We are so pleased that UNESCO has recognised the value in designating Japanese Washoku cuisine with cultural heritage status.
Celebrated for its centuries-old cooking techniques and seasonal ingredients Japanese cuisine known as “washoku”, has been added to the United Nation’s cultural heritage list. This decision was made against a backdrop of rising concerns that fast food and western dishes are increasingly eclipsing the nation’s culinary heritage. Japan is only the second nation after France to have its national cuisine designated heritage status.
While Japan has long been famed for its sushi, this nation has an expansive repertoire of traditional dishes far beyond this raw fish snack. With its emphasis on harmony and the passing of the seasons, the art of washoku has been compared to writing haiku poems and normally consists of separate bowls of white rice, miso soup and pickles alongside main dishes.
Our founder and CEO, Christopher Dawson, has been working with Japanese farmers and authentic food producers for 40 years introducing their foods to people across the world, and this Award for Japanese Washoku cuisine is something we can all be so very proud of.
Christopher has been pioneering the introduction of traditional and authentic Japanese foods worldwide since 1974 and through the Clearspring brand since 1993.
Christopher spent 18 years in Japan, working with producers to develop a comprehensive range of certified organic Japanese foods, to guarantee consumers worldwide the best and safest authentic Japanese foods.
Now Clearspring is marketing these organic Japanese foods with the Clearspring brand in over 40 countries worldwide.
Here are some of the unique qualities he discovered about traditional Japanese cuisine
- The traditional Japanese meal mirrors the order foods are found in nature, with well-cooked whole brown rice and cereal grains served in abundance together with seasonal vegetables and fruits
- The Japanese use traditional natural fermentation techniques to make their food both bioavailable and nutritionally beneficial. Natural fermentation results in a better assimilation of plant foods through the natural processing, and a higher concentration of protein leading to lower dependence on animal protein.
Good examples include using:
- Whole soya beans to develop miso, tamari and shoyu soya sauces and natto, as well as the nigari-coagulated tofu
- Grains to develop sweet rice mirin, brown rice malt syrup and amazake
- Vegetables to create digestible pickles and probiotic quality foods, such as sushi ginger and pickled daikon
- The Japanese enjoy an abundance of vegetables from land, wasabi and yams from the mountains and nori, kombu and wakame from the sea
- Every part of the whole grains and vegetables are used in such an ecological way that nothing is wasted
- Japanese Green Tea is steamed prior to drying, to lock in the Vitamin C and green colour, resulting in a good flavour that does not require the addition of added milk or sugar as used in black tea and coffee.
Japanese green tea is a rich source of antioxidants and prized for its many health benefits
- Japanese developed buckwheat soba and udon wheat noodles, these being nutrient-rich foods that are quickly prepared to make delicious, filling and nutritious meals.
- The Japanese developed the umeboshi, the pickled ume fruit, as a very powerful digestive aid. It is a very alkaline food used in Japan to aid digestion and relieve fatigue.
- The Japanese discovered how to extract gluten from wheat to make a versatile dried high protein vegetarian food known as fu, and seitan, which comes in a moist form
- The Japanese developed from Kuzu, a root vegetable that contains the most naturally gluten-free starch on the planet, a healthy starch which is used in many traditional recipes and confectionery and for soothing the digestive system
- The Japanese discovered how to make a comprehensive range of healthy wholegrain savoury food snacks, including the ever-popular rice crackers and sesame rice cakes which are enjoyed by millions of people each day
Christopher’s lifelong commitment to, and expert knowledge of, Japan’s traditional food culture was officially recognised in May 2007.
In the presence of the former Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, Christopher was the only non-Japanese person to receive the Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food 2007 from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, for his distinguished contribution to the promotion of Japanese organic food worldwide.
Continue reading more on Christopher's profile