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Pizza and Pizza Chefs in Japan

34 Comments

For all you pizza lovers, here are some insights from Rossella Ceccarini, author of the book "Pizza and Pizza Chefs in Japan: A Case of Culinary Globalization.

Tell us about your book.

It’s about the reception of artisanal pizza in Japan through the lens of professional pizza chefs. The book tells the history of pizza in Japan as well as the stories of young Japanese who moved to Italy to learn how to make pizza, and of Italian pizza chefs who moved to Japan to ply their trade.

How did you get interested in the topic of pizza and Japan?

The book is based on my doctoral dissertation. Having a background in the sociology of work, I wanted to go beyond the image of salarymen and corporate Japan, and I started to investigate the world of restaurant workers. I also sought a research topic linking my home and my host country, connecting Italy and Japan. So the topic of pizza and pizza chefs perfectly matched my goals.

What’s the most interesting thing you encountered while researching this book?

A slice of mochi pizza. The dough is not made using traditional flour but mochi cakes.

How much pizza did you eat while writing the book?

To be honest, I never counted how much pizza I ate, but I can tell you I cheerfully gained three kilos!

Any tips for particularly good Tokyo-area pizza restaurants you can share with our readers?

The area of Nakameguro counts many pizzerias, but you can find great pizzas all over Tokyo. For a traditional Napoli-style pizza, check the restaurants listed on http://verapizzanapoletana.jp/shoplist.html.

For more info about "Pizza and Pizza Chefs in Japan: a Case of Culinary Globalization," see http://meturl.com/pizzabook.

Rossella Ceccarini, PhD (2010) in Global Studies,Sophia University, Tokyo, is interested in interdisciplinary and ethnographic research, sociology of work and occupations, food studies and cultural studies.

© Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp)

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


34 Comments
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Rossella Ceccarini is the new foreign scholar who has blended flavors of pizza ingredients for Japanese eateries through the dedicated academic global study at Sophia University in Tokyo.

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Japan food is great, but japanese are clueless about what a good pizza is..

Why on earth would anyone want to put mayo on them??

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mayo? ive seen them put stuff on pizza from sausagebread to cherrypie. Im not making this up. PIE!!!!! what the hell.

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I luv japanese pizza. it is so different.

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Koiwaicoffee and Papiqiulio, read Rossella's book and you just may get some insights into what is going on with Japanese pizza. It's a great read and story...personally, I have become quite enamored of mayo, corn, nori, and ika on my pizza. For loftier standards, the brick oven baked pizza by people who have really studied how to do it and then taken the trouble to set up their own restaurant here...count me in!

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... my goodness, they'll give you a doctorate for anything these days. The standard used to be "a substantial contribution to your discipline and humanity". Somehow I doubt that studying how pizza is made in Japan counts.

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Koiwaicoffee, what's your definition of "good" pizza? New York pizza? Authentic Italian pizza? You can find both in Japan. I stay away from the ebi mayo / teriyaki chicken / curry pizzas myself.

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I got a problem with corn on pizza. That's nasty. Is that a Japan only thing? Other than that, anything is fair game...

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I got a problem with corn on pizza. That's nasty. Is that a Japan only thing? Other than that, anything is fair game...

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Who decides what's going to go on top of a pizza? Ultimately the consumer.

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Agree with presto345.

Pizza has many styles and flavours, personally can't stand pan-fried, deep-dish, etc.

Got to like Teriyaki chicken and a few other flavours same as I did with other flavours that were country specific.

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Teriyaki chicken

Yes!! Love it!

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I may ask for help to make Japanese-style Pizza from Doctor Rossella Ceccarini in Tokyo.

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Frungy: read the book and you may learn exactly WHY this is a contribution to a major academic stream regarding food and foodways. It's happening all around the planet. Why do you disparage?

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If you stay away from dreadful places like Strawberry Cones or Pizza Hut, you can usually avoid the ridiculous toppings. Many "Italian Style" restaurants here make great pizza as it should be - simple with 2 or 3 toppings only - and delicious!

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Who decides what's going to go on top of a pizza? Ultimately the consumer.

Not in a good pizzeria!

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There are lots of good Italian style restaurants in Japan with amazing pizza...Italian style, not Japanese style pizza. While the Japanese have crafted pizza to their own tastes, they still have lots of places that are true to what an authentic Italian pizza should be like. In North America, we have changed pizza to our own tastes as well, but it is pretty hard to find any really good authentic Italian places like I have found in Jland.

