TED和食 Today, I’d like to take about traditional Japanese food – Washoku.

As you know, last year, Washoku was selected ICH – ” Intangible Cultural Heritage ” by UNESCO which trys to protect and inherit important cultures. As Japanese people, this is delightful because Washoku will become more popular in the world and it will be conserved.

But, when I stop and think again about Washoku, I thought ” What is Washoku exactly?”, ” What is the definition of Washoku.” When I hear Washoku, I associate it with healty and simple food like Soba, Udon and Sushi. Maybe most people think so too. But, I don’t know what is Washoku and what is not. So, now I want to think about the definition of Washoku.

Before starting discussion, at first, let me explain ICH. the UNESCO started ICH in 2006 to increase the awareness about not only tangible heritage, such as Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima but also intagible heritage. Noh is one of the ICH.

The definetion of ICH is ” traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants.”(from FOOD FIGHTER). So, ICH is something which has long history. Noh dates back to Muromachi Era. Likewise, Washoku has to be food which has long history.

Next, to get accurate definition,  I seached the Washoku on the Internet of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries(MAFF), Norinnsuisan-sho.

According to MAFF, Washoku is “The custom about eating food”. Not only food but also how to make it, how to serve it and how to eat it are the important elements of Washoku. MAFF picks up the 4 elemens of Washoku, ingredient,cooking method,nourishment and hospitality(Omotenashi).


Japan has clear 4 seasons. So、we can get various ingredients. Also, Japan is blessed with many kinds of fish. For example, there are 28 main fish harvested in Japan. On the other hand, there are only 8 main fish harvested in Norway. And Japanese people eat more than twice as many fish as American a year. We eat 57 kg a year per person. These various ingredients are important elements.


There are many ways of cooking. Such as, steaming,and twe type boiling. one is by water(yuderu). The other is by seasoners(niru).

Most important point is that Washoku uses Umami. Now, Umami is known as one of the tastes. Other tastes are Acidity,Bitter,Sweet and Salty. Umami is made from many ingredients like fish,sea tangle,and shitake mushroom. By boiling them in water, you can extract Umami .


Washoku has low calorie relatively and you can get balance-maintained nourishment because ingredients in Japan are healty.This is why, I think, Washoku is popular all over the world now. Also, Washoku respects for nature.


Mentality is also important. It is important not only to welcome people who eat but also to show the manner like chopsticks and to create the seasonal atmosphere. The person who has Washoku need to understand these hospitalities.

As I explained to you,  the definition of Washou consisted of these 4 elements.

Today,however,the culture of Washoku is declining. Less and lthe ess people have opportinities to eat Washoku. After the WW2, Japanese food style has been changing because Japan has imported foreign cultures. So, we have to conserve and pass on Washoku.

Thank you for your attention.