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Washoku Added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List

This video, titled "[Washoku] Added to Unesco's Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Health and Beauty Evaluation (12/13/05)" (「和食」世界無形文化遺産に決定 健康・美しさ評価(13/12/05) ), is a news report about washoku being approved as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, in December, 2013.

As shown in the video, "Washoku: Traditional Dietary Cultures of the Japanese" (「和食 日本人の伝統的な食文化」) was formally approved to be added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list at a meeting of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee held in Azerbaijan in 2013. You see the moment of the announcement in the video around 0:05.

The fascination with washoku is, as shown in the video at 0:30, it's beauty.
Japanese cuisine is characterized by its beautiful display, respect for nature, and how healthy it is, which led UNESCO to place it on its Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

What Is Washoku? The History and Style of the Dishes

Image of  Washoku
Photo:Washoku

Washoku is a traditional eating practice of Japan, also referred to as Nihon-shoku (日本食, Japanese food) or Nihon-ryouri (日本料理, Japanese style cooking).
Traditionally, in Japan, washoku was made using seasonal ingredients for particular annual events.

The history of Japanese food dates back to the Yayoi period (~300 B.C - ~250 A.D.), more than 2,000 years ago, and by the Asuka period, the unique Japanese diet, consisting of main dishes (主菜, shusai), side dishes (副食, Fukushoku), and one soup, three sides (一汁三菜, Ichiju-sansai), had already been established.

What is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage?

Image of traditional Spanish cuisine
Photo:Traditional Spanish cuisine

UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage is different from UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, which aim to protect buildings and tangible cultural properties.
UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage was established to ensure better protection of important intangible cultural heritages, such as folk culture, folklore, oral literature and social practices, traditional crafting techniques, and festivals.

Some examples of this include the gastronomy of France, the Mediterranean cuisine of Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco, traditional Mexican cuisine, and the Ceremonial Keşkek tradition of Turkey.

In Japan, Traditional Ainu dance, Nôgaku Theatre, and Kabuki have also been approved as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages.

Summary of Washoku

Image of Kaiseki cuisine
Photo:Kaiseki cuisine

As you can see in the video, Japanese food culture, which has been around since ancient times, has been recognized by the world and is attracting a great deal of attention.

When you're visiting Japan, be sure to stop by a Japanese restaurant and enjoy the delicious food of an itamae chef!
There are websites that offer instructions on how to make Japanese food, so you can use the recipes as a guide to make nutritious and balanced Japanese food as well!

Written By
Sep. 15, 2020
Japan
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
Traditional Japanese Food, AKA
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