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I know there's authentic Western pizza places in Japan-- but they're not everywhere. There are people like me who live out in the middle of nowhere, and the only way to get anything not slathered in mayo and corn is to go out of town. I do like Japanese pizza-- sometimes. But other times I want real Italian, and the only way to get it is for me to travel miles and miles away. So just because it's here (in the country) doesn't mean it's readily available, haha.

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bicultural -

you cannot find New York style pizza in Japan. And don't even think of the shopping mall chain Sbarros which happens to have a drastically overpriced stand in Shibuya.

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Man.

You tried "Tony's NY style Pizza" in Kichijoji, etc. There are places that atleast claim to do NY style Pizza.

Sbarros opened in Kichijoji and was a flash in the Pan(gone already), lasted maybe 4-months.

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kokorocloud...true, true. Good point.

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You should of named the book 'Samurai Pizza Cats' I remember that anime in the past was quite cool hehe ^_^

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There's a decent(but a bit pricey) western style pizza joint in Roppongi called Pizzakaya, for anyone who is interested...

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Pizza itself is just the Italian variation of Arabic style bread, which is flat because it is baked on a hot stone, not in an oven. And Tomatoes, which came to Italy by way of seafaring people from America in the 16th century, appeared as pizza topping much later in the 18th century, while cheese made its first appearance on the famous Pizza Margherita in 1889. So, there is no reason to complain about Japanese adapting the toppings to their style! If the Arabian people in Italy would have done that, who know's, maybe there would only be focaccia today!

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Japan has good thin crust pizza and traditional Italian style. But there are sadly no places with decent Chicago or San Francisco style pizza. And the ordinary pizza in Tokyo doesn't measure up to frozen pizza elsewhere.

Would like to see more variety and less tomato sauce that tastes like watery catsup.

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atleast claim to do NY style Pizza.

That's my point. "Claim to" does not equal "do".

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Not being an american nor from NY I can't tell, have to go by what they & clientele say. Said that Tony's had a large foreign clientele for 12+yrs(time I know about the place).

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. Said that Tony's had a large foreign clientele for 12+yrs(time I know about the place).

foreign= chinese, indian, somali, south american, french, american, australian, filipino... so what?

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regardless of whether actually New York style or not... if it's delicious, then great!

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Mostly western clientele.

Agreed if it is tasty ..., but than 12+yrs around Kichijoji station is no small affair. Many shops here don't last 1 or 2 yrs. The place that claimed to do "California pizza" lasted way less.

If you head this way let me know. ;)

Myself prefer "Dear Marble" (Pizza and Belgium Beer), they do a mean Calzone if you know what I mean. You can google either Tony's pizza and Dear marble.

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Peachy: "There are lots of good Italian style restaurants in Japan with amazing pizza...Italian style, not Japanese style pizza."

No, there aren't. There are undoubtedly a few in Tokyo and the surrounding area, but I know very, very few otherwise, and even those are more Japanese-style Italian places (with the generic Margeurita and maybe one or two more). I KNEW an AMAZING restaurant in Osaka run by an Italian and with mostly foreign staff and clientele, but it closed down for some reason (was always busy, so not sure why).

As for 'Japanese' pizza, I really can't understand the mentality sometimes. We've probably all heard the expression 'simple is best' and been told that Western people and other Asian nations use too much salt/flavouring on foods, but I swear Japanese 'taste' is extremely bipolar when it comes to Western food. Take potato chips as a simple example: they have 'mild salt' next to 'steak and shrimp fried in butter with garlic' or some other horrible monstrosities. You want a simple tuna salad sandwich? tough luck! because it's crammed into the package with half an egg salad, and maybe even a strange tomato, mayo, and fruit combo.

Pizza here can be a downright monstrosity. True, Pizza Hut is pretty horrible stuff and bad for you, but it IS consistent with a lot of its kinds (meaning same as in the West). Besides that, everything seems to have CORN on it (and mayo)! That's what the cover of this book should have been... the picture and title on a bed of corn. And I don't think we really need to get into prize and size differences, either.

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Anyway, I just make my own pizza these days, from scratch. Cheaper for one thing (although with the microwave/oven combo machine the power bill goes up a bit), but I can make real gourmet stuff from scratch, as well as calzones and focaccia bread, and you name it.

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I went to Pizza Hut and they didn't make it like they do in Canada. I can enjoy a margarita made by a Italy-licensed chef too, but I expect consistency within the brand, know what I mean? They didn't even have pineapples to make Hawaiian pizzas. At Pizza Hut! Travesty!

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I had to look up "artisanal" in the dictionary. I thought maybe it was some sort of garnish, like anchovy.

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