Michelin-starred Japanese chef fears loss of simple, traditional food

By Junko Fujita

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“Japanese cuisine is still a nursery tree and a lot of unnecessary leaves grow out of it,” he said.

Such a wonderful observation. As an outsider, it can be quite difficult unto impossible to learn about so many things of another culture but suffice it to say, many do try. Murata sama, do not worry too much. The circle will complete itself, again.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Good lord, people prefer protein in their diet?, or regress to an age of eating anything, anything in large servings to get enough to function let alone reproduce.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Of the 10,000 years or so of existence they claim, the Japanese common person has only eaten rice for about 100 years. Perhaps one of the reasons they don't learn history is so that they are able to twist the story whatever the way whenever it suits the situation. I pray that archaeologists will find the original hamburger here, in Japan, so we can throw the blame back...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Murata-san makes very good observations and points.

Why is it though, that anytime a Japanese person gives their opinion on anything, the haters automatically get offended and get all snarky? What rule says that a Japanese person cannot offer their opinions on Japanese culture, or other matters? And why does this cause some to get so annoyed?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

the Japanese common person has only eaten rice for about 100 years.

Are you limiting that comment to white rice or all rice?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think the main problem is that dishes like kelp, bonito flake and water all boiled up are really not very nice at all. Theses dishes are healthy, but I'll have the pizza, curry or hamburger thanks, as will most people under about 50.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Most people under 50 have dulled their tastebuds after a life of eating exessively greasy, salty or sweetened mass produced meals. The really wonderful tastes are overlooked until you slow down and notice what you are eating. Subtlety is always overshadowed by glitz. Justin Beiber fans proably find Beethoven to be boring. It's the same with food.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Japanese people rely too much on Western food every day"

Not real Western food. They rely on unpleasant Japanese versions of Western food, like mayonnaise pizza or green tea flavored ice cream, or "rice burgers" with teriyaki sauce. I don't consider such monstrosities to be "Western food."

"Most people under 50 have dulled their tastebuds after a life of eating exessively greasy, salty or sweetened mass produced meals."

The biggest culprit of all is monosodium glutimate....a Japanese invention. It's basically designed to sweat the tongue and decieve it into thinking the food is good, when it's not. Evil stuff, for which we can thank Japan.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

If Japanese food is as good as is claimed and it's in threat of being replaced by faux Western food, then maybe it's not that good after all. On the other hand, look at Thai food. Lots and lots of western, eastern northern and southern food and it's still going strong.

0 ( +3 / -3 )


Monosodium glutamate is a natural amino acid; nobody "invented" it.

Extensive research has produced not a shred of evidence that it's in any way hazardous to health.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Monosodium glutamate is a natural amino acid; nobody "invented" it."

Kikunae Ikeda from the Tokyo Imperial University isolated glutamic acid as a new taste substance in 1908 from the seaweed Laminaria japonica, kombu, by aqueous extraction and crystallization, and named its taste "umami".

The first commercial production of MSG began in 1909 as Aji-no-moto, meaning "essence of taste" in English. Ajinomoto is today one of the world's largest manufacturers of chemicals for the food industry.

1 ( +4 / -3 )


So are you saying that monosodium glutamate isn't a naturally- occurring amino acid? Me and my scientifically-minded friend are very interested....

3 ( +4 / -1 )


So why would a chemist (as opposed to a cook) need to isolate it in a laboratory (as opposed to a kitchen)? But never mind, you go ahead and have your palate stimulated by MSG granules from a chemical factory. I'd rather be stimulated by fresh ingredients and good cooking. But I guess I'm weird that way.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

So why would a chemist (as opposed to a cook) need to isolate it in a laboratory (as opposed to a kitchen)?

Your logic makes no sense. You know what isolate means right? It means removing all the extraneous materials to leave the material you want. If the material wasn't there in the first place, it couldn't be isolated.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I dont know what this guy is complaining about. If you look at Japanese peoples stature today and 100 years ago, they are much bigger. Rice is not a good source of protein.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"Your logic makes no sense."

What? That food should be prepared in a kitchen by cooks and chefs. Not by chemists in laboratories at huge corporations? OK, maybe that's "illogical," but it's what I believe. You, enjoy your chemicals. I'll enjoy my fresh, natural food.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Again you make no sense. All food is chemicals. I guarantee you ate some sodium chloride today. And likely some glucose. And a milion other amino acids and proteins and carbons.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

He does make some valid points. Japanese food is often bastardised abroad. But, the same could be said for food from other cultures that gets "over-localised".

I don't think it's a problem with the food tasting bad - Japanese food is by far the greatest cuisine in the world, in my opinion. It's just that, well, typically the portions are too small. Growing kids need protein & iron-rich foods, as well as plenty of carbs. Whilst not all that healthy in large amounts, bread, meat & cheese meet these needs easily.

I played rugby in both Australia & Japan, and the difference in diet really shows. If you want size, you've gotta eat meat!

3 ( +5 / -2 )


Yes, monosodium glutamate has been isolated by chemists and used as an additive, you're quite right....

Still, it does occur naturally. That was all I was trying to say : )

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I recognize Japan can make great food - even though I am not a fan of it - but the daily ordinary food is pretty boring: white rice and miso soup 2-3 meals/day!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I personally like much of the local fare, but as President Obama demonstrated, It remains an exotic, esoteric choice for many non Japanese - an acquired taste. And why should murata care what the people here chose to eat? Why does he turn eating into a validation of national attributes?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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