The Five Great Rice Meals of Japan

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    INTRODUCTION

    In 1939, The Imperial Household Agency selected a representative of local dishes nationwide. It was the five major rice dishes called “The Five Great Rice Meals of Japan”. These includes Fukagawa-meshi (Tokyo, Fukagawa), Chushichi-meshi (Ogawa-cho, Saitama), Sayori-meshi (mountain region of Gifu prefecture), Kayakumeshi (Osaka, Namba region), Uzume meshi (Tsuwano region, Shimane prefecture)

    WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF RICE IN JAPAN?

    Rice is so important in Japanese society that it becomes the essence of the culture. Moreover, it manifests in numerous aspects of Japanese cultural life, ranging from folklore, festivals, and family rituals to arts, crafts, and cooking. The importance of rice in Japan can not be emphasize enough. Consequently, it is the source of traditional spirit, sake, and left as offerings to gods and ancestors. Rice cultivation happened for over 2,000 years in Japan. The cooked rice called “Gohan” or “meshi” is a staple food that has become part of its diet. The word “Kome” literally means rice in Japanese and refers to uncooked rice. Therefore, Japanese eat this regularly and even daily.  

    Donburi
    A sample of chicken donburi

    Additionally, the term “Don” is a suffix in Japanese dish names. Moreover, Don is the abbreviation for “Donburi (丼),” which refers to a rice bowl dish.

    HOW MUCH RICE IS CONSUMED IN JAPAN?

    Source: djp.or.jp

    Japanese consume about 9 million tons of rice a year. About three quarters of Japanese eat rice meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, the Japanese are eating less rice meals than they used to. In 1962, Japan’s economy was booming. And the annual consumption of rice per capita was 118.3 kilograms. It has dropped since, however, falling to 54.4 kilograms per person in 2016. Calculating one bowl of white rice as weighing 60 grams, Japanese people ate 5.4 bowls each day on average in 1962. While producers are making every effort to improve flavour and texture at agricultural experiment stations across the country, consumers’ move away from the former favourite staple shows no signs of slowing.

    These days many Japanese eat bread and noodles instead of rice meals.

    While Japanese people are not eating as much rice, their consumption of meat, milk and dairy products, and fats and oils has increased. In addition to the increased preference for a more Western-style diet, the tendency to eat less as people get older. A fall in the overall population are contributory factors to reduced rice meals consumption. In recent years, there has also been a huge trend of people aiming to stay slim by cutting down on carbohydrates.

    According to 2014 Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries survey, nearly half of the respondents said they chose not to eat rice meals in the evenings because they “want to try a wide variety of staple foods.” On busy mornings, people also prefer to choose staple foods other than rice that can be eaten quickly. Also, do not need much time for preparation and cleaning up. It seems, however, that Japanese people today fail to see its true value.

    WHAT ARE THE FIVE GREAT RICE MEALS OF JAPAN?

    The Five Great Rice Meals of Japan are the following.

    Chushichi-meshi

    Chuushiti Meshi
    あわせて読みたい
    Chuushiti Meshi Chuushiti Meshi is a local food in Japan since more than one hundred years ago. It is a rice dish that incorporates three important Japanese tradition. There...

    Fukagawa-meshi

    Fukagawa meshi
    あわせて読みたい
    Fukagawa Meshi (深川めし) 【】 The name Fukagawa (深川) comes from a town in Koto-Ku, a ward in eastern Tokyo. And meshi (めし) means cooked rice as well as a meal. It can also mean f...

    Sayori-meshi

    Sayori meshi
    あわせて読みたい
    Sayori Meshi Meshi "めし" is a staple in Japan. Meshi refers to rice cooked by steaming or boiling. The water needs to be dried out after. Many local foods contain meshi ...

    Kayakumeshi

    Kayaku meshi
    あわせて読みたい
    Kayakumeshi (かやく飯) 【INTRODUCTION TO KAYAKUMESHI】 Kayakumeshi is one of Japan's five great rice dishes (日本五大銘飯) and is a representative food from Osaka prefecture. Kayak...

    Uzume-meshi

    Uzame meshi
    あわせて読みたい
    Uzume Meshi (うずめ飯) 【】 Uzume meshi is a traditional Japanese food in Shimane prefecture and is one of Japan's five great rice dishes. Its unique characteristic is that all of ...
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