuisine have a ceremonial function. Since the Muromachi era, there have been different schools. According to the differences in class and official position, everyone can enjoy different quantities. In the diet, the highest level guests can enjoy 21 courses of hospitality, while the people of different ranks can enjoy less and less according to the class. With the performance of nengju, enjoy and taste at the same time.

'Refined cuisine' and 'Huaishi cuisine' originated from Buddhism are refined cuisines transformed from the simple tea and rice of the monks in the temple. The refined cuisines are tofu, pickled vegetables or mushrooms, with soy sauce or miso. They are light and elegant, but they don't taste anything.

Huaishi cuisine originated from tea ceremony. It was connected with tea since tea ceremony master qianlixiu in the 16th century. It hurt the stomach when drinking tea. Therefore, experts of tea ceremony also provide some snacks or meals to enable people to enjoy their tea. Qianlixiu's meal is very simple, a bowl of miso soup and three small dishes, focusing on the drinking of tea itself and the philosophy behind it. Although Huaishi cuisine adopts the form of tea ceremony, it gradually pays attention to the content of ingredients. During the Warring States period and the Tokugawa Shogunate period, the general visited the vassals of the vassals. In order to entertain the general, the local vassals offered the best local food materials to the general in the form of Huai stone. Even the utensils for holding the food were quite exquisite.

Huaishili originated from 'one period and one meeting' in Zen philosophy. It cherishes the fate of meeting. Therefore, it is unique to show the specialty of cuisine, such as showing the sense of season, emphasizing the local characteristics of ingredients, and pursuing the color expression of food on the plate and the timing of serving, so that the whole meal is not only the experience of food, but also an unforgettable moment.

Due to the fact that Huaishi cuisine has abandoned the red tape of the past cuisine, and with the commercialization of the society in Edo era, there are many rich people in the civilian class. At that time, as long as they are rich, they can enjoy the cuisine that was only available to the aristocrats in the past. The diversity and particularity of Huaishi cuisine make it the most well-known Japanese high-level cuisine. From the perspective of historical development, although Japanese cuisine has a strong influence on Chinese culture, it shows a special cuisine culture. Japan's diet tradition and culture come from different places and form through mutual exchanges. Although the island country of Japan has formed an independent cultural system due to the blocking of the sea, the island country can also accept the influence from all directions.

When we refer to the 'tradition' of Japanese cuisine, Shinzo Harada, a dietician, points out that it should not be regarded as a closed and exclusive impression. The tradition itself is a process of constant change, which is accumulated by the exchange of customs, history and culture. Harmony should be understood in a dynamic way: The culture of harmony food, in a very long historical process, takes rice as the core line, absorbs the products and cooking technology from various countries, and finally forms a gradually formed cooking system in Japan. It is simply the product of Japanese history, not only the living culture, but also the art and religious thought, which is used to explain the essence of Japanese culture Good example.

No matter the food culture from China or after the Meiji Restoration, a large number of Western-style food introduced from the west, such as Japanese pork chop rice, Japanese curry rice, egg bun rice and coke cake, although they are all from the west, but now European and American countries almost can't see the Japanese way of doing things. Through the unique taste culture of Japan, they are transformed into 'harmony food' A part.

As Canadian journalist mark Schatzker described: 'although the Japanese are not famous for their inventions, they are good at refining others' inventions to the perfect level, and grinding foreign objects to the almost unrecognizable level. Portuguese fried fish have been carved and polished into Japanese tempura by them'.

In the face of different food cultures, Japan is not simply assimilated, sinicized by Chinese culture, or westernized by Western food culture. When accepting different food traditions, the Japanese choose what they need, add new elements, transform it, recreate it, and finally become their own culture

16 December 2021
